Reasons to Celebrate the Death of the Architecture Critic

As architecture and design observers bemoan what recent job moves mean for the future of mainstream architectural criticism, Vanessa Quirk sees reason to be optimistic.
April 10, 2012, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Although the recently announced departure of Paul Goldberger from The New Yorker and the elevation of Michael Kimmelman, a reporter with no architectural training, to the most visible architectural criticism post in the country have some feeling blue, Quirk argues that, "criticism hasn't died the way you think. It's just been changed beyond recognition. And frankly, for the better."

Noting a general shift in the profession towards serving "a higher moral purpose," Quirk calls for a similar shift in focus for criticism. "It means moving beyond the description of the building as 'object' and delving into its context; it means talking to the people who live down the block; discovering how the average man perceives it; determining the extent to which it serves humanity."

And she celebrates the "transformation" signaled by Kimmelman's creation of "a socially-oriented oeuvre that not only recognizes Architecture's lofty goals, but harks back to old-school Huxtable: it defends the rights of the city-goer."

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Published on Friday, April 6, 2012 in ArchDaily
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