Enough time has passed for us to not feel like voyeurs of disaster, or guilty exploiters of human tragedy. Rather, we can look at these images with a more objective eye, seeing them as types rather than only as documents of a shocking human catastrophe. As types, they give us enough emotional distance to learn something that may stay with us and become useful in the future, rather than be overwhelmed, immobilized by emotion. Ultimately, tears only cloud our vision.
What exactly can we learn from these images of the Honshu quake and the tsunami that devastated the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011?
“Many things” seems too easy an answer—yet it is true. Every branch of human knowledge is affected by what these images portray. As our concern here is the field of architecture, the first thing we need to acknowledge is that it is a field…
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