Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Kunstlerfest in Chicago

James Howard Kunstler’s magisterial book The Geography of Nowhere lays waste to the ideas that laid waste to America, but his thoughts on suburbia – crudscape and all that – come after the book’s “opening monologue” about the history of … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is this possible anymore?

Above is a photo of a town, Sémur-en-Auxois, in the Dordogne, a department of southwestern France. Below is Sarlat-la-Canéda, in the same district. They are both beautiful, and it makes sense to wonder whether there is any hope that towns … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Fond adieu to Horne’s Paris

Here are several more passages lifted from the closing chapters of Alistair Horne’s engaging Seven Ages of Paris: Less felicitous were architectural scandals like the Tour Montparnasse (started in 1959, but not finished till 1973), greatest urban project since Haussmann, … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Books and Culture | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The eye, the mind, the heart

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so sayeth just about everyone, but how does the mind influence what the eye of the beholder sees? If the eye informs the brain and the brain informs the taste, then there … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Art and design | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Preservation in Charleston

Should historic preservation be a quest for beauty or a quest for knowledge? That was the question at issue on Saturday in Charleston., S.C. Both are valid goals but I argued that beauty should be top priority. The panel, “Unfolding … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My TB post on style wars

Here is the January post for my blog at Traditional Building: “Assertively Classical: Thomas Gordon Smith at Notre Dame” was written before the already intense political climate intensified by two- or three-fold after the inauguration of that successful entertainer. The … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

And the race is on!

Providence. Friday, February 10. 7:45 a.m. This is a completely absurdist concept for a blog post, but my cab to Green Airport, outside of Providence, will (I hope) pick me up in 45 minutes. So here, to be brief, are … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

History of Maya Lin’s Wall

Maya Lin’s Wall on the Mall, dedicated to Vietnam’s fallen warriors, has long struck me as being less than the optimal commemoration of a national tragedy. Its gash in the Mall looks as if it symbolizes a loss in conflict … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Art and design | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Le era (er, error) de Corbu

Here is what Alistair Horne has to say about Le Corbusier in his book Seven Ages of Paris. It is on page 330. In my opinion, he lets the guy off too lightly. … [A]fter 1919 most new building shifted … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Urbanism and planning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Chace plans downtown digs

When it was announced several years ago that Providence developer Buff Chace would purchase the Journal Building and the parking lot across from it on Fountain Street, he expressed the hope of erecting a new building on the latter site. … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Development, Providence, Providence Journal, Urbanism and planning | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment