On September 11, for Archis

It made most things seem trivial. It demanded the highest reach of sympathy and imagination, just when we needed denial and ignorance. We were mesmerized by the sublime spectacle – and ashamed, sickened, by our stimulation and fascination.

For some while, perhaps some very long while, we will and should be unusually subdued, loving, careful, sensitive, humble, fearful, and sad. We will and should have little stomach for the petty, the egocentric, the facile, the showy, the abstruse, the pompous, the loud, the faddish, the superficial.

To hell with our cleverness, our hipness, our rank rank. Damn our smugness, our knowingness, our snide dismissiveness. We need to cherish what we can and pass lightly by the rest. We need to look for the lovely, the unpretentious, the quiet, the plain. Throw out Wallpaper. Pick up Portrait of a Lady.

The fake will make us sick. We need truthfulness undefiled. Very little new architecture will meet our need, in the way that Alvaro Siza’s Santa Maria in Marco de Canavezes might.

– William S. Saunders, Harvard Design Magazine

IMAGE: Alvaro Siza’s Santa Maria in Marco de Canavezes, courtesy Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Design School


The Ground Zero of Fear