Architecture is often seen as something which provides a place-marker in history, reflecting the zeitgeist of an era. But how do we design architecture in a world that is changing faster than ever before, where entire types of buildings disappear seemingly in a flash? Here, we round up six types of buildings that came into existence in modern times and are fading as fast as they appeared. Mostly banal and previously ubiquitous, the nostalgia associated with the disappearance of these buildings taps into something emotional, rather than intellectual admiration.
Memory and architecture are closely linked, with Juhani Pallasmaa in his book The Eyes of the Skin describing how “the body knows and remembers. Architectural meaning derives from archaic responses and reactions remembered by the body and the senses.” Some of the structures below have become obsolete within half a lifespan—an interesting point to consider in a discipline that has historically valued permanence above all. If structures no longer serve a social function, will they be remembered?