MAS: The Modern Architecture Symposia, 1962–1966: A Critical Edition
edited by Rosemarie Haag Bletter and Joan Ockman, with Nancy Eklund Later
Hitler at Home
by Despina Stratigakos
Among the odder conceits of the Romantic movement was the vogue for rendering new buildings as ruins. Inspired by Piranesi’s moody vedute of noble Roman monuments in picturesque decay, late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century architects such as John Soane had their latest works depicted as they might look millennia in the future—bare …
Frederick Law Olmsted: Writings on Landscape, Culture, and Society
edited by Charles E. Beveridge
The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, Volume IX: The Last Great Projects, 1890–1895
edited by David Schuyler, Gregory Kaliss, and Jeffrey Schlossberg
Besides being an experimental farmer, prolific journalist, crusading publisher, military health care reformer, and insightful social critic, Frederick Law Olmsted was also the greatest advocate and impresario of the public realm this country has ever produced.
In symbolic terms, the completion of the brilliant architectural transformation of Governors Island could not have come at a more opportune moment. During a season when mindless hatred against immigrants runs rampant in our land, the vista from Outlook Hill offers an instructive panorama. With the view comes an implication of how the lives of the twelve million women, men, and children who passed through Ellis Island were immeasurably improved by American citizenship, to say nothing of those of their hundreds of millions of descendants.
The then-and-now approach to urban criticism took root during the nineteenth century, more or less simultaneously with the invention of photography, and has continued up to the present. But a larger question raised by images of Paris, London, and New York architecture across long periods of time is how the cities’ occupants themselves have changed.
In our ecologically conscious times, melding man-made structures with their natural surroundings is considered among the highest goals of architecture. Landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx—who is now the subject of an exhibition at New York’s Jewish Museum—freed horticulture from restrictively conventional European precedents and ushered his discipline into a new age of regional appropriateness on a global scale. But the new exhibition, in its eagerness to advance its subject as a multi-media polymath, is wholly inadequate in conveying his revolutionary accomplishment in garden design.
Some devotees of Richard Wagner have suggested, not wholly in jest, that the best way to enjoy the master’s operas is with one’s eyes closed. For not only have few stage presentations of his monumentally conceived and famously lengthy music dramas ever approached the cosmic sublimity of their underlying compositions, but nowadays it appears mandatory for them to be produced as bizarrely as possible, and despite the composer’s detailed visual instructions to the contrary. All of which has made the history of the composer’s original conceptions—primary evidence of which is on view in the Morgan Library & Museum’s “Wagner’s Ring: Forging an Epic”—feel like something of a rediscovery.
“Arkitektur-Striper: Architecture in Comic-Strip Form,” at Oslo’s National Museum-Architecture proves why a once déclassé graphic genre is able to explain buildings to the general public better than even the most immersive virtual-reality techniques.