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Turkish Preservationists Get Something to Cheer

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Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/11/2013 1:07:23 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: History versus political messages
I totally believe cities need to mandate historic views and protect historic architecture regardless of its nature as a religious or military fortress. (Well, I'm talking OLD military fortresses; others can be demolished for sure.)

We need to keep ideology out of the equation, I think. Otherwise, we lose our priorities.

richheap
richheap  
12/10/2013 4:57:56 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: History versus political messages
@Toby: Oh, they're certainly technical marvels too, and the scale and attention to detail can still be awe-inspiring even now. And I'm all for bringing back gothic skyscrapers. Wouldn't Canary Wharf look better with less glass and loads of gargoyles?

richheap
richheap  
12/10/2013 4:44:42 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: An old problem...
@Susan: Thanks Susan, and the Pyramids must also fit the criteria of being big religious projects, if only to send off the pharaohs to the afterlife in style.

I tried to see the Pyramids when I was in Cairo... but couldn't find them!

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/10/2013 4:27:03 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Save the view
"Religions have historically had the money and influence to plough into such large developments, and so many have ended up with grand buildings because of that. This also means that many religious buildings are among those that are most worth preserving even if you don't like the idea of what is preached within them."

Really interesting point here... religious buildings are also huge tourist attractions. Anytime I've been overseas, I've gone in and out of famous churches, and I'm far from religious or connected to any religion.

But the idea of religious imperialism bothers me quite a bit; as does the idea of religious institutions using money to abuse their power.

Toby
Toby  
12/10/2013 10:56:44 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: History versus political messages
@Rich: There is a great novel by Ken Follet that charts the rise of a great Catherderal in 12th century England and captures all the intrigues and stories that surround it. It even falls down at one point until they figure out the need for buttressing to withstand the weight of the roof and the pressure of the wind. All in all the technological achievements in this one building represent everything that architects and engineers knew at that time and the result was actually a technical marvel, not just an expression of divine inspiration.

Interestingly the early architects of NY's skyscarpers (and Chicago's) were very cognizant that they were going beyond the scale previously reserved for the divinely inspired and as a courtesy or even perhaps in reverence they styled many of the first skyscrapers in the fashion of gothic cathderals complete with spires, gargoyles and gothic flourish. Take a look at the Woolworth building in NYC for a perfect example of this.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
12/10/2013 8:06:10 AM
User Rank Blogger
An old problem...
Your article, Rich, reminds me of a time (in the '80s, I think) when some developer started building out behind the pyramids in Egypt. I'm sure the Giza plateau looked like the perfect spot! But as a result the iconic view of the three pyramids with the desert stretching out in the distance suddenly had a few extra buildings in the image -- nightclubs or something.

Anyway, the construction kept going for a while until finally there was such an outcry that the whole lot got demolished. But in the intervening decades the whole city has grow towards the pyramids and it may become harder to protect the land surrounding them.

richheap
richheap  
12/9/2013 3:58:08 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Save the view
Happy to oblige, Toby.

richheap
richheap  
12/9/2013 3:57:27 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: History versus political messages
@CitySolver: That was the idea, and it's why cathedrals used to tower so high over all the other buildings. Would the architects and builders ever have imagined that other buildings would one day tower over them?

Toby
Toby  
12/9/2013 12:02:59 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Save the view
@Rich: Yes, I thought that was quutable as I wrote it...looks good there in the italics. I think it forces us to accept the historic relationship between culture and architecture at many levels, including the less agreeable ones. This is not strictly an issue for Asia Minor but the same would be said if you were to try and obscure St Pauls, or Westminster or York Minster or Durham Cathederal...they are all such extraordinary examples of architectural expression regardless of thier inspiration or, contemporary mores.

CitySolver
CitySolver  
12/9/2013 10:12:57 AM
User Rank Blogger
History versus political messages
Interesting point about preserving religious power structures through architecture, afterall that was what these grand buildings were designed to do- Make ordinary people look in awe and wonder at the glorious architecture that was conceived thorugh the percieved divine intervention. Having sais that looking back in a post post modern world these structures are now a part of out human history and must not be smothered by buildings that will not last very long such as offices and hotels.

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