• We're a fun, friendly, and diverse group of planners, placemakers, students, and other folks who found their people here. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! Use your email address, or register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Architect Magazine: Criticism in Crisis

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,175
Points
51
Criticism in Crisis Eva Hagberg Fisher on the recurring refrain of what happened to all the good architecture writing.

From the article:

So I moved to New York to write about architecture, and here’s the totally wild thing about that: it was a viable career. I started writing for the Architect’s Newspaper, which was just launching. And then Surface. And then Wallpaper*. And then The New York Times House & Home section, whose editor threw a Currents (remember Currents?!) my way almost every week. I was always on deadline. Always reporting. Always going to some event with some architect and then meeting another architect. Stories flowed. People seemed to want to read them.

...

So, aside from the glossies that still have budgets, and which must satisfy editorial needs that seem to revolve increasingly around fame, what happened to all the architecture writing?

...

Trying to figure this all out, it occurred to me, a person who basically stayed in the library for eight years at Berkeley, that I left New York when architecture was a thing and when I returned, all anybody wants to talk about is … urbanism.

...

I would argue that one reason is that regular urbanism is easy,” my friend and fellow journalist Greg Lindsay tells me. “It’s writing about bike lanes and pop up parks and a lot of the surface level shit.” I’ve called him, the first urbanist I knew (Greg was into cities long before it was cool), to see if my perception—that we’ve traded one field for another—is right. Another reason why urbanism is hot? “You can do it with relatively inexperienced writers,” he says. Which makes a lot of sense. It’s not that urbanism as a subject is inherently easier to write about, but that there are more angles of attack. Bike lanes! Scooters! Traffic! The subway!
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,142
Points
32
Yep, it's all surface urbanism. Let's talk about cool bike lanes and dockless scooters. Let's not talk about the eminent domain, funding problems, scooter litter, and other considerations to either make these things actually happen or the results of having these things around.
 

WinningDayz

Member
Messages
21
Points
2
Yep, it's all surface urbanism. Let's talk about cool bike lanes and dockless scooters. Let's not talk about the eminent domain, funding problems, scooter litter, and other considerations to either make these things actually happen or the results of having these things around.
Strong Towns does some of this, but I it's difficult to talk about it on a general level since most cities face different issues with different causes. At the same time, we're starting to see more pop-up journalism organizations with a focus on local urbanism. Again though, the general public probably doesn't care about scooter litter when they're just starting to learn about scooters period. A lot of this stuff is cliché to us planners, but it's all new for a lot of people.

Criticism in Crisis Eva Hagberg Fisher on the recurring refrain of what happened to all the good architecture writing.

From the article:

...

Trying to figure this all out, it occurred to me, a person who basically stayed in the library for eight years at Berkeley, that I left New York when architecture was a thing and when I returned, all anybody wants to talk about is … urbanism.

...
!
I question whether the new focus on urbanism is a cause for the decline in architecture writing, but I think either way, the shift is a positive thing since the public can actually engage in urbanism.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dan

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,142
Points
32
I'm no expert, but I would think the decline in architecture writing would be from a lack of a movement. Maybe there is one, I just don't read a lot of architectural stuff. That lack of writing thing. What I'm saying is that the past had modernism, post modern, brutalist, deconstructionist, and other styles or movements to write about. Today the new building in downtown Reno is just another building. Nothing to see here. I also think the movement may have actually gone to a more urbanist level exploring how architecture or more specifically site design affects the area. How people interact with it and how it makes a place better.
 

mercdude

Cyburbian
Messages
235
Points
7
Actually, the decline in architectural writing/movement/etc. mostly stems from just a glut of out-of-work/disillusioned architectural designers (thanks Great Recession!). Also, realistically architects (all types) are luxury items, almost no one uses Architects anymore except public and commercial institutions. Homes are mass-produced by developers with little actual 'design' and the last big architectural movement was new (old) urbanism that didn't really do a great job handling site design issues as well as other movements like landscape architecture or landscape urbanism or sustainable communities, etc. But even then it got some traction until the recession side-lined every interesting model of handling development pressure sustainably. So where did all that momentum go? Everyone either retired, got fired, or changed professions to stay employed for the last decade. The survivors are just now starting to see light at the end of the tunnel (i.e. they can hire help). Such is life as an expendable luxury profession.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dan
Top