Building landmarks, do we still know how?

by Stijlgroep on 25/04/2011

Every major city has it’s own famous landmark(s): some are very old, others are relatively new. Lately I’m wondering if our newest landmarks will make it to old age, or is that impossible in the modern day society.

Stijlgroep | Landmarks Times Square
Humans have built landmarks for centuries. In the early days of mankind these were mainly orientation points for travellers and indications for liveable land, hunting grounds and drinkable water.

Stijlgroep | Landmarks Pyramide
When people gathered in towns and cities they started to build a new type of landmark. The majority are either symbols of power, triumph, memorial or religion. Landmarks such as Arc de Triomphe in Paris (erected after Napoleons victory at Austerlitz) are symbols of triumph and power. Other landmarks, such as Versailles in France and the Pyramids in Egypt, just radiate the ‘superiority’ of their owner. A prime example of a religious landmark is the Notre Dame in Paris.
What all these landmarks have in common is the fact that they are still existing and still landmarks. They survived the destructive side of both human and nature. Most of them are now world famous attractions and bring in a lot of cash. Probably one of the reasons they are still maintained.

Stijlgroep | Landmarks Arc de Triomphe
Modern landmarks from the last 50 years, like Times Square (in it’s current form), the Sydney Opera House and since recently the Burj Dubai, are already big attractions for modern travellers. The biggest difference to a lot of the historical landmarks is that almost all of the modern landmarks have a real function. Most are office buildings, hotels, museums, theatres or bridges. Although many were designed with the wish to create a landmark/icon, the main reason they were build is always one of practical use.
In the last 100 years there are only a handful landmarks build that have no “real” function and that are more or less decorative. Good examples are the Eiffel Tower (Paris), the Atomium (Brussels) and the statue of Christ (Rio de Janeiro) which off course has a religious objective.

Stijlgroep | Landmarks Christ The Redeemer Rio-de-Janeiro
As said I am wondering if our modern day landmarks will have the same life span as the historical landmarks. Demolition and the restructuring of cities is going faster then ever before. What is currently a landmark due to its enormous height might be not so special anymore in twenty years. What happens if a landmark is no longer exploited, will it stay ore disappear. Are we still able to create and retain special landmarks or will they all become a victim of our faster changing society?

Do you have a theory or a prediction, let me now by adding a comment.

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