Archive for the ‘Robert Campbell’ Category

Six critics in search of American Architecture

02/12/2008


L.A. is the most interesting city in the country right now, because of what’s happening with its urbanism, more than its architecture,” states Christopher Hawthorne, who has been the architecture critic of the Los Angeles Times for three years. The city that became synonymous with sprawl has “hit the limits of its growth and is turning back on itself. But it’s not just getting denser; it’s having to redefine itself as a city.”

“We now live in a culture of infinite choices,” says Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic, Blair Kamin. “You go to Home Depot and there are 60 different kinds of floors you can put in your basement, whereas in 1950 you would have had two. A lot of our architecture is like that.”

“Dallas is a very image-conscious place, and it has always been looking to headlines,” says David Dillon, who writes on architecture for The Dallas Morning News.

“Buildings here in Atlanta remain disappointing, with a few exceptions,” states Catherine Fox, the art and architecture critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I don’t see the regional differences in design that were apparent in the past,” states Paul Goldberger when asked what American architecture looks like from his perspective at The New Yorker. “Trends today are national or even global. Sustainability is certainly one. We should be doing more on this, but we’re doing more than we did in the past.”

Robert Campbell, longtime architecture critic for The Boston Globe likes the ideas in Office dA’s Macallen building, a condominium development that opened in 2007 in South Boston.


Photo © John Horner

Read more from each here.

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01/09/2007

Well said.

Robert Campbell today:

From the point of view of urban design, buildings are secondary anyway. A city is made of streets and squares. It’s made of spaces. The buildings are there to be the walls that shape the streets and squares. Hopefully, they’re interesting walls — walls with doors and windows that invite your imagination to come inside, walls with architectural detail that speaks of caring owners and artistic designers. But the spaces, not the buildings, are the public city.

We live in a culture that’s so fascinated by objects that it ignores spaces. Maybe that’s because we’re so media-saturated. On a page or a screen, a building can be an icon. It’s hard to represent the experience of an urban space so clearly.

-in the Boston Globe.

01/09/2007

Well said.

Robert Campbell today:

From the point of view of urban design, buildings are secondary anyway. A city is made of streets and squares. It’s made of spaces. The buildings are there to be the walls that shape the streets and squares. Hopefully, they’re interesting walls — walls with doors and windows that invite your imagination to come inside, walls with architectural detail that speaks of caring owners and artistic designers. But the spaces, not the buildings, are the public city.

We live in a culture that’s so fascinated by objects that it ignores spaces. Maybe that’s because we’re so media-saturated. On a page or a screen, a building can be an icon. It’s hard to represent the experience of an urban space so clearly.

-in the Boston Globe.

01/09/2007

Well said.

Robert Campbell today:

From the point of view of urban design, buildings are secondary anyway. A city is made of streets and squares. It’s made of spaces. The buildings are there to be the walls that shape the streets and squares. Hopefully, they’re interesting walls — walls with doors and windows that invite your imagination to come inside, walls with architectural detail that speaks of caring owners and artistic designers. But the spaces, not the buildings, are the public city.

We live in a culture that’s so fascinated by objects that it ignores spaces. Maybe that’s because we’re so media-saturated. On a page or a screen, a building can be an icon. It’s hard to represent the experience of an urban space so clearly.

-in the Boston Globe.

03/14/2006

A shame what they’re doing to Evanston, isn’t it?


Nice graf by Robert Campbell in the Boston Globe this morning:

I’m not an opponent of skyscrapers. They can be wonderful examples of human aspiration and exuberance. In a city, they’re a sort of natural plant species, sprouting wherever they can get purchase, as opposed to the tame formal parterres of a designed garden. They are welcome exactly up to the point where they begin to choke out other forms of life.


So if you’re interested in why the towers sprouting in Evanston are wrong for that heretofore humanist, leafy, wooden, Queen Anne kind of place -is Oak Park next?- read Robert Campbell’s article in today’s Boston Globe. (via ANN. Queen Ann? :))

Or go back a few years. To “The tall office building artistically considered,”
by Louis Sullivan, 110 years ago.

“Problem: How shall we impart to this sterile pile, this crude, harsh, brutal agglomeration, this stark, staring exclamation of eternal strife, the graciousness of those higher forms of sensibility and culture that rest on the lower and fiercer passions? How shall we proclaim from the dizzy height of this strange, weird, modern housetop the peaceful evangel of sentiment, of beauty, the cult of a higher life?

And part of his answer was:

…when we know and feel that Nature is our friend, not our implacable enemy,-that an afternoon in the country, an hour by the sea, a full open view of one single day, through dawn, high noon, and twilight, will suggest to us so much that is rhythmical, deep, and eternal in the vast art of architecture, something so deep, so true, that all the narrow formalities, hard-and-fast rules, and strangling bonds of the schools cannot stifle it in us,-then it may be proclaimed that we are on the high-road to a natural and satisfying art, an architecture that will soon become a fine art in the true, the best sense of the word, an art that will live because it will be of the people, for the people, and by the people.”

I love this part too,

“…it is lofty. This loftiness is to the artist-nature its thrilling aspect. It is the very open organ-tone in its appeal. It must be in turn the dominant chord in his expression of it, the true excitant of his imagination. It must be tall, every inch of it tall. The force and power of altitude must be in it the glory and pride of exaltation must be in it. It must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation that from bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line,-that it is the new, the unexpected, the eloquent peroration of most bald, most sinister, most forbidding conditions.”

Boy, the more you read Sullivan, the more you see he’s the equal of Whitman, Thoreau, and Emerson. And he could design pretty good buildings.

But I also needed this last graf to aesthetically, make this post, tall, tall, tall. With a top, a middle, and a base. As nature (and Sullivan) would have it. Exalt in its beauty!

So here’s “the base” of this designed blogpost. Complete with photos.
The more you think about it, the more Evanston is erecting bad imitations of Sullivan. To wit (or witless):

L- Carson’s. R- Hilton Garden Inn, Evanston

L- A Sullivan small town bank. R- Research Park, Evanston

Which do you prefer? jk

-Edward