“When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk.”
Philippe Petit’s walk on a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, in August of 1974, tells us a lot about architecture and the edge. He and his team, who illegally penetrated the buildings’ security systems and rigged the wire, conceived the two towers as anchor points, stable and sure. Architecture, we believe, endures. Our lives continually moving within and around it are fleeting, ephemeral. It is a very great, but also instructive, irony that, in this case, the architecture did not endure. The towers were brought down by illegal ‘interventions’ different from Petit’s only in their intent to do harm, and to prove the instability of architecture. Both proved the vulnerability of presumably secure systems—especially the social ones symbolized by architecture—and shifted the focus of public perception and debate to what might be called ‘the endurance of ephemerality’ in contemporary worlds driven so often to the edge.
Lebbeus Woods. excerpt from The Edge. 2010
Related, from the very relevant The Funambulist:
# (UN)WALL /// The Edge – Lebbeus Woods / Philippe Petit
# FUNAMBULISTS /// Man on wire. James Marsh meets Philippe Petit
# FUNAMBULISTS /// 7 aout 1974, Philippe Petit joint illégalement les deux tours du WTC
Man on Wire, a 2008 awarded documentary by James Marsh.