Some buildings should be torn down. And others should not be. The challenge, sometimes, is figuring out which is which. But when a great building is torn down, I get upset.
I get upset because good architecture should represent the place and era in which it was built. This means that, in a lot of cases, it’ll never be replicated. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Take for example the old Penn Station in New York City. Designed by renowned architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White, the station opened in 1910 and was an iconic Beaux-Arts structure. Here’s an historic photo:
In 1963 the building was demolished. It was eventually replaced with a building that, I think most people today would agree, is quite awful. And while it did teach New York City a lesson about historic preservation, the loss still sucks.
Ultimately I think that preservation is about balance. I’m obviously pro-development but, at the same time, I don’t believe in erasing our history.