Talking “Sandfuture: Architecture’s Role in New York

Artist Justin Beal will discuss his new book, “Sandfuture,” about the life of World Trade Center Architect Minoru Yamasaki on Friday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Parrish Art Museum. 

Yamakasi remains on the margins of history despite the enormous influence of his work on American architecture and society.

Presented on the eve of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, “Sandfuture” is also a book about architecture’s role in culture as New York changes drastically after a decade bracketed by terrorism and natural disaster. 

“Sandfuture” spirals outward from the thread of Yamasaki’s life to include reflections on the figure of the architect in literature, film and the contemporary art market to the perils of sick buildings and the broader social and political implications of how, and for whom, cities are built.

The son of Japanese immigrants in Seattle, Minoru Yamasaki overcame racism in both his country and his profession to rise to prominence with what was early on seen as a humanistic approach to modern architecture. But the critical rebuke of the World Trade Center and the spectacular demise of his Pruitt-Igoe apartments in St. Louis later pushed him to the margins of the profession. 

The Pruitt-Igoe apartments became internationally infamous in the late 1960s for their poverty, crime and racial segregation. All 33 of the 11-story high rises were demolished with explosives in the mid-1970s, and the project has come to represent the failures of urban renewal, public-policy planning and public housing.

Today, Yamasaki remains largely unknown despite his influence on the history of American architecture. His two best-known projects were both destroyed on live television.

Tickets are $12 for the general public and free for members. Advance purchase is required, along with proof of vaccination or a negative test for Covid-19. For more information, visit parrishart.org.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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