Urban Fold

It Seemed Like a Good Idea

Witold Rybczynski takes a look at architecture that has fared poorly with time.

Rybczynski writes, "'A work of art, architecture, whatever it is, needs time to finally make a judgement as to whether it's right or not,' says I.M. Pei in First Person Singular (1997), Peter Rosen's fine documentary about the architect. It is a cruel irony that after 30 years, what many consider Pei's greatest work, the East Building (right) of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., has gone seriously wrong."

Architects such as I.M. Pei, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry have all produced celebrated buildings that, years or sometimes only months after completion, have sprouted major structural and functional problems. This article examines some of the more famous instances of famous buildings with infamous problems.

Thanks to Franny Ritchie

Full Story: Nice Try:The East Building, Avery Fisher Hall, Fallingwater, and other ambitious architectural failures.



Sigh, Poor Denver...

One would have thought we Denverites would have learned to eschew starchitectural follies when Philip Johnson gave us all 'The Finger', er, that is, the Wells Fargo Center back in the early '80s...


Firmness, commodity, and delight

If architecture schools where more like a trade school rather than a religious seminary, they might produce architects that designed buildings to be more functional and at the same time more lovable (re: sustainable). As it stands, schools glorify the hero architect above the general population, so inevitably the focus is on mystifying buildings no one appreciates rather than buildings that are built to last.

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Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

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