The Critics' Best (and Worst) of 2013

The Critics' Best (and Worst) of 2013

2013 was a year of stories that were intriguing, exciting, disappointing and - sometimes - downright hilarious.As is traditional at this time of year, many critics are rounding up their highlights of the past 12 months.Perhaps the most entertaining of the roundups is Olly Wainwright's of the Guardian; Wainwright took 10 big stories from this year and twisted them into new year's resolutions - offering up helpful advice such as "don't be afraid of copying", "be nice to skateboarders", and the Walkie-Scorchie inspired "don't melt things". Other critics, though, had more sensible suggestions for what went right and wrong in 2013 - read on after the break to find out more.

Meanwhile, Rowan Moore of the Observer offers his five best buildings of the year, but alongside also rounds up the years most important architectural news stories - adding provocatively that "The most significant architectural/urban event of the year was in Istanbul, where plans to gobble up a park with an Ottoman-themed shopping mall sparked riots. The consumption of public space by financial speculation is a worldwide issue... and the Gezi Park protests show how much it matters to people."

LA Times critic Christopher Hawthorne offered his top ten architectural events and stories in concise tweet form, with 4 World Trade Center among the best buildings, New York's Citi Bike the best schemes, "Never Built Los Angeles" in the best exhibitions, and Women in Architecture getting a mention for raising awareness of gender and collaboration issues in architecture.

Bloomberg critic James Russell offers a comprehensive analysis of the trends which came to the forefront in 2013, including the transformation (both positive and negative) of New York City by wealth, the rise of DIY urbanism (good) in the face of low investment in urbanism (bad), and the increased awareness and response to green issues by both people and governments (all good). He argues 2013 was also the year that museum design - in recent times the most prominent opportunity for brave and spectacular design - embraced "a moralistic austerity that too often begets mediocrity or worse", singling out Renzo Piano's addition to the Kimbell Art Museum as a prime offender.

As if to prove his point (but taking the exact opposite opinion) Julie V Iovine of The Wall Street Journal praised the best buildings of 2013 as the ones which were "notable for restraint, with an emphasis on being smart over being edgy". Alongside Piano's addition to the Kimbell, she listed Chipperfield's extension to the St Louis Art Museum and Morphosis' Perot Museum of Nature and Science. However she did agree with Russell on one point, with both expressing admiration for the Krishna P Singh Center for Nanotechnology by Weiss/Manfredi.

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Cite: Rory Stott. "The Critics' Best (and Worst) of 2013" 07 Jan 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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