Reflections on Architecture, Society and Politics brings together a series of thirteen interview-articles by Graham Cairns in collaboration with some of the most prominent polemic thinkers and critical practitioners from the fields of architecture and the social sciences, including Noam Chomsky, Peggy Deamer, Robert A.M. Stern, Daniel Libeskind and Kenneth Frampton.
Reflections on Architecture, Society and Politics: Social and Cultural Tectonics in the 21st Century
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, in collaboration with the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), will host a public panel discussion about the life and work of architect Frank Gehry. Mr. Gehry will join Paul Goldberger, architecture critic and author of Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry, in conversation with moderator Harry Cooper, curator and head of modern art at the National Gallery of Art.
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.
Paul Goldberger: "Frank Gehry Really Doesn’t Want To Be Remembered as Somebody Who Just Did a Few Iconic Buildings"
After he achieved celebrity status at the turn of the millennium, in recent years the conversation around Frank Gehry has switched tones, going from near-universal admiration to widespread controversy. Yet according to Paul Goldberger, whose biography of Gehry was released in September, both adoration and critique of the architect might engender an overly simplistic interpretation of his long and storied career. In this interview originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Paul Goldberger on Frank Gehry's Life and Work," Goldberger delves into the many ways Gehry has been misunderstood over the years, and how his work, his psyche, and the interplay between the two have made him one of the most conversation-worthy architects of a generation.
Frank Gehry isn’t just the world’s foremost architect; he is, by all public standards, also one of our greatest living artists. Paul Goldberger’s new biography (his first), Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry, acknowledges the architect’s celebrity status but doesn’t acquiesce in it. Rather, Goldberger interrogates the peculiar psyche and restless contradictions of the man to shed light on the motivations behind the architecture. Metropolis editor Samuel Medina speaks to the newly minted biographer about defying genre conventions, unpacking the ambiguities of Gehry’s work, and giving reporters the finger.
Frank Gehry and critic Paul Goldberger sat down with Charlie Rose to "the art and science of architecture and Golberger's new biography, Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry." You can watch the full 34-minute discussion above.
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.
This past Sunday, New York celebrated the opening of the High Line’s final section. More playful and untamed than its counterparts, the elevated park’s northernmost segment seems to have pleased the critics. As Paul Goldberger explained, the High Line at the Rail Yards is “stunningly refreshing” and “gives you an altogether new, relaxed, low-key way of being on the High Line.” You can read Goldberger’s take on the new portion of the High Line here on Vanity Fair.
Architects often don’t make time to read. Students and professionals alike will admit that the unread books on their shelves outnumber the ones they've read - which is unfortunate because literary contributions to the field of architecture, from Vitruvius to Le Corbusier, have shaped the way we build and use buildings for centuries. With this in mind, ArchitectureBoston polled their readers, asking them to share their favorite architecture and design titles, to compile a list of important architecture books you should set aside some time for. The list covers a wide range of subjects, from historical theory to the practicalities of starting a firm. See all thirty-three titles, after the break.
In an interview with Julia Ingalls Paul Goldberger, former architecture critic of the New York Times and forthcoming biographer of Frank Gehry, discusses the critical relevance of architecture in what he dubs the "new media age." According to Ingalls, Goldberger has thrived "by writing informed narratives that examine not just the trendy cladding of a building, but the deep historical, social, and political environments that invariably give rise to it." Goldberger is a writer who has embraced Twitter, using it as a platform for discussion and debate just as, in prior years, his writings in print media would act as less immediate provocations.
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 Kimmelman, Vanity Fair's Paul Goldberger, and New York Magazine's Justin Davidson at her blog, and let us know what you think of the debate in the comments below.
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
In an article for Vanity Fair Paul Goldberger unravels the Swiss Mystique surrounding Peter Zumthor's personality and work, describing him as a "cross between Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Proust, with perhaps a tiny bit of Bob Dylan thrown in." With completed projects few and far between, but executed with intense experiential thought and craftsmanship, the article explores how Zumthor's motives has informed his rigorous attitude to architecture. Having recently been awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, the "cult following" that Goldberger described in 2001 seems to only be getting stronger. You can read the full article here.
On April 24th and 25th, Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) will celebrate the gift and the restoration of the Frederick and Harriet Rauh House, designed by pioneering Cincinnati Modernist John Becker in Woodlawn, by hosting “Preserving Modern Architecture,” a two-day symposium at the house. In September 2011, CPA launched the restoration of the 1938 Rauh House with a festive celebration honoring Emily Rauh Pulitzer, donor of the house and funder of the work. A year later, the restoration of this pioneering International Style residence is complete.
Robert Venturi has joined nearly 4,000 advocates in the call to retrospectively acknowledge Denise Scott Brown as a joint Pritzker Prize laureate, stating: “Denise Scott Brown is my inspiring and equal partner.”
His support was then quickly followed by Rem Koolhaas, who stated: “I totally support this action. The fact that one of the most creative and productive partnerships we have ever seen in architecture was separated rather than celebrated by a prize has been an embarrassing injustice which it would be great to undo.”
More updates after the break...
There’s a saying that goes “Those who can’t do, teach.” But many could also claim: “Those who can’t do, critique.” Criticism, particularly Architecture Criticism, tends to get a bad rap for being subjective, impenetrable, and - ultimately - useless. But Paul Goldberger, a champion of the craft, would disagree.
In his acceptance speech for the Vincent Scully Prize earlier this month, Goldberger, the long-time architecture critic for The New York Times and current contributor to Vanity Fair, suggests that Architectural Criticism isn’t just vital - but more important than ever before.
With the advent of visually-oriented social media like Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr, it’s never been easier for the architectural layman to observe, share, and consume architecture. However, in the midst of this hyper-flow of image intake, Goldberger argues, meaning gets lost.
That’s where the critic comes in.
It’s rare to find someone willing to pay for opinions these days, and rarer still to be known for them. Yet, Paul Goldberger has crafted a career by objectively navigating the subjective. As an arbiter of quality in architecture and design for nearly four decades, he spends a few moments with me to reminisce about the “short break” he took from journalism that led to, among many accolades, the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and, more recently, the Scully Prize.
Andrew Caruso: You’re being recognized this year by the National Building Museum with the Vincent Scully prize. Given your relationship with Scully began when you were a student at Yale, this must be a very meaningful award.
Paul Goldberger: Scully was very much a teacher and mentor to me. Actually my first exposure to him was a high school visit to Yale. I observed one of his classes and was blown away. He was one of the reasons I wanted to go to Yale in the first place and I was lucky to work with him through college and as my thesis adviser.
The complete interview after the break…
Visionary architect, MacArthur Fellow and National Academician Jeanne Gang joins Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and architecture critic Paul Goldberger as part of the Academy’s annual Architects in Conversation series. Together they will discuss Studio Gang’s past, present, and future projects, as well as Gang’s role within the important architectural tradition of Chicago. The talk will be on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, at 6:30pm at the National Academy Museum. For tickets and for more information, please visit here.
If this registers no reaction from you, let me explain why it should. Paul Goldberger is the crowned prince of criticism. He began his career at The New York Times in 1972, where he worked under Ada Louise Huxtable, our reigning critical queen, and where he won a Pulitzer Prize. In 1997, he switched media empires:
But, after years of “fighting for adequate space” in an increasingly shrinking column, Goldberger won’t be finishing his writing days as Architect Critic of The New Yorker, but as Contributing Editor of Vanity Fair.
Many will conclude that this is a death knell for architecture; that if architecture cannot justify its own column at The New Yorker, one of the most influential publications in the world, then it must no longer be deemed relevant. This is what happened when Michael Kimmelman, an Arts reporter with no architectural training was appointed to cover architecture at The Times. Critics tweeted: “NYT to Architecture of NYC: Drop Dead” and “Architecture: you’ve been demoted.”
I too will add a cry to the din: “The Architecture Critic is Dead!” But you know what? Good riddance. Because criticism hasn’t died the way you think. It’s just been changed beyond recognition. And frankly, for the better.
Read more on the transformation of architecture & its criticism after the break…