Monday, March 5, 2012

Why Don’t We Read About Architecture?

from New York Times:

“Buildings are everywhere,” writes Alexandra Lange, “large and small, ugly and beautiful, ambitious and dumb. We walk among them and live inside them but are largely passive dwellers in cities or towers, houses, open spaces, and shops we had no hand in creating.”

Buildings are discussed — indeed aspects of them obsessed upon — but almost exclusively in the context of economics. This building went over budget, that surplus of houses led to the foreclosure crisis, that condo broke the record for residential real estate, etc. To the layman, then, architecture is conveyed as little more than something that costs a lot and causes a lot of grief, rather than something with the potential to enhance our daily lives.

But as the architecture and design critic Lange points out in her new book, “Writing About Architecture,” we need to engage our citizenry in architecture in ways that move from passivity or accusation (i.e., Nimbyism) and to do so we need more … architecture critics.

read the rest here:

Central Park, New York

It was Martin Mull (or Steve Martin or Laurie Anderson — check out the discussion of quote provenance here) who said that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” To ruin the analogy further, writing about architecture is like mangling language, and far too often the experience of reading architectural writing feels about as pleasurable as tooth extraction.

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