Two of Them

An ingenious scheme for repurposing the “sea of rubble”; an unused design for Columbus Circle; the Cow Palace

Though stories about the construction of United Nations building have tended to foreground the terse exchanges between project head Wallace Harrison and Le Corbusier that led to the latter’s exit from the project, the design is a testament to group work. Among the often overlooked contributors sits Maciej Nowicki, whose promising career was cut short by a plane crash three years later. Humanist Modernity, on view at the UN this past January, attended to Nowicki’s legacy and that of his wife and collaborator, Stanisława, the first woman to be made a full professor by a US architectural school. Delicate models and reproductions of drawings attested to an impressive body of work: an ingenious scheme for repurposing the “sea of rubble” of destroyed Warsaw in the city’s reconstruction; an unused design for Columbus Circle; a buoyant agricultural hall (now a sports arena) in Raleigh, North Carolina, that came to be called the Cow Palace.

Installed in an awkward corner near the delegates’ entrance, between the towering murals War and Peace by Brazilian artist Candido Portin…

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