the world's most visited architecture website
All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Justin Davidson

Justin Davidson: The Latest Architecture and News

Critical Round-Up: Hudson Yards

13:00 - 18 March, 2019
Critical Round-Up: Hudson Yards, Hudson Yards. Image Courtesy of Related-Oxford
Hudson Yards. Image Courtesy of Related-Oxford

New York City’s Hudson Yards has opened its doors to the public, and the reviews are flooding in. Built on Midtown Manhattan’s West Side, the project is New York’s largest development to date and the largest private real estate venture in American history, covering almost 14 acres of land with residential towers, offices, plazas, shopping centers, and restaurants. A host of architecture firms have shaped the development, including BIG, SOM, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Rockwell Group, and many others.

Read on to find out how critics have responded to Hudson Yards so far.

Hudson Yards. Image Courtesy of Related-Oxford Hudson Yards. Image Courtesy of Related-Oxford Hudson Yards. Image Courtesy of Related-Oxford Hudson Yards. Image Courtesy of Related-Oxford + 15

TED Talk: Justin Davidson on the Pitfalls of Glass Skylines

12:00 - 10 June, 2017

Justin Davidson: Why glass towers are bad for city life -- and what we need instead

There's a creepy transformation taking over our cities, says architecture critic Justin Davidson. From Houston, Texas to Guangzhou, China, shiny towers of concrete and steel covered with glass are cropping up like an invasive species.

“That person sitting right next to you might have the most idiosyncratic inner life, but you don’t have a clue because we’re all wearing the same expression. That is the kind of creepy transformation that is taking over cities.”

Shiny, bland and homogenous. These characteristics are increasingly encapsulating the nature and identity of our cities through the use of glass as a dominant building material, says Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Justin Davidson. In this TED Talk, Davidson stresses the importance of the use of a varied palette of materials that evoke texture, color, roughness, and shadow, in order to create architecture of individuality and character to define and populate the world’s cities. The rapid growth of glassy skylines, which express a disdain for communal urban interaction, can be curbed through a combination of new and old building and material techniques, creating architecture that absorbs history and memory as a reflection of the diverse society it lives in.

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.

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.

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 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.