Design matters, whether in Gotham or small-town America. The view from the Promenade near my longtime home in Brooklyn Heights may be New York’s finest. The city and its waterfront snap into perspective from across the river. Manhattan’s proud towers cluster, then crash toward the water’s edge, their juncture fragmented into a splayed collar of docks and piers, cafés, and bubble-topped tennis courts. From this distance, the city looms whole and iconic, the culmination of heroic materialism. The architecture takes your breath away. Just at my feet, the riverfront is changing, morphing before our eyes from a gritty, on-the-waterfront industrial
Following a Decade of Highs and Lows, America’s Architects Are Asking, “What Now?” Whoa. Wait a minute. That’s not an Architectural Record cover. At least not one I’m familiar with. What’s a person doing there? Where’s the building? Where’s the beef? If you’re confused, thinking that you might be inhabiting a parallel universe, calm down — you’re right. Except for the blurred image of passersby, RECORD has not featured a living soul, except for the portrait shot of the AIA Gold Medalist we’ve run every year since 1999, when Frank Gehry took center stage with a rock-star, black-and-white poster moment.
December 2010 A new work on a past master stuns with its beauty and highlights an important transitional practice for a new generation's scrutiny. The texture of the stonework almost jumps off the page. Such is the quality of the photography and reproduction that the sensuous features of building materials appear tactile, almost hyperrealistic, when rendered in large-scale black-and-white prints. Page after page we encounter the architecture at varying scales: Detailed images of interlaced cast-iron or terra-cotta ornament pull the viewer in, while artful shots of surrounding neighborhoods, with real people, automobiles, and sunlight, from the 1950s and 1960s place
August 2010 China confounds our Western guilt with its ambitious Expo 2010. How could any building be higher? How could any development be larger? Have we gone as far as we can go? We seem to have reached a limit this year with the completion of the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, U.A.E. — featured in this issue — which scrapes the heavens at 828 meters (2,717 feet). While beautifully realized, it calls into question the basic programmatic decisions of the forces that conceived it. The Burj culminates an era of financial expansion worldwide, yet opened, ironically, in the aftermath of
July 2010 David Dillon exemplified why good criticism is local. David Dillon, architecture critic for The Dallas Morning News for 25 years and longtime contributing editor of this publication, died unexpectedly on June 3. His passing marked a sea change for many of us in architectural journalism, forcing us to reflect on the current state of the craft and how it has inalterably shifted with the rise of the blogosphere. Dillon — who graduated from Boston College and held a master’s in literature and a Ph.D. in art history from Harvard — forged a deep relationship with his adopted subject,
June 2010 The National Building Museum speaks for the building arts. As Jim Pate, the executive director of New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, took center stage to accept an award, he articulated a serious dilemma his city had faced. New Orleans’s musical heritage, an ineffable, irreplaceable treasure he described as the city’s soul, resided in the hands of a few people — the long-time musicians who had lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In a city besieged with so many problems following the storm, a group of contemporary musicians and friends devised a plan: Providing safe, affordable