Category Archives: Architecture

A Jane Jacobs cornucopia

Here is an excellent review of recent books published by and about Jane Jacobs in the past year, which was the centennial of her birth. “What Jane Jacobs Saw,” by Michael Lewis in the upcoming March issue of First Things, … Continue reading

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Tour Providence by the book

Tomorrow a bunch of us know-it-alls have been invited to the Providence Preservation Society for a private session to suggest changes for a second edition of PPS’s 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture, written by Mack Woodward and photographed by Warren … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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