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Alejandro Aravena Is Profiled by Michael Kimmelman for T Magazine

06:00 - 23 May, 2016
Alejandro Aravena Is Profiled by Michael Kimmelman for T Magazine, © Anthony Cotsifas
© Anthony Cotsifas

On the eve of the Venice Biennale, The New York TimesMichael Kimmelman sits down with Alejandro Aravena in an intimate profile for T Magazine’s Beauty Issue. Visiting a number of projects by the architect and his office, Elemental, Kimmelman experiences socially minded architecture in an age of informal growth, income inequality, and mounting threats linked to climate change, all while learning about Aravena’s own path and growth as a practitioner. Although told by colleagues that he might be standoffish, Kimmelman finds Aravena to be “earnest, open, a little nerdy –– and deadly serious.”

With the Opening of the WTC Transportation Hub, Has Santiago Calatrava Been Vindicated?

09:30 - 4 March, 2016
With the Opening of the WTC Transportation Hub, Has Santiago Calatrava Been Vindicated?, via WTC Progress
via WTC Progress

After 12 long years and a series of construction headaches, Santiago Calatrava’s $4 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub has finally opened to the public. Once widely regarded as a symbol of hope for post-9/11 New York, the project’s ballooning budget and security-related revisions gradually soured the opinions of the public and top design minds including Michael Graves and Peter Eisenman, and provoked a multitude of mocking nicknames ranging from “Calatrasaurus” to “squat hedgehog” to “kitsch dinosaur.” All the while, Calatrava urged critics to reserve their opinion until the project’s opening. Now that day has arrived - did Calatrava receive the vindication he was insistent would come? Read on for the critics’ takes.

Michael Kimmelman and The NYT Release Multimedia Presentation on Why "Sound Matters"

09:30 - 1 January, 2016
Michael Kimmelman and The NYT Release Multimedia Presentation on Why "Sound Matters", With their Moscow Metro proposal, Variant Studio attempted to design "the world's quietest metro platform". Image Courtesy of Variant Studio
With their Moscow Metro proposal, Variant Studio attempted to design "the world's quietest metro platform". Image Courtesy of Variant Studio

"During the Middle Ages, smell was the unspoken plague of cities," writes New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman. "Today it is sound." In his latest article, entitled "Dear Architects: Sound Matters," Kimmelman breaks down an often-overlooked element of architectural design, explaining how space shapes sound, and how sound shapes our experience of a space - and imploring architects to put more thought into the sonic environments created by their designs.

New York City Mayor Threatens to Remove Times Square

14:46 - 26 August, 2015
New York City Mayor Threatens to Remove Times Square, Times Square in 2014. Image © Flickr CC User MK Feeney
Times Square in 2014. Image © Flickr CC User MK Feeney

Frustrated with the congestion of panhandlers, Mayor Bill de Blasio has shocked New York City dwellers by threatening to remove their beloved Times Square. As New York Times' architecture critic Michael Kimmelman reports, this comes at a time when dwellers fear that quality of life is declining in the city: "Entertaining the demolition of the plazas, the mayor sends a message that New York can’t support the sort of great pedestrian hubs that thrive in competing cities around the globe." Blasio said he will look into the "pros and cons" of returning Times Square to traffic. Read Kimmelman's full report on Blasio's threats, here

How Bjarke Ingels is Reshaping New York City's Architecture

14:34 - 27 July, 2015

Bjarke Ingels has become know for his “promiscuous hybrids" that are reshaping skylines worldwide. Now, after news of BIG's redesign of the 2 World Trade Center, Ingels is being credited for single-handedly transforming New York City's architecture. At the New York Times' Cities of Tomorrow conference last week, architecture critic Michael Kimmelman sat down with the 40-year-old Danish architect to discuss just how BIG is changing New York

Why 2015's Most Important Design In Architecture Isn't A Building, But A New York Times Article

10:30 - 27 April, 2015

Looking towards the uppermost floors of the new Whitney Museum of American Art, thick clouds roll diagonally across the sky behind. Reflected in the ample window of the museum’s main gallery they dash in a different direction, while the building’s white facade flashes light and dark in response to the changing light conditions. Superimposed over this scene, bold all-caps lettering pronounces the title of an article: the simple but dramatic “A New Whitney.”

This is the sight that greeted readers of Michael Kimmelman’s review of the Whitney in The New York Times last Sunday. Scroll down just a little, and the first thing you encounter is a list of credits: Jeremy Ashkenas and Alicia Desantis produced the article; graphics were contributed by Mika Gröndahl, Yuliya Parshina-Kottas and Graham Roberts; and videos by Damon Winter (the editor behind the entire endeavor, Mary Suh, is not mentioned).

Before even reading the article’s opening words, one thing is clear: this is not your average building review. As a matter of fact, it might even be the most important article in recent architectural memory.

Critical Round-Up: Renzo Piano's Whitney Museum

09:30 - 22 April, 2015
Critical Round-Up: Renzo Piano's Whitney Museum, © Paul Clemence
© Paul Clemence

Depending on how you measure it, Renzo Piano's new building for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (designed in collaboration with New York practice Cooper Robertson) could be the most long-awaited museum of the 21st century. At just a fraction under seven years since the first designs of the building were released, the incubation period has been long enough on its own - but in fact the project has its roots in a scrapped 1981 design by Michael Graves, when the Whitney was instead planning an extension to their previous home in Marcel Breuer's 1966 masterpiece on Madison Avenue. With such a highly anticipated building, the Whitney could hardly have a better man for the job; Piano is one of the most prodigious museum builders of our time. Yet despite this, since construction began in 2011 the design has been beset by criticism for its ungainly external appearance.

Ahead of the Whitney's grand opening on May 1st, this past Sunday saw a slew of reviews from New York's many reputable art and architecture critics, who attempted to make sense of the institution's long-overdue move from their idiosyncratic but endearing former home. We've rounded up some of the best of them, after the break.

© Flickr CC user Payton Chung © Flickr CC user Steven Severinghaus © Flickr CC user Steven Severinghaus © Flickr CC user Bill Benzon +6

Twitter Critics React to Frei Otto's Posthumous Pritzker

10:30 - 11 March, 2015
Twitter Critics React to Frei Otto's Posthumous Pritzker, Diplomatic Club Heart Tent, 1980, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn
Diplomatic Club Heart Tent, 1980, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn

The sudden and unexpected announcement of the Pritzker Prize yesterday evening sent shockwaves through the architecture world. With the sad death of the Prize's latest laureate Frei Otto on Monday, the Pritzker made the unprecedented decision to announce the winner two weeks early, ensuring that Otto's final, crowning achievement would make its way into the obituaries of this great man.

Of course, despite the sudden nature of the announcement, the many critics on Twitter were on hand to lend their initial thoughts in what was an interesting mix of congratulations, sadness and nostalgia. Read on after the break for all the reactions.

Michael Kimmelman Discusses The Importance Of Advocacy In Architectural Criticism

04:00 - 5 March, 2015
Michael Kimmelman Discusses The Importance Of Advocacy In Architectural Criticism, Michael Kimmelman. Image © Matej Stransky
Michael Kimmelman. Image © Matej Stransky

In an interview with Erika Allen for The New York Times, Michael Kimmelman discusses "architecture criticism and the dangers of demolition." Kimmelman, the NYT's architecture critic, has built a reputation as someone who advocates for buildings under threat, his most well known "fight" being against renovation plans drawn up by Foster + Partners for the New York Public Library in Manhattan. Referencing his latest column, in which he shows support for the threatened Orange County Government Centre, Kimmelman elaborates on his critical position and why he believes that speaking out for buildings at risk is "necessary."

Fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center to be Decided Tomorrow

16:00 - 4 March, 2015
Fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center to be Decided Tomorrow, Orange County Government Center by Paul Rudolph © New York Times - Tony Cenicola
Orange County Government Center by Paul Rudolph © New York Times - Tony Cenicola

Tomorrow legislators are due to decided the fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center. The midcentury icon, listed on the World Monuments Fund’s global watch list, has been the center of a prolonged debate challenging its right to be preserved. 

Kimmelman on MASS Design Group's Open-Air Clinics in Haiti

00:00 - 29 December, 2014
Kimmelman on MASS Design Group's Open-Air Clinics in Haiti, © Iwan Baan for the New York Times (click image for more)
© Iwan Baan for the New York Times (click image for more)

“Architecture and health are inseparable,” says Haitian doctor and founder of Gheskio in Michael Kimmelman’s latest New York Times piece In Haiti, Battling Disease With Open-Air Clinics. Recounting the devastating images of medical dysfunction that have circulated the internet since the Ebola epidemic, Kimmelman presents MASS Design Group’s nearly complete Port-au-Prince health clinics as a potential model for healthcare architecture worldwide. Combating cholera and tuberculosis with a modest, practical layout and open-air design, the new clinics will serve one of the city’s largest slums. Learn why Kimmelman declares them “handsome” and believes they will help eradicate disease in Haiti, here

Kimmelman Reviews the One WTC: An Emblem of New York’s “Upside-Down Priorities”

00:00 - 1 December, 2014
Kimmelman Reviews the One WTC: An Emblem of New York’s “Upside-Down Priorities” , One WTC. Image © James Ewing OTTO
One WTC. Image © James Ewing OTTO

Nearly a month since the official (and somewhat mundane) opening of New York’s One World Trade Center, New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman has published a scathing review of the SOM-designed tower, claiming it to be a “flawed” emblem of the city’s “upside-down priorities.”

Trading Parking Lots for Affordable Housing

00:00 - 17 September, 2014
Trading Parking Lots for Affordable Housing, 9x18 Scheme © Credit Peterson Rich Office/Sagi Golan via the NYTimes
9x18 Scheme © Credit Peterson Rich Office/Sagi Golan via the NYTimes

The cost of living in New York has skyrocketed over the years, causing one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s biggest challenges to be the integration of affordable housing. Considering this, architecture critic Michael Kimmelman has spotlighted a plan that suggests trading parking lots for micro housing units. Envisioned by three young architects at the Institute for Public Architecture, the “9x18” scheme has the potential to transform the city by capitalizing on outdated zoning regulations that would unleash more than 20.3 million square feet of usable space. Read more here on the New York Times

Are the Palisades Too Pure for LG's Headquarters?

00:00 - 15 April, 2014
Are the Palisades Too Pure for LG's Headquarters?, Courtesy of Michael Kimmelman's Twitter Feed (@kimmelman)
Courtesy of Michael Kimmelman's Twitter Feed (@kimmelman)

Responding to the bevy of critics slamming LG Electronics for building their new headquarters in the Palisades in New Jersey (half an hour north from NYC), Lee Rosenbaum, the Palisades-resident and architecture blogger known as CultureGrrl, maintains that "When it comes to preserving the 'pristine Palisades,' the boat has already sailed." Since LG's planned strip will be located on what is, according to Rosenbaum, already "a very commercial strip," she suggests that "that the incensed defenders of the purportedly unspoiled beauty of the Palisades [...] haven’t actually set eyes on them." Check out the images of her neighborhood as well as her very interesting Twitter tussles with The New York Times' Michael KimmelmanVanity Fair's Paul Goldbergerand New York Magazine's Justin Davidson at her blog, and let us know what you think of the debate in the comments below. 

Unpublished / CLOG

01:00 - 17 March, 2014
Unpublished / CLOG, Courtesy of CLOG
Courtesy of CLOG

Each edition of CLOG poses a particular challenge to the reader: by showcasing such a variety of distinct view points, teasing out the central, connective themes is far from an easy task. It requires analysis, thought, and most of all time - which is, of course, entirely the point. CLOG seeks to “slow things down” so that the greater issues of architectural discourse are mulled over and explored. 

The latest CLOG, however, Unpublished, has two central points that quickly, easily emerge. Pick up CLOG: Unpublished if you want to learn two things: (1) about how and why certain publications choose the architecture they publish (ArchDaily included); or (2) about works that have, for their geographical location or problematic nature, been forgotten from the “idealized narratives” of architecture

Michael Kimmelman Wins 2014 Brendan Gill Prize

00:00 - 11 March, 2014
Michael Kimmelman Wins 2014 Brendan Gill Prize, Penn Station, Re-Imagined. Image Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Penn Station, Re-Imagined. Image Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York has announced New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman as winner of the 2014 Brendan Gill Prize, a cash award presented annually to the creator of a specific work that “best captures the spirit and energy of New York City.” Kimmelman is being recognized, as President Vin Cipolla described, for his “insightful candor and continuous scrutiny of New York’s architectural environment” that is “journalism at its finest.” See why they singled out his coverage on the challenges of Penn Station, here.  

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Design Ice Rink for NYC

00:00 - 26 October, 2013
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Design Ice Rink for NYC, Courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects / Dbox
Courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects / Dbox

After sitting derelict for years, the Kate Wollman Memorial Rink in Brooklyn's Prospect Park is poised for something of a rebirth. Tod Williams and Billie Tsien's plans for a sports complex, known as Lakeside, is expected to restore the rink's role as the park's chief attraction. Michael Kimmelman recently stopped by the site to explore the project as it nears completion - click here to read his thoughts on what he calls one of the last "parting gifts of the Bloomberg era to the city."

Could Libraries Offer More in the Aftermath of Storms?

00:00 - 18 October, 2013
Could Libraries Offer More in the Aftermath of Storms?, Hurricane Sandy Aftermath. Image © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen
Hurricane Sandy Aftermath. Image © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

Zadie Smith recently suggested that libraries are “the only thing left on the high street that doesn’t want either your soul or your wallet." Michael Kimmelman has put forward the argument in the New York Times that local libraries could be far more important than we think in the aftermath of large storms, suggesting that "places that serve us well every day serve us best when disaster strikes" by fostering congregational activity and offering well-needed warmth, power and friendly faces. You can read the full article here.