Requiem For the City at the End of the Millenium

By Sanford Kwinter

In this small, but sharply-pointed book, renowned theorist Sanford Kwinter addresses the sometimes subtle, sometimes brutal transformations that characterized the modernization processes set into motion at the turn of the millennium. From the strange appearance of the ‘Trojan Horse‘ that was the Centre Pompidou which served as the harbinger and template of the new idea of “Europe”, through the dot.com bubble of the late 1990s, to the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers in New York, a new world came into being that design thinking has yet to fully take into account. The City is here seen not only as the last frontier of human history currently under threat of total eclipse, it is the indomitable form of collective experience upon which one can count as assuredly as one can on death and taxes. Requiem, to quote from Thomas Daniell’s introduction, is first and foremost redemptive: “Kwinter’s most negative assessments of the city are driven by a deep commitment to its sublime potentials–a desire to sacralize the most profane and fecund of human creations”.

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