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Critique


02.24.14: Jonathan Massey

“The Spectacle of Growth”
On Places, Jonathan Massey reviews the 10th São Paulo Architecture Biennial, considering architectural and artistic responses to the wave of economic and urban development reshaping Brazil.
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01.13.14: Belmont Freeman

"The moment for something to happen"
On Places, Belmont Freeman reviews The Making of an Avant-Garde, Diana Agrest's new documentary on the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, from its 1970s heyday to its brilliant legacy.
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09.09.13: Mark Hough

Champion Trees and Urban Forests
On Places, Mark Hough reviews The Man Who Planted Trees, and explores its bold claim: that planting trees can save the planet.
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07.30.13: Nancy Levinson

Beyond the Pritzker: Women, Architecture, and the Politics of Family Leave
On Places, Nancy Levinson surveys the recent conversation on women in architecture, and argues that it's time to translate the widespread awareness of persistent inequality into an ongoing campaign with concrete goals.
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06.03.13: Despina Stratigakos

Unforgetting Women Architects: From the Pritzker to Wikipedia
On Places, Despina Stratigakos looks at the "forgetting" of women architects, from traditional monographs to the Pritzker Prize to Wikipedia — and proposes a strategy for writing women back into history.
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05.06.13: David Heymann

Please Save Modernism from the Modern
On Places, David Heymann makes the case for why the Folk Art Museum is a great modernist building — and why the Museum of Modern Art should reverse its decision to tear it down.
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04.23.13: Jerry Herron

Motor City Breakdown
On Places, Jerry Herron looks at the troubled portrait of Detroit — and its spectacular decline — in recent books and films.
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03.19.13: Mark Feldman

Illuminating the Petrochemical Landscape
On Places, Mark Feldman reviews collaborative projects that blend photography with environmental activism, including Petrochemical America and Arctic Voices.
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02.28.13: Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer

Client and Architect
On Places, a republication of Mariana Van Rensselaer's 1890 essay on the architect and the client, and the need for the "reciprocal loyalty from which alone can grow a truly national art."
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01.21.13: Nancy Levinson

After the Storm: Climate Change and Public Works
On Places, Nancy Levinson argues that the accelerating crisis of climate change suggests a newly intensified political agenda for design activism.
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11.08.12: Josh Wallaert

State of the Commons
On Places, Josh Wallaert reviews the Wiki Loves Monuments USA photography contest — and highlights the increasing privatization of our infrastructure of public information.
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07.23.12: William L. Fox

On the Road Home
On Places, William Fox reviews The Prehistory of Home, by anthropologist Jerry Moore — and explores what it means to be home.
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06.25.12: Reinhold Martin, Raphael Sperry, Amit C. Price Patel, Liz Ogbu & Tom Angotti

The Housing Question
On Places, a debate inspired by the MoMA exhibition Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, organized by the Buell Center and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility.
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06.18.12: Ian Baldwin

Rolling to a Stop
On Places, Ian Baldwin reviews ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking and Reinventing the Automobile.
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02.02.12: Mitchell Schwarzer

Building After Auschwitz
On Places, Mitchell Schwarzer reviews Building After Auschwitz, the new book by historian Gabriel Rosenfeld that asks a thorny question: Is there a Jewish architecture?
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12.08.11: Reinhold Martin

Occupy: The Day After
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores how Occupy Wall Street might challenge the structural inequities of finance capitalism, and how architects and urbanists can contribute to the next phase of the movement
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11.07.11: Reinhold Martin

Occupy: What Architecture Can Do
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores the role of architecture in the Occupy Wall Street movement — and in the larger challenges of constructing a better and more equitable society.
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10.03.11: Alexandra Lange & Mark Lamster

Lunch with the Critics: Supertall
On Places, Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster debate the merits of Supertall!, the latest exhibition at New York City's Skycraper Museum.
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06.02.11: Alexandra Lange & Mark Lamster

Lunch with the Critics: Cronocaos
On Places, Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange analyze "Cronocaos," the new exhibition on preservation at the New Museum in New York, curated by OMA/Rem Koolhaas.
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05.19.11: Ian Baldwin

The Architecture of Harry Weese
On Places, Ian Baldwin reviews The Architecture of Harry Weese, and finds an overlooked modernist whose work was "highly original and often stunning."
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05.16.11: Belmont Freeman

Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment
On Places, Belmont Freeman reviews Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment, and finds much to admire in a long career that has lately been overlooked.
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05.03.11: Adam Yarinsky

Donald Judd and the Blooming of Reality
On Places, architect Adam Yarinsky reviews Donald Judd, by David Raskin, and Chinati: The Vision of Donald Judd, by Marianne Stockebrand, et al.
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04.22.11: Alexandra Lange

The Anti-Monograph
On Places, Alexandra Lange argues that the new monograph from Studio Gang is a version of the anti-monograph: an effort to feed the star machinery and resist it at the same time.
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04.07.11: Ray Gastil

In Motion: The Experience of Travel
On Places, Ray Gastil reviews In Motion: The Experience of Travel, the latest book by Tony Hiss.
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01.20.11: Sandy Isenstadt

American Glamour
On Places, Sandy Isenstadt reviews Alice Friedman's American Glamour and the Evolution of Modern Architecture.
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12.20.10: Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange

Lunch with the Critics: Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University
For this installment of Lunch with the Critics, Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange visit the Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University.
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10.12.10: Quilian Riano

Relearning the Social: Architecture and Change
On Places, architect Quilian Riano reviews the Museum of Modern Art's new exhibition Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement.
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10.07.10: Mimi Zeiger

Street Cred
On Places, Mimi Zeiger reviews Street Value, the new book about Downtown Brooklyn and the dynamic interplay of shopping and planning, of politics and race and class.
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08.30.10: Alexandra Lange & Mark Lamster

Lunch with the Critics: Park51 & 15 Penn
"Lunch with the Critics," a new feature on Design Observer: Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange travel to midtown to visit the Hotel Pennsylvania, across from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.
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08.27.10: Alexandra Lange

What's Cooking in Kitchen Design?
The modern American kitchen has transformed from the servant's domain to the social epicenter of the home.
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07.27.10: William L. Fox

Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture
Can buildings makes us happy? On Places, William L. Fox explores this possibility in his review of Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture, by Leon van Schaik.
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07.26.10: Alexandra Lange & Mark Lamster

Lunch with the Critics: The New Lincoln Center
"Lunch with the Critics," a new feature on Design Observer, begins with Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster's visit to the recently revamped Lincoln Center.
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07.22.10: Lawrence Vale

Shanghai's Avenue Queue
On Places, MIT urban historian Lawrence Vale reports on the Shanghai Expo, from the national pavilions to the media restrictions to the record-breaking queues.
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07.19.10: Cassim Shepard

Postopolis: Urban Portraiture
On Places, Cassim Shepard describes five days of lively communal conversation about art, design, music, architecture and urbanism at the recent Postópolis!DF in Mexico.
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05.17.10: Beth Weinstein

Self-Fab House
Architect Beth Weinstein reviews Self-Fab House, a compilation of the results of a competition sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.
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05.13.10: Belmont Freeman

Havana: Nostalgia Is a Dangerous Business
On Places, New York architect Belmont Freeman reviews the recent literature on Havana architecture and urbanism, including Havana Revisited: An Architectural Heritage.
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05.10.10: Timothy Beatley

Green Metropolis
On Places, urban planning professor Timothy Beatley, author of Green Urbanism, reviews Green Metropolis, by David Owen, which argues that Manhattan is the greenest city in the U.S.
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05.07.10: Alexandra Lange

Saccharine Design
As curator and subject in his own exhibition, “Marcel Wanders: Daydreams at the Philadelphia,” the designer manages to diminish his appeal.
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04.08.10: Mimi Zeiger

Two Feet High and Rising: On Optimism, Speculation and Oysters
On Places, Mimi Zeiger reviews MoMA's ambitious new architecture and urban design show, Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront, which explores how New York Harbor might be adapted in the face of rising sea levels.
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03.15.10: Robert Taylor

Words and Pictures
On Places, architect Robert Taylor reviews Fumihiko Maki's collected essays and Shigeru Ban's latest monograph.
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03.06.10: Nancy Levinson

Critical Beats
On Places, Nancy Levinson argues that the fundamental dilemma of architecture criticism is the rise of the global beat — dateline: placeless.
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03.01.10: Brian Rosa

Frank Gohlke: Thoughts on Landscape
On Places, Brian Rosa reviews Frank Gohlke's Thoughts on Landscape, a volume of collected writings which shows that this leading American photographer is as eloquent with words as with images.
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03.01.10: Ian Baldwin

Reading Rudolph
On Places, architect Ian Baldwin reviews Paul Rudolph: Writings on Architecture, and makes a compelling case for looking anew at several important but neglected projects.
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01.25.10: Ian Baldwin

Architect, Park Thyself
The auto-urban relationship, writes Ian Baldwin, is "fumbling, overheated, unsatisfying for both parties." Baldwin reviews House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage, currently on exhibit at the National Building Museum, and The Architecture of Parking, by Simon Henley.
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01.18.10: Nancy Levinson

The Public Works
Why isn't the Great Recession inspiring a new New Deal? The essential dilemma, argues Places editor Nancy Levinson, is that we no longer believe in public sector solutions — or even in the public itself.
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01.14.10: Beth Weinstein

The City's End
Architect Beth Weinstein reviews The City's End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears and Premonitions of New York's Destruction, by architectural historian Max Page — just in time for the season premiere of 24, which finds Jack Bauer and his fellow counter-terrorists relocated to NYC.
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11.15.09: Mimi Zeiger

Our Design Decade
Mimi Zeiger reviews Design USA, which opened last month at the Cooper-Hewitt, marking ten years of the National Design Awards program.
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11.11.09: Gavin Browning

it is what it is
Gavin Browning reviews it is what is is, the 1,000-page monograph of the work of the New York-based multidisciplinary design firm 2x4.
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10.20.09: William L. Fox

Las Vegas
Writer and critic William L. Fox reviews Las Vegas, by Nicole Huber and Ralph Stern, probing the improbable success of the gambling-entertainment world-city constructed in the midst of the Mojave.
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10.13.09: Dorothy Ball

Bienville's Dilemma
New Orleans-based writer Dorothy Ball reviews Richard Campanella's Bienville's Dilemma, a panoramic study of the history and geography of New Orleans that spans from the early 16th century to Hurricane Katrina and its troubled aftermath.
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10.08.09: Ian Baldwin

Mind the Map
The new map of the London Underground tried to de-clutter the diagram by removing the River Thames; architect Ian Baldwin analyzes the error.
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09.24.09: Barbara Penner

Niagara: It Has It All
Architectural historian Barbara Penner reviews Inventing Niagara, by Ginger Strand, drawing out the contradictory mix of reverence and exploitation inspired by the famous falls.
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09.18.09: Ian Baldwin

The Past Is Promenade: On the High Line
Architect Ian Baldwin contemplates the High Line and sees in New York's newest park a rare and valuable form of urban place: a slow corridor.
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09.16.09: Sandy Isenstadt

Crystal and Arabesque
Sandy Isenstadt reviews Jonathan Massey's Crystal and Arabesque, which retrieves the life and work of the long-neglected early 20th-century architect Claude Bragdon.
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09.12.09: Chris Reed

The Infrastructural City
Los Angeles depends upon vast infrastructural systems that are breathtakingly powerful, yet vulnerable to disruption, even disaster. Landscape architect Chris Reed reviews The Infrastructural City.
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09.08.09: Mark Klett

Placing Memory
Photographer Mark Klett reviews Placing Memory, which juxtaposes contemporary color photos of abandoned Japanese-American internment camps, by photographer Todd Stewart, with government-commissioned period images, to haunting effect.
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10.15.08: Donlyn Lyndon

The New U.S. Embassy in Berlin
In creating a new U.S. embassy in Berlin, architectural design is just one of the challenges.
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04.16.08: Alexandra Lange

Will Miss Brooklyn Bow Out?
The redevelopment of the Atlantic Yards was based on a false assumption of Brooklyn's inferiority complex.
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05.18.03: Alexandra Lange

When Buildings Became Pin-Ups
Though the 80 images on display are a fraction of the 500,000 photographs acquired by the Chicago Historical Society, "Building Images" offers a rare opportunity to see the work of America's first great architectural-photography firm.
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