Monthly Archives: December 2016

Wolf von Eckardt’s critique

Yesterday, into my email inbox, there came a 1966 Harper’s critique of the original World Trade Center by Wolf von Eckardt, the first architecture critic at the Washington Post. I was age 10 in 1963 when he was hired. In … Continue reading

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E.U.’s new Tower of Babel

Pairing the European Union’s new facility in Strasbourg with the medieval painter Brueghel’s Tower of Babel has occurred to not a few on the Internet, and not without very good reason. You can almost assume that the designer intended to … Continue reading

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When there’s no there there

The headline on this post is supposed to refer to Gertrude Stein’s famous line about Oakland – “There’s no there there.” The Huffington Post has an essay that tries to show, rather absurdly, that Stein did not mean to denigrate … Continue reading

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The good cheer of beauty

Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray, was published as a serial novel of 20 monthly parts in issues of Punch magazine from January 1847 to July 1848. So next month will be the 170th anniversary of its appearance in print. … Continue reading

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Dull (not!) parody of Dwell

Michael Mehaffy, the urbanist creator of the Sustasis Foundation, in Portland, Ore., has sent a divine parody of a Dwell magazine cover to his friends on the TradArch list. I offer it to my own friends and readers for (fill … Continue reading

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Carpionato rides again!?

The proposed apartment complex on Harris Avenue behind Providence Place, near the 903 apartments, looks enchanting. Of course, the devil is in the details, and one fears the design will not even live up to the drawings above and below, … Continue reading

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Deconstructing Villa Savoye

In the center of the photo above is the Villa Savoye, possibly the most famous work of Le Corbusier, the most influential of modern architecture’s founders. He inspired so much of the poor quality and deadening allure of the built … Continue reading

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‘Miestake’ at Charnel-House

For someone who writes about Marxism, Ross Wolfe, author of the blog “The Charnel-House,” appears to be quite unusually frank in his discourse on modernism. Modernists are compelled by the obvious fallacy of modern architecture to confuse issues but often … Continue reading

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Holy crystal meth, Batman!

News out of Pyongyang via Dezeen reports that its construction boom is fueled by crystal meth. A drug that jacks up levels of energy, alertness and self-esteem might well be usefully fed to workers undertaking delicate work with rivets while … Continue reading

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Best skyscrapers 2016: Yawn

No surprise here, but Dezeen has published a list of the ten best skyscrapers of 2016. I’ve chosen to spotlight the pyramidal monstrosity in New York City by Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect and founder of the firm BIG. The … Continue reading

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