Originally Posted by hegor
What kind of a world are we living in where a man doesn't have the right to destroy something he owns?
A world in which it is recognized that there is significant historical architecture that needs to be preserved. This has almost always been recognized in Europe which rebuilt many cities (i.e. Munich) after World War II to look almost exactly as it had before the war and in places like Paris, where you can't tear down any of the Haussmann architecture of the 1850s.
The question is whether one believes that money trumps all other interests. IMO, just because some idiot is rich enough to do something, doesn't mean we should permit them to destroy our society. The problem in the U.S. is that we have no sense of history. And so we've destroyed all of our Main Streets and downtowns in favor of the strip mall.
In the U.S., we have already lost so much and usually, in its place, garbage is erected. If you want to have a society of gas stations, shopping malls, cheap multi-family housing and McMansions, then we don't need preservation laws. But in New York, for example, it was recognized after Penn Station was torn down in the 1960s to make way for the ghastly Madison Square Garden that preservation was necessary. Grand Central Station would have been lost if not for Jackie Kennedy. And areas such as parts of Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights in Brooklyn have been designated landmark preservation areas so that the Civil War-era townhouses and brownstones can be preserved.
Preservation laws are not perfect and as other people have documented, this particular property may not have as much significance as some think. But having said that, I'd rather err on the side of caution before tearing down such a property. Jobs certainly has enough money to purchase land and build whatever he wants without tearing down anything historic. In a best case scenario, the building would have been designated historic before Jobs purchased the property so he knew what he was getting into, but we are where we are and hopefully, someone will move that house and attempt to preserve it and Jobs will build something also architecturally significant which will be worthy of preservation 80 years from now (and assuming California doesn't fall into the ocean by then.)