When a new design is released, it’s the hot topic in the architecture and design world for a few days but soon we’re on to the next design and the next commentary. Criticism of architecture is increasingly temporary and lacking true context. What are the long-term implications of this building or this design? How does this fit in to architectural theory and history?

These days, we’re lucky if architecture critics are bold enough to state a clear opinion. Instead, most dance around the subject, give pros and cons, and consider what good intentions the architects had.

We’ve lost our confidence in criticism and its ability to affect architecture. I may be old-fashioned but I think we can change problematic designs and we can prevent some from happening in the first place. Unfortunately only a few critics embrace their ruling power. This blog will take a closer look at the work of today’s leading critics, analyzing their arguments and processes, and examine their position in the history of architecture criticism.


On Criticism is written by Julia van den Hout. She is currently a Design Criticism MFA candidate at the School of Visual Arts, and editor and co-founder of CLOG.


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