Two years ago, Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, writing in Architectural Record, lamented the “shrinking fraternity” of fellow newspaper critics focusing on the built environment. “At American dailies,” he wrote, “there are fewer than a dozen writers covering architecture with any regularity, and perhaps just four or five full-time critics.” The Dallas Morning News, however, is bucking the trend. In April, Mark Lamster, an editor at Architectural Review and contributing editor for Design Observer, will become the newspaper’s architecture critic. Lamster’s position is a partnership with the University of Texas at Arlington; he’ll teach a graduate seminar at the university and work on long-term research projects. He succeeds the late David Dillon, who served as architecture critic at the News for 25 years. He died in 2010. A native New Yorker, Lamster, 43, has written two books: Master of Shadows (Nan A. Talese, 2009), a political biography of the artist Peter Paul Rubens, and Spalding’s World Tour (PublicAffairs, 2006), about a group of all-star baseball players who toured the globe in the late 19th century. He is currently working on a biography of architect Philip Johnson.
Architecture critics at daily newspapers are a dying breed these days. Why is the Dallas Morning News going against the grain?