Gone But Not Forgotten
Laura Fisher Kaiser -- Interior Design, 3/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Peter Aaron is used to chronicling the triumphs of contemporary architecture: meticulously propped interiors where not so much as a paper clip is out of place, gleaming buildings freshly minted in an urban skyline. Returning to New York after an assignment in Baltimore, the photographer was driving up I-95 when he came upon the looming carcass of the Hollander Ridge apartments. The public-housing project was days from being demolished in a spectacular implosion to make way for a lower-density, 450-unit development. "Normally I shoot buildings that have just been completed. Here was something that was about to cease to exist. It was strange to think that people's lives here were now being compacted into a landfill somewhere," Aaron muses. Taking in the concrete terraces stuffed with cabinets, closet doors, and other standard-issue fixtures that had been stripped from the 1,000-unit structure, Aaron started snapping away. He had no idea that Hollander Ridge had become synonymous with the failure of 1960s urban renewal. To him, the high-rise was beautiful in a modernist way: "It looked Brutalist, reminiscent of Paul Rudolph."