notes: Souvenirs of human tragedy, even violent events, are a part of our object-history. Each year hoards of people visit the battlefield of Gettysburg and the site of the car crash which killed Diana, Princess of Wales. Perhaps we embrace horror so that we may contain it, even feel some sense of control over it.
Buildings of Disaster is a project begun by Boym Design Studio in 1998. This thoughtful project is described by the creative director, Constantin Boym:
"The end of a century has always been a special moment in human history. While we no longer expect the world to come to an end, we all still share a particular mood of introspection, a desire to look back and to draw comparisons, and a sense of closure and faint hope. Above all, the end of the century is about memory. We think that souvenirs are important cultural objects which can store and communicate memories, emotions and desires. Buildings of Disaster are miniature replicas of famous structures where some tragic or terrible events happened to take place. Some of these buildings may have been prized architectural landmarks, others, non-descript, anonymous structures. But disaster changes everything. The images of burning or exploded buildings make a different, populist history of architecture, one based on emotional involvement rather than on scholarly appreciation. In our media-saturated time, the world disasters stand as people's measure of history, and the sites of tragic events often become involuntary tourist destinations."