1. Obsolescence in Architecture
    University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

    Obsolescence in Architecture
    A Lecture by Daniel M. Abramson
    Claire T. Carney Library, The Grand Reading Room
    University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
    April 14, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.

    Where does the idea come from that architecture can become obsolete, suddenly lose its value and utility, and so become expendable in a short period of time?

    This presentation traces the origins of the idea of architectural obsolescence to early-twentieth-century American financial district demolitions, tax policies, and decaying cities. In mid-century, architects and others worldwide responded to obsolescence positively by embracing ephemerality and-short-life buildings, but also, alternately, by revaluing the obsolete and reinstating permanence. The idea of obsolescence thus gave way in the 1970s to sustainability, today’s dominant paradigm for conceptualizing and managing change in the built environment, conserving rather than expending existing resources.