Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Premature Demolition

Wakefield Market Hall / Adjaye Associates (2008), via ArchDaily

The news last week that David Adjaye’s 2008 Wakefield Market Hall faces the wrecking ball made me start looking for a third example of what begins to seem like a trend: premature demolition. Definition: When a purpose-built structure designed by a well-known architect is destroyed at or before it reaches adolescence. The market hall: eight years. The Folk Art Museum: thirteen years. On Twitter, Philip Nobel reminded me of a third example: Bart Voorsanger’s Morgan Library addition, also demolished at thirteen. In each case, the owners of the structure have made the argument that it no longer serves its purpose: too unpopular, in the case of the market; too small, in the case of the Morgan; too “obdurate”, according to Elizabeth Diller, in the case of the Folk Art Museum.