We looked at the history of preservation in terms of what was being preserved, and it started logically enough with ancient monuments, then religious buildings, etc. Later, structures with more and more (and also less and less) sacred substance and more and more sociological substance were preserved, to the point that we now preserve concentration camps, department stores, factories, and amusement rides. In other words, everything we inhabit is potentially susceptible to preservation.
Then we started looking at the interval or the distance between the present and what was preserved. In 1818, it was 2,000 years. In 1900, it was only 200 years. And near the 1960s, it became 20 years. Maybe we can be the first to actually experience the moment that preservation is no longer a retroactive activity but becomes a prospective activity. This makes perfect sense because it is clear that we have built so much mediocrity that it is literally threatening our lives. Therefore, we will have to decide in advance what we are going to build for posterity.
Rem Koolhaas, Preservation Is Overtaking Us
Quite old but still, it’s actually quite an optimistic and motivating essay. Loads of interesting bits.