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Michael Sorkin (1948–2020)

Mourning Michael Sorkin, architect and humanist, teacher and friend, who died yesterday of the coronavirus. This grievous loss presages the many brilliant minds that will be lost to the craven avarice of the Trump administration. If anyone could have come up with inventive building solutions in a post-corona world, Michael could have. To give you a taste of his beautiful mind, moral authority, and acerbic wit, here’s an excerpt from his Skyscrapers primer, linked here. He starts with AMERICA (and if you want to turn green with literary envy, check out the second and last lines):

“Where else but the United States could the skyscraper happen? Where else concatenate avarice, ambition, bureaucracy, speculation, underdevelopment, technology, and the waiting grid? While not exclusively American, the tower’s thoroughgoing here, ubiquitous. No city of substance lacks a skyline, a clump of spires – however few – that signify the threshold of arriviste urbanity. . . The tower speaks by conferring address.”

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