Disaster by Design

A few weeks ago I was driving around and noticed fresh destruction.  As much as this appeals to my punk rock mentality of breaking bottles against trees in the middle of the woods? A building that once was, is no longer.  For the life of me, I can’t remember what stood in the now vacant lot, but that didn’t stop me from feeling defensive and making some gripe to myself about how careless we are with our city’s history and architecture.  As I gawked at the rubble, I thought back 25 years to the fiery demolition of Orlando’s City Hall.  At least with the destruction of the former City Hall, we were able to capture the memory in what is now some warped VHS tape starring famed bigot, Mel Gibson.

photo by Jason Fronczek

photo by Jason Fronczek

I don’t want to save it all.  We haven’t always made the best choices of incorporating design into our landscape.  Some of our city’s structures send a chill down my spine, but overall, I love the mix-match.  Our structures are our scars. Sometimes they are unique and hold a solid memory that we can boast about and other times they’re a little more embarrassing.  I’m referring to the future scar that the Milk District residential redevelopment will leave.  There was a time when we were even deeper in the shadow of the theme parks and anything new sounded like a good idea, but that’s not the case anymore.

Our city is at the head of a renaissance.  People are no longer just passing through.  Great ideas are no longer being saved until someone gets to New York or LA.  The creative mindset is competitive and contagious and our citizens have started noticing the potential and talent we have here.  However, all this comes with great responsibility.  In the age of information, constant updates and fluid growth, we shouldn’t neglect where we came from.  Architecture and design shouldn’t be approached with “gut instinct” but with knowledge and education.  It’s up to us to hold each other accountable for our actions.  We can’t wait until something is torn down to care.  We can’t jump on the opportunity of a new skyscraper or large development for the sake of growth and progress.  We must curate ourselves.


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