Radical Architecture

Monday, December 01, 2008

Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Ada Louise Huxtable talks about how architecture has changed slowly but radically over the last century. She’s the author of several books, including her most recent, On Architecture.


Ada Louise Huxtable

Comments [8]

Joe from New Haven

I am a 53 year old architect who grew up in New Jersey and received my first introduction to architectural criticism reading ALH in the NYT while in high school. I love the avant-garde and all excellence in architectural design old and new. Having said this I must confess to one architectural (and probably heretical) “affection” that relates to the subject of preservation of NYC interior spaces. I’m sorry but….I really really love the interior of Madison Square Garden!! Although arguably one of the most significant eyesores in NYC history (having replaced the old Penn Station), I can’t set foot in that space without feeling a rush of fond memories. MSG is the Carnegie Hall of ”arena rock”, and for this type of performance is actually quite intimate. Phil Lesh of the G Dead said it had the best acoustics of any arena in the US. The Dead, Led Zep, Stones, The Who, the 1970 Knicks, I saw them all (and more) there. Could it be preserved…and improved. Not "high art" but certainly "historic".

Dec. 02 2008 02:19 PM
kevin from park slope

In twenty years Frank Gehry's buildings will be seen as the kitsch they are, sort of the modern overblown version of Googie architecture. I find it interesting that common comment by critics like Mz Huxtable that The Lever Building and The Seagram Building can't be held responsible for the emulators that followed. So they were good buildings but the building that folowed and now clutter up the city are found wanting. Am I to assume that the esthetic philosophy they embrace is one of novelty and nothing more? And let's not forget that the Lever House had to have a major renovation a few years ago when less that 50 years old. I remember at that time that some architecture experts acknowedged that modern building methods as exemplified by the glass curtain method have a much shorter life span than traditional building methods. That's progress? And there are plenty of other examples such as Peter Eisenman's Wexner Art Center in columbus had to be renovated at major expense when less than 20 years old. The fact of the matter is that modernist architecture was embraced because it was cheap. Period.

Dec. 01 2008 02:16 PM
Moiz from NJ


Can you ask your guest what she thinks about the green architecture movement, and whether it can be accomplished based on the current demand and trends of modern arch?


Dec. 01 2008 01:57 PM
Julian from Manhattan

What Ms. Huxtable said about 2 Columbus Circle is nonsense. That was a unique building, which has now been suitably homogenized to match its neighbor across the circle. To say that the facade was not salvageable is ridiculous, it's more accurate to say that the powers that be didn't want to save it.

Dec. 01 2008 01:56 PM
antonio from park slope

bring back the original penn station...
what a loss!

Dec. 01 2008 01:50 PM
Bruce B from NYC

There are so many buildings in The City I love but my very favorite (and I walk past it each day) is the Alwyn Court (where the restaurant Petrossians is on the ground floor). 58th St. -that facade knocks me out.

Dec. 01 2008 01:47 PM
Connie from NJ

I also dislike the new MOMA, intensely. All the tranquility is gone. It feels claustrophobic to me.

Dec. 01 2008 01:47 PM
tom from nyc

What about our interiors that are being lost so rapidly right now in the city. All along Wall and Broad Streets, Lady's Mile, The Stanhope, THE PLAZA HOTEL! gutted. An empty shell refitted with contemporary interiors. Gone! Gone the old hardwood trim and deep window wells, the ironwork and plasterwork. Gone Gone Gone!

Dec. 01 2008 01:46 PM

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