Sunday, March 2, 2008

Architectural Criticism

This is an awesome article, which holds tremendous relevancy in today's world of post-modern "cities" - it seems that we are so out of touch, so insular in our approach to the built and experienced environment, by focusing on individual projects we are in many ways losing scope of what really matters.

No surprise that many people are heralding the landscape architect as someone who really holds influence - as isn't that what we are making? Cities exist somewhere, in a landscape, an environment; the spaghetti-noodle twist of freeway ramps mixed with parks, farms, and tracts of houses, interspersed with pockets of urbanism; downtowns, shopping malls, and main streets, all interwoven together that is experienced not as separate and discreet moments, but as a continuous terrain in which we move and dwell.

Thus, criticize we must - and nothing should be safe from our sights. Of course, there is nothing wrong with delving into the deeper philosophical and academic insights in the better projects that are built - and indeed, they offer a sort of 'grand-prix' of the architectural world - but recognition that the other dreck of the modern city must also come under scrutiny. Thankfully, organizations like Portland's design review commission and the Congress of the New Urbanism exist, albeit with varying degrees of success.

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