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Criticism: The Latest Architecture and News

Lee Bey Is Back on the Architecture Beat in Chicago

Lee Bey Is Back on the Architecture Beat in Chicago - Featured Image
via WTTW

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

When the estimable Blair Kamin stepped down as architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune in early 2021, it left the city without a daily critic at any of the local news outlets. That sad state of affairs was partially corrected recently, when the Chicago Sun-Times announced that Lee Bey would begin a monthly architecture column. The writer, historian, photographer, and critic brings a wealth of experience to the task: he was architecture critic for the Sun-Times for five years in the late 1990s, served as deputy chief of staff for planning and design in Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, directed governmental affairs at SOM, and taught at IIT. His most recent book is Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side. Last week I talked to Bey about the new role, how the city has changed since his last stint as a critic, and the unique importance of architecture to the city.

What’s the Point of Architecture Criticism?

What’s the Point of Architecture Criticism? - Featured Image

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

What, exactly, is the point of architecture criticism? The word “criticism” is derived from the Greek term krinein, meaning to separate, to sift, to make distinctions, to discern, to examine, or to judge. According to Wayne Attoe, an architect and educator who writes about architecture criticism in his book Architecture and Critical Imagination (now sadly out of print), this does not necessarily mean to disapprove of, or to find fault with. It can be favorable or unfavorable; it can praise or condemn.

The Site Magazine: Does Architecture Heal? Does Architecture Discriminate?

In the three years since our editorial collective launched The Site Magazine we have collaborated with designers and design institutions around the world to probe social, economic, cultural, and political questions through the lens of architectural knowledge. The discipline of architecture is simultaneously broad and incisive: the practice of architecture demands a constant reinvention of its role, a redefinition of design’s limits. Our forthcoming series “Does Architecture _______?” confronts the obstacles and opportunities afforded by architecture’s evolving agency while continuing to delineate relevant contexts for spatial design. “Does Architecture _______?” is conceived as a series of five thematic issues, each

Call for Submissions: Dennis Sharp CICA Awards for Architectural Criticism 2020

The International Committee of Architectural Critics CICA is pleased to announce an invitation to publishers, editors, curators and authors to submit their publications for consideration for the 10th CICA Awards 2020 by 30th November 2019. Award winners will be announced during the UIA XXVII World Congress of Architecture to be held in Rio de Janeiro from July 19th to 23rd, 2020.

The Awards fall into four categories:

“Bruno Zevi CICA Book Award”
For published books on architectural criticism, theory and history
“Pierre Vago CICA Journalism Award”
For an article

An Architecture of Turbulence

A single family house may often have been considered as a very small pixel within any urban context, but the fact is, on average more than fifty percent of the urban fabric is being shaped by these tiny small pixels. It is well said by Tadao Ando: “The house is the building type that can change society.” Thus, this is how a client, a developer, a builder, an architect, or a designer could or should be responsible and willingly participate in a collective effort to shape a better urban context.

Will Snøhetta's Redesign Calm the Outcry From Its Original Controversial Proposal?

Labeled as "vandalism" and "murder" of an icon of postmodernism, Oslo-based firm Snøhetta's redesign proposal for Phillip Johnson and John Burgee's AT&T Headquarters was received with instantaneous backlash across the architectural community last year. Architect Robert A. M. Stern, marched alongside a protest outside 550 Madison Avenue, and even critic Norman Foster, who never claimed to have any sympathy for the postmodern movement, still vocalized his sentiments that "[the building] is an important part of our heritage and should be respected as such."

A rejection of the bland and cold functionality of Midtown's crystal skyscrapers, the AT&T building was intended to encourage a more playful approach architecture in the corporate world; the crazy socks beneath a three-piece suit. It was not without controversy. Upon its completion, the building was derided for its decorative and outsized pediment and occasionally dark interior spaces. Indeed, the building's arched entry spaces were among the only architectural elements to be met with praise from both critics and the public. 

Will Snøhetta's Redesign Calm the Outcry From Its Original Controversial Proposal? - Image 1 of 4Will Snøhetta's Redesign Calm the Outcry From Its Original Controversial Proposal? - Image 2 of 4Will Snøhetta's Redesign Calm the Outcry From Its Original Controversial Proposal? - Image 3 of 4Will Snøhetta's Redesign Calm the Outcry From Its Original Controversial Proposal? - Image 4 of 4Will Snøhetta's Redesign Calm the Outcry From Its Original Controversial Proposal? - More Images+ 1

On the Dislocation of the Body in Architecture: Le Corbusier's Modulor

In 1948, the architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier, released one of his most famous publications titled Modular, followed by Modular 2 (1953). In these texts, Le Corbusier expressed his support of the research that Vitrubio, DaVinci, and Leon Battista Alberti started centuries before: to find the mathematical relationship between human dimensions and nature.

The research of the previously mentioned authors also represents the search to explain the Parthenon, the temples, and cathedrals built according to exact measurements that reference a code of essentiality. Knowing what instruments were used in finding the essence of these buildings was the starting point, instruments that at first glance seemed to bypass time and space. It wouldn't be farfetched to say that the measurements came from essence: parts of the body such as the elbow, the finger, thumb, foot, arm, palm, etc. In fact, there are instruments and measurements that carry names alluding to parts of the human body, an indication of architecture's proximity to it. 

Architecture and Criticism: By the People, for the People?

This article was originally published on Common Edge as "Architectural Criticism that's Not Just for Architects."

In case you hadn’t noticed the world is going from paper to pixels. You’re reading this, here. Everything is changing, and that includes how we talk and think and write about architecture.

Dear Employers: Do You Want an Architect or a Revit Monkey?

We are seeking someone with a Bachelor of Architecture with two years of experience. Knowledge of Revit, Vray, Adobe and Microsoft. Knowledge of RNE and Municipal documentation. Immediate availability - Typical Architecture Job Listing.

Are newly graduated Architects "employable" people according to the requirements of the current market? And are these the right requirements?

Study Design Research, Writing & Criticism at the School of Visual Arts in New York City

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Articulate and Amplify

Now a one-year program with student funding, the Design Research, Writing & Criticism MA program at NYC’s School of Visual Arts empowers professionals as researchers, writers and—above all—critical thinkers.

“Will I get a job with this degree?” It’s a question that would-be students around the world are having to engage with far more seriously these days. In a climate where graduates can often find themselves “under qualified” when entering a lopsided jobs market, the number of institutions and programs that can confidently point to proven track records are on the decline.

Call for Papers: Critic|all

The topic proposed for the second edition of Critic all is the autonomy of architecture, recollecting and reframing the reflections that over architecture’s specificity have been produced within the discipline itself. If there is an approach that argues that architecture cannot be an isolated medium, that is, autonomous – not only in regard to social culture but above all, the worldly social, political and economic environment in which it is immersed, – we also have to face those visions that, conversely, consider that architecture is strictly a self-referential discipline, and therefore, it employs a self-sufficient language whose verification is determined