What does it mean to build? Traditionally, building has been defined as the assembly of parts or materials toward the creation of a whole. While to build is often perceived as an Apollonian pursuit, to destroy appears to be its Dionysian counterpart. Understanding that our built environment is the product of many forces, it can dialectically be reduced to the tensions between creation and destruction, addition and subtraction, and erection and demolition. In a design culture focused on the superlative (the tallest, the newest, the priciest), in which destruction is often perceived of or produced by an act of violence, the processes of removal appear as secondary concerns or collateral damage. However, if we are to better understand the life cycles of our built environment, we must explore the possibilities and implications of Taking Buildings Down.
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