Martin Filler is the author, most recently, of Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume II: From Le Corbusier to Rem Koolhaas, a collection of his writing on architecture in these pages.
 (September 2016)


The Quiet Power of Maya Lin

The Riggio-Lynch Chapel, designed by Maya Lin for the Children’s Defense Fund, Haley Farm, Clinton, Tennessee, 2004; from aya Lin: Topologies

Creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: The Inside Story

by Robert W. Doubek

Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11

by Harriet F. Senie
Lin came of professional age at the conjunction of two immense changes in architectural culture: the increasing acceptance of women in a field that had long restricted them to subsidiary roles, and a renewed sense that what during the modern period had come to be seen primarily as a technical discipline was an art form as well.

Living Happily Ever After

Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1968; photograph by Robert Adams from his 1974 book The New West, to be reissued by Steidl this April. His exhibition ‘Around the House and Other New Work’ is on view at the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, March 10–April 23, with a monograph published by the gallery.

Houses for a New World: Builders and Buyers in American Suburbs, 1945–1965

by Barbara Miller Lane

Detached America: Building Houses in Postwar Suburbia

by James A. Jacobs
The great unanswered question about the suburbanization of mid-twentieth-century America is this: Could it have been done better?

Hanging Out with Hitler

A postcard of the Great Hall of the Berghof, Adolf Hitler’s Alpine retreat near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, circa 1936

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 …

America’s Green Giant

Frederick Law Olmsted; portrait by John Singer Sargent, 1895

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.


A Higher Form of High-Rise

Alexander Gorlin Architects’ Boston Road Supportive Housing (2016), Bronx, New York

The strong social underpinnings of Alexander Gorlin’s new building, Boston Road Supportive Housing, give it a significance beyond mere good looks. A substantial part of his practice is now devoted to pro-bono collaborations with Breaking Ground—a private organization founded (as Common Ground) in 1990 to help alleviate homelessness with housing that reintegrates residents into the community through social service support rather than simply sheltering them.

The Diva of Delusion

Hugh Grant, Lloyd Hutchinson, Meryl Streep, and Simon Helberg in Stephen Frears's Florence Foster Jenkins, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins offers some marvelous set pieces, including Meryl Streep’s hilariously inept version of “The Laughing Song” from Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. Regrettably, the film avoids probing the degree to which money can insulate untalented artists from realizing that they are no good at what they do.

A Miracle in New York Harbor

West 8’s Discovery and Outlook Hills, with the Statue of Liberty in the distance, Governors Island, New York, 2016

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.

Tales of Three Cities

Intersection of rue de Seine and rue de l'Échaudé: circa 1924 by Eugène Atget (left), 1997 by Christopher Rauschenberg (right), from the new paperback edition of Christopher Rauschenberg's

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.