After two days spent debating, participants and attendees of Reconsidering Postmodernism still had many questions concerning the definition of postmodernism and its relevancy to contemporary architectural practice. Using the example of Italian architect Ernesto N. Rogers (1909-1969), I presented a paper at the conference in which I tried to demonstrate how even modernist (and not only postmodernist) architects were interested in drawing from tradition in order to address pressing issues of their times.
After the conference ended, I took a walking tour of New York to visit some sites (new and old). My first stop was Philip Johnson’s (famous or infamous, depending on who you ask) Sony Tower (former AT & T Building) completed in 1984. As a counterpoint to this brand of postmodernism, I then proceeded to re-visit the Met Life Building (former Pan Am Building) completed in 1963. During my talk on Rogers I used the Met Life Building as a counter-example to the “contextualism” of Rogers’ Torre Velasca in Milan completed in 1958.
My architectural tourism ended with a highlight: a visit to the National September 11 Memorial. I was quite moved by the way these two scars (the footprints of North and South Towers) were transformed by the soothing roar of water cascading down into the reflecting pools.