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. (March 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

New York’s Vast Flop

Power at Ground Zero: Politics, Money, and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan

by Lynne B. Sagalyn

One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building

by Judith Dupré
The transformation of the World Trade Center site was hampered to a shameful degree by the intransigent self-interest of both individuals and institutions. Although all major construction schemes face tremendous problems, the rebuilding encapsulates everything that is wrong with urban development in a period when, as in so many other aspects of our public life, the good of the many is sacrificed to the gain of the few.

The Brutal Dreams That Came True

Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings Around the World

by Christopher Beanland

Brutalism Resurgent

edited by Julia Gatley and Stuart King
Literature that takes a wistful backward glance at the outmoded manners and mores of the previous forty or fifty years has a direct parallel in architecture. Time and again we have seen reawakened interest in the disdained buildings of two generations earlier, a span still within living memory but not quite yet history.

NYR DAILY

The Puzzle of Irving Penn

Irving Penn: Woman in Chicken Hat (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1949

“I’m a surprisingly limited photographer,” Penn insisted to me, “and I’ve learned not to go beyond my capacity. I’ve tried a few times to depart from what I know I can do, and I’ve failed.” Yet it is difficult to deny that Penn was the supreme studio photographer of the twentieth century. His artistry both emerged from and depended on his very specific, highly aestheticized commercial work.

The Best Kind of Princess

Allan Ramsay: Queen Charlotte with her Two Eldest Sons, 1764-1769

The three German Georgian graces who are the focus of the exhibition “Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte and the Shaping of the Modern World” brought far more to their adopted country than just political stability. They were all exceptionally well educated, intellectually curious, and aesthetically attuned, even by the standards of the day usually reserved for men. This was true especially when it came to the Enlightenment ideas and principles being advanced at the time.

Building Dreams and Nightmares

Although America long ago had a Virginia architect as president—Thomas Jefferson—never until this year had someone reached its highest office from the considerably less elevated realms of New York real-estate development, Atlantic City casinos, and TV reality shows. Grotesque though the rise of Donald Trump has seemed to many, his political ascendance has struck those of us who love architecture as a particularly personal affront, given our familiarity with his forty-year record as the foremost architectural schlockmeister and urban design vulgarian of his generation.

NYR CALENDAR