Mark Cuban buys designs from World Trade Center and donates them to the Smithsonian Design Museum


Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Mark Cuban purchased and donated a set of World Trade Center drawings from the late architectural illustrator Carlos Diniz.

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City confirmed on Friday that it will exhibit the design in its galleries, but not this year.

Diniz, who died at age 72, almost two months before the attacks, was known for his large-scale narrative drawings. His hand-drawn work encompasses many landmarks and historical structures and developments from the 1960s through the 1980s.

His designs for the World Trade Center date from 1963, before the dedication in 1973. Diniz was the lead artist in his studio, which produced designs to help architects and developers sell their projects. The designs that Cuban bought date from 1962 to 1968.

Cuban, whose appreciation of art has been mostly on a digital scale lately, said in an email on Thursday that he was not familiar with Diniz’s work but was quickly drawn to it. sold.

“The architect’s family contacted me and asked if I would buy them and give them away,” Cuban said. “Since the towers are gone – and these designs are so amazing – having them for everyone to see at the Smithsonian was the right thing to do.

“So, I said yes.”

Mark Cuban purchased and donated a set of World Trade Center drawings by the late architectural illustrator Carlos Diniz.

(David Woo / Staff Photographer)

Carol Espinoza, whose husband Ian was Diniz’s stepson and protege, said that due to the particular legacy of Diniz’s work, “we wanted to keep the whole collection together and hoped it would go to somebody else. ‘one that would end up donating it to a reputable institute. “

The family enlisted the help of British art dealer Fraser Scott in finding a buyer. Espinoza said the family appreciated Cuba’s promise to donate the works.

“It was a huge relief for us as we really wanted these designs to be visible to the public,” she said. “Sir. The purchase of Cuban has helped our whole family through this very difficult time. His incredible generosity in donating the designs is a testament to the human heart and his desire to give back, and is so admired by all of us.

Diniz’s designs contrasted with architectural drawings which articulated design ideas. His illustrations were commissioned to communicate and sell the project to clients and the general public.

“His drawings reflect not only the design of towers, but also the social and political forces that shape the built environment,” London artist Sam van Strien wrote in Drawing Matter, a repository of writings on architecture and construction. design.

Marc Lamster, The news’ architecture critic, wrote in a recollection that the Towers “almost defied criticism. They had an impending magnetic energy which was so fascinating it reached the sublime. “

In 2001, Diniz’s family inherited their extensive archive of architectural drawings, graphics and art dating from the 1950s to the early 1990s, Espinoza said. In 2015, the Diniz family donated much of the archives to the University of California, Santa Barbara Art Design & Architecture Museum. A few projects were selected by the family for personal collection, she said. Among these projects was the collection of drawings and ephemera for the World Trade Center project.

“Diniz’s work is widely known in architectural communities but virtually unknown outside. We have worked with several people for many years to build a media catalog and to ensure that his work is presented in exhibitions around the world, ”said Espinoza.

In 1962, Diniz was hired by architect Minoru Yamasaki as part of the World Trade Center Twin Towers design team. His drawings in the WTC portfolio show viewers the experience of monolithic structures against the backdrop of Lower Manhattan and inside the buildings themselves. The designs were intended to illustrate Manhattan as an international business center.

The towers were destroyed in 2001 when terrorist hijackers crashed commercial airliners into every building, causing numerous casualties and building collapse.

Cuban said the designs reflect what the towers mean for New York City and the country.

“I didn’t know them,” he said of the drawings. “But looking at them, you can’t help but get goosebumps – and at the same time feel a hole in your heart.”

Espinoza said the family looks forward to the day when the Cooper Hewitt Museum makes his stepfather’s work accessible to everyone.

“The World Trade Center has become a powerful symbol in American history, so we are very happy that these designs now belong to the American people,” she said.

French artist Philippe Petit walked a tightrope between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City in 1974.
At Veterans Park in Arlington, over 911 flags have been planted to create a Field of Honor honoring the lives lost on September 11, 2001. (Lawrence Jenkins / Special Contributor)


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