The Architecture Of Impregnability (2)
I am indebted to Mrinalini Rajagopalan, PhD Candidate, Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley, for adding the following to my earlier discussion of American architect Yamasaki.
The architecture of Yamasaki and its unfortunate dance with death has one more crucial piece that you forgot to add in your notes. He was also the well-intentioned (as always) designer of the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in St. Louis Missouiri, built in the late 50s. A modernist dream dedicated to social engineering, the housing project was to be the bromide that would solve racial segregation, urban poverty, lead to a brave new world...
Two decades later, like so many modernist erections, its failure on all counts was so acute that it was blown up in its entirety. The image of the towers being demolished has been iconic—-shown to every wide-eyed, eager architecture student in the 80s and 90s equating the moment of Pruitt-Igoe’s destruction with the true end of modernism as a phase in architecture.
The interesting post-narrative here is that that Mohammed Atta—the terrorist who flew one of the planes into the WTC—had trained as an architect before embarking on his short-lived career as pilot-terrorist. And it may not be too much of a stretch to imagine that he had some knowledge of Yamaski’s work and its suicidal tendencies.
So the question really becomes what kind of politics is embedded in our international style of architectural terrorism?