Why is architectural criticism in trouble?

Thomas Fisher thinks that architectural criticism needs a shakeup. With major American newspapers cutting staff down — The New York Times didn’t replace their old architecture writer — there’s little room for the art form to grow. 

“What we need is criticism that treats renderings and buildings as different,” she says. “We need criticism that connects us to a building’s references, emotions and texture, not only its news value. We need criticism moored to place, and to the history of that place. … 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.” 

Fisher covers a lot of ground in the article. According to him the field is in decline for several reasons. As architectural criticism goes global, writers are asked to write about projects without a deep context for where they’re coming from historically and politically. They favour writing about immediate features. These trends, of diminished column space and the de-emphasis of the art form’s history, are things that also deeply affects writing about videogames. At least with videogame criticism these problems come with being a new medium. Hopefully it’s not too late for architecture. 

Filipe Salgado

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