Well, it took me about six month to work up to this, but here goes: If the death of the architecture critic is nigh, we really need better ones occupying the top spots. My article was written before the reviews were out on the new American Embassy in London, but many of my Ouroussoff criticisms hold here, particularly his argument that different architects on his short list could have solved the problem.
Architecture criticism cannot simply be about what’s new because that leads precisely to the globe-trotting, star-gazing, architecture-as-sculpture approach we have now. What we need is criticism that treats renderings and buildings as different, since users are the ultimate critics. We need criticism that connects us to a building’s references, emotions and textures, not only its news value. We need criticism moored to place, and to the history of that place, so that the ways forward multiply (and don’t only involve building something curvy). Ouroussoff is not good enough because he reinforces the worst trends in architectural culture, never explains where he comes from and never explores the many different places we might go.
Please read the rest at Design Observer.