Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Please sit down class, we have important lessons today

The first lesson is criticism. Suppose you made a critique, a very public critique decades ago. You were set in your opinion and made it. Questions, do you still stand by your criticism? How well does that criticism hold up?

An interesting look at architecture criticism this morning. Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable had some pretty strong opinions of certain NYC properties that underwent some big changes way back in 1979. Huxtable passed away last week at the age of 91 and the New York Times had a look back at some of her articles and proclamations of city facades. Just one delicious critique:

“The result is a pitiful compendium of watered-down mannerisms that are supposed to maintain the integrity of the avenue,” she wrote of a building on Fifth Avenue, “but speak more clearly of the inflation of costs and the impoverishment of crafts in our time.”

“It does not help,” she continued of a building nearby, “that the moldings look like sliced-off Tootsie Rolls.”

These two descriptions came from the same article, “The ‘Pathetic Fallacy,’ or Wishful Thinking at Work,” published in The Times in February 1979. In it, Ms. Huxtable appraised two buildings on Fifth Avenue that were new at the time, 800 Fifth Avenue and 1001 Fifth Avenue, and she found them both to be pretty dreadful.

An addendum to this lesson. Was it Huxtable's criticism or just the look over time that keeps the apartments at 1001 Fifth Ave. from appreciating in value as well as the neighboring properties?

“This sort of thing does not age well,” Peter Pennoyer, of Peter Pennoyer Architects, said.

Apparently, buyers agree. Compared with most of the universe, the prices found at 1001 Fifth Avenue are frighteningly expensive. But compared with its Fifth Avenue neighbors, mostly prewar co-ops on one of the most extravagant stretches of the city, 1001 Fifth has not appreciated especially well.

There is more, so much more on this topic and all you need to do to get your considered learn on is to click here.

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