The Judicious Eye: Architecture Against the Other Arts

Thomas Crow writes:

Joseph Rykwert is unhappy about the current condition of architecture, the principal subject of his long career as a historian. In the conclusion to The Judicious Eye, he complains that ‘new imaging techniques made possible by information technology have allowed architects to shape their buildings without reference to the unavoidable orthogonalities of building or the routine repetition of windows, columns, beams and suchlike.’ The result, as Rykwert sees it, is the proliferation of the ‘Emirate style’ (after the frenetic commissioning of celebrity architects in the Gulf States), in which ‘buildings assume an ambivalent relation to advertising since their entire bulk is in fact a trademark.’

(LRB 23 October 2008)