Architects to discuss the role of high-rises

Cityscape: The specter of terrorism leads some to believe that skyscrapers will no longer be built.


November 05, 2001|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN ARCHITECTURE CRITIC

Since the terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center, the future of the American skyscraper has come into question as never before.

Some urban experts warn that mega-towers may be dead as a building form, in the United States at least, because they're targets for terrorists. Others say 100-story buildings will be rare, as they always have been, but structures of 50 stories or so will continue to rise when market conditions warrant.

On Friday at 6 p.m., noted architects and engineers will gather at the National Building Museum in Washington to discuss the role of the skyscraper in the urban landscape and its future as a building type, in light of Sept. 11.

The symposium is the first in a series of exhibitions and programs titled "Building in the Aftermath" that the museum is mounting to explore the impact of terrorism on architecture, engineering and urbanism.

Panelists will include Leslie Robertson, one of the structural engineers who designed New York's World Trade Center; Paul Katz and Bruce Fowle, architects who design tall buildings for Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and Fox & Fowle Architects, respectively; and Witold Rybczynski, professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. Architecture critic Robert Campbell will moderate.

At 7:30 p.m. the same day, the museum will hold a preview for "Twin Towers Remembered," an exhibit of 60 images by New York photographer Camilo Jose Vergara. The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday and will remain on view through March 10.

On Nov. 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the museum will hold a symposium about making buildings and public spaces safer, titled "Freedom Without Fortresses: Shaping the New Secure Environment."

Panelists will include former U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan; Jonathan Barnett, an architect and professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania, and David Vere Thompson, vice president and director of the public sector studio for RTKL Associates and executive architect for the reconstruction and repair of the Pentagon in northern Virginia.

Robert Ivy, editor in chief of Architectural Record magazine, will moderate.

The museum is at 401 F St. N.W. in Washington. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission to each "Building in the Aftermath" symposium costs $12 for museum members, $16 for nonmembers, and $8 for students. Prepaid registration is required. Call 202-272-2448.


Noted California architect Eric Owen Moss will present the Baltimore Architecture Foundation's annual Alexander Cochran Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Walters Art Museum, Charles and Centre streets. Tickets cost $5 for foundation members and $10 for others. Moss is expected to discuss his work on the West Coast and elsewhere.

Census discussion

City planning director Charles Graves will discuss the 2000 Census and its implications for Baltimore's revitalization efforts in a forum at noon on Wednesday at the Johns Hopkins University's Downtown Center, Charles and Fayette streets.

Graves also will speak about his department's year-long study of neighborhoods and the search for what he calls "indicators for change." Together with the census report, the study will help guide planners in developing recommendations for capital spending throughout the city. The forum is free and open to the public.

Award for restoration

D'Aleo and Associates, an architecture and planning firm headed by Leo D'Aleo, this fall received the 2001 Vision Award from the Maryland Chamber of Commerce in recognition of its work to restore the Aigburth Vale mansion in Towson as part of a housing community for seniors.

The award is presented annually to an owner, developer, architect, engineer or contractor of a Maryland project that exhibits "innovative design and creative use or historic re-use of land and space."

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