Last fall, Michael Kimmelman, the longtime chief art critic of the New York Times, became the architecture critic at the paper and immediately set a new agenda. Rather than write about the latest starchitect building, he began with a piece on a mixed-income housing project in the Bronx by Grimshaw Architects and Dattner Architects called Via Verde, and followed up with articles that focused largely on social architecture and the public realm. Trained as a pianist, he grew up in New York’s Greenwich Village and studied for a doctorate in art history at Harvard before pursuing journalism. Previously he’d written occasionally about architecture for the New York Times Magazine and the New York Review of Books. He talked to Record’s editor in chief Cathleen McGuigan about his ideas from what is the most visible perch in architectural criticism.
Cathleen McGuigan: Before you came back to New York to write about architecture, you spent several years writing from Europe.