Elbephilharmonie by Herzog & De Meuron. Photo © Iwan Baan
I just got another disheartening headline from Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times – about parks in Chicago and Philadelphia – and remembered Alex Gorlin's recent Facebook comment that writing about architecture is disappearing.
Gorlin was responding to Mark Lamster's observation that all the books that come across his desk now are about cities and urbanism. Gorlin attributes this to the dominance of photos quickly consumed on web pages like Archidaily and Dezeen.
Could it be something more serious? I really think architecture is in a deep crisis, within itself and with the public.
It always was.
But then there was the romance of the icon-builders. The Elbephilarmonie is its last gasp.
For a long time, though, in places like Spain, China, Azerbaijan or Dubai, its been an embarrassment. The romance is over. Just last year Helsinki turned down the chance to build another Guggenheim. It seems like a smart move.
On this latest Michael Kimmelman post: It's all very well and PC and much more important than la-de-da old architecture, but….
Mark Lamster's FB entry, March 7, 2017:
"Sign of the times: bookstore shelfspace that once went to architecture now goes to books about cities. i'm glad we're all thinking about urbanism now, but as an ex-architecture book editor i can't say i'm excited about this development, especially as so many of these "city" books are just repackagings of the same faddish conventional wisdom. it seems i get one or more in the mail every week. i find most of them are well intentioned but not particularly well grounded in history and naive. i also wonder if anyone is actually reading them."
Alexander Gorlin comments,. March 8, 2017:
"I think architecture has been reduced or distilled to images online - reading about it has shriveled to nothing - The NY Times and the New Yorker simply have withdrawn from writing about architecture - thank God for Dallas ! And the NYRB."