Tributes to an Iconoclast

Following the death of pioneering architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, those writers who've followed the trail that she blazed have offered their eloquent appreciations for her impact.

We've collected snippets from a number of the excellent remembrances of the influential, and fearless, critic, who passed away earlier this weeh:

From Paul Goldberger, writing in Vanity Fair, who followed her at The Times:

"Huxtable, who died on Monday at the age of 91, spent less than two full decades at the Times, but she effectively invented a modern profession and set a tone of elegance, clarity, and strength. She made architecture a part of the cultural discourse....She never sought utopia—she was too smart for that—but she never gave up believing that there was integrity, nobleness even, to the pursuit of architecture, and that good design could make the world better."

From Michael Kimmelman, current architecture critic for The New York Times:

"Patrician, old-school, tough but softhearted, she never wrote as if she owed anything to anyone except her readers, treating her beat as a mix of aesthetics and public policy, art and advocacy, technology and politics, because to write about architecture as anything less would be to shortchange its complexity and significance....Like many others who grew up reading her, I gained a sense of the central role of architecture and urbanism in civic life and culture from the urgency of her writing, which came down to meditations on how we live and what kind of legacy we wish to leave."

From Alexandra Lange, writing in Observatory:

"To kick the tires of a building you have to be present at its creation and its completion. You have to let yourself be small beside it, walk around it, walk up the steps, pick (delicately) at the the joints, run your fingers along the handrail, push open the door. You have to let yourself stand back, across the street, across the highway, across the waterfront, and assess. And then you have to go home and write exactly what you think, in simple language, marking a path through history, politics, aesthetics and ethics that anyone can follow. I love her writing — and I will get to some choice quotes — but the first lesson I teach is that attitude. Architecture is for us, the public, and it is going to get scuffed."

Full Story: Like Edith Wharton in Chanel, but Tough: Remembering Ada Louise Huxtable


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