Day: October 6, 2016

Conservation as a Creative Act

A 2011 terrorist bombing in the national government quarter of Oslo damaged two central modernist buildings and set the Norwegian government on a path of demolition and replacement that raised questions of national remembrance, security, preservation, and democratic consensus. That incident provides the context for a new and expansive work about preservation, urbanism, and architecture edited by architectural designer and scholar Bryony Roberts, the 2016 Rome Prize winner in Historic Preservation. Tabula Plena: Forms of Urban Preservation takes its title from a contrast to the familiar architectural and planning term, tabula rasa, the clean slate—a site that is cleared and thus provides the freedom for design without constraints. Preservationists in the United States know this situation all too well, from the urban renewal battles of the 1950s and 60s to today’s call for clearing urban blocks to allow new high-rise buildings that will provide more “density” in our rapidly growing cities. Roberts and students from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), working in collaboration with a team of students from the Columbia University …