The Year in Architecture
January 05, 2009
To accurately assess trends in architecture and urbanism one needs a time horizon longer than 365 days. Just to design a building often takes longer than that. Even so, 2008 may come to be seen as a watershed year for contemporary architecture. The electrifying campaign for the U.S. presidency, the sputtering housing market and the global economy's free fall, the ever-more chilling and urgent need to slow the pace of global warming: these developments and more awakened architects to the realization that they've more important things to design than monolithic, high-end goodie bags.
October 22, 2008
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family By Annette Gordon-Reed (W.W. Norton, 756 pp., $35) Although Thomas Jefferson spoke out strongly against slavery, he was always pessimistic about actually abolishing the institution.
A Man, A Plan, Afghanistan
September 24, 2008
If Obama really wants to smite Al Qaeda, this is what he should do.
February 13, 2008
Living Together, Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-Christian Relations in the Middle Ages By Jonathan Elukin (Princeton University Press, 193 pp., $24.95) ALL HISTORIES have their sorrows,but those of Jewish history are more studied than most. The chronicles of Israel’s sufferings—the groaning under Pharaoh in Exodus, the Lamentations over lost Jerusalem, Isaiah’s consolations for her captivity—have helped the countless faithful of numerous religions explain God’s puzzling tendency to afflict his followers on earth.
Books: The Whole Horror
September 10, 2007
The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 By Saul Friedlander (HarperCollins, 870 pp., $39.95) With the publication of The Years of Extermination, Saul Friedlander adds to his already well-established reputation as one of the world's pre-eminent historians of the Holocaust and of its place in modern European, German, and Jewish history.
October 29, 2006
Mark Warner and I had each had a couple of cocktails. They say up in the air one drink feels like two, and so things were, as Warner would later remind me the day he announced he wasn’t running for president, “a little foggy.” We were aboard a campaign donor’s jet, flying back to Virginia after two intense days of New Hampshire politics. Democrats who show up to listen to presidential hopefuls stump in the dead of August two years before the election are a tough crowd.
Sarah Williams Goldhagen on Architecture: Extra-Large
July 31, 2006
A FRIEND RECENTLY TOLD me that his most important pedagogical tool as an architect is this maxim: the architect's primary ethical responsibility is to be the guardian of the public realm, in contrast to the myriad others who currently configure our built landscape— clients, politicians, contractors, developers, and NIMBY-driven "community action" committees.
June 19, 2006
This article was adapted from The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup. There have been revolutions to create socialism, democracy, and authoritarian dictatorship. But humankind has yet to fight a revolution to guarantee one of the most vital elements--if not the most vital element--of the good life. That is, a winning soccer team. If we were to take up arms for this reason, what kind of government would we want to install? Political theory, for all its talk about equality and virtue, has strangely evaded this question.
Without a Doubt
April 03, 2006
CATHOLIC MATTERS: CONFUSION, CONTROVERSY, AND THE SPLENDOR OF TRUTH By Richard John Neuhaus (Basic Books, 272 pp., $25) Liberal modernity exasperates traditional religion. It fosters a pluralism that denies any one faith the power to organize the whole of social life. It teaches that public authorities must submit to the consent of those over whom they aspire to rule, thereby undermining the legitimacy of all forms of absolutism. It employs the systematic skepticism of the scientific method to settle important questions of public policy.
From the Stacks: Santiago Calatrava's Overrated Architecture
January 22, 2006
Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has come under a storm of criticism, most recently in yesterday's New York Times, for ambitious projects that come in wildly over-budget and in need of repairs.