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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 7, Issue 1, Spring 2015

Annmarie Adams, Shelley Hornstein
Pages 47-67
DOI: 10.5840/esplace2015713

Can Architecture Remember? Demolition after Violence

Th is paper uncovers how demolition has served as a collective way of forgetting violent pasts. It explores several examples in Canada, including the 1992 demolition of the notorious Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s, Newfoundland, a building we claim was purposefully razed to the ground in order to forget egregious crimes of sexual abuse that had taken place on the site. We contend that as with other sites associated with difficult memories, this was a valiant effort to forget by removing all traces of the setting. We note that even when buildings are not demolished following violent events, echoes of their architectural forms are often recast in the forms of memorials, both real and virtual.