You could prove the laws of chemistry wrong by experimenting with dirty test tubes. Kenneth Binmore

Witold Rybczynski

Witold Rybczynski

Witold Rybczynski, an architect and writer, was born in Edinburgh and now lives in Philadelphia where he is professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. He served for eight years on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which reviews memorials in Washington, D.C. His latest book is How Architecture Works; a collection of his essays, Mysteries of the Mall, will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux this fall. Follow him at witoldrybczynski.com.

Last updated on 20.05.2015

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Debate

The Trouble with Memorials

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Unnecessary Scale

Present-day memorials have taken on dimensions like never before. They occupy considerable amounts of public space and serve a pedagogic mission. Yet, this focus on shared experiences and public education has betrayed memorials’ primary function: contemplative, private reflection.

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