Rebuild Penn Station, cont.

One of the Penn Station eagles, probably in the Meadowlands. (courtesy of orhan)

One of the Penn Station eagles, probably in the Meadowlands. (courtesy of orhan)

Archinect has reported Richard Cameron’s proposal to rebuild Penn Station in the original 1910 style of Charles Follen McKim, linking to Clem Labine’s excellent announcement in Traditional Building. Make sure you check out the mostly positive comments after reading “The new $2.5 billion plan to rebuild the historic Penn Station.” An interesting back and forth ensues about ethics and aesthetics. Yes, there is the idiotic “Why spend $2.5 billion rebuilding 19th century technology,” as if those who build it won’t make heavy use of 21st century technology (as traditional architects have incorporated innovation in design from time immemorial)? Someone even remarks that we shouldn’t rebuild Penn Station since we don’t use dial phones anymore. Another urges that we look instead at the a recent “good SHoP plan” – a contradiction in terms. Enjoy!

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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1 Response to Rebuild Penn Station, cont.

  1. mrouchell says:

    The 19th century technology comment is interesting given that the original building was built in the 20th century. From a technological stand point, the original Penn Station is not that different than the way we build today. It was a steel framed building with granite cladding on the exterior. We still build steel framed buildings with granite cladding. Back then the steel was riveted together; today we use high strength bolt connections. The granite cladding is usually thinner than what was used in 1910. Also, the granite can now be secured to the structure with non corrosive stainless steel anchors, and we have better sealants and waterproofing products available today, but by and large, the technology is still the same.


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