Sunday, April 30, 2006

Pet Peeves . . .

1. Using the word "architect" incorrectly. I am watching the Cavs-Wizards, Game 4. Michael Reghi, the play-by-play local television guy, just said this: "You gotta love the way Danny Ferry (Cavs GM) has been architecting this team." I did not realize that "architect" is a verb.

2. One-paper town architectural crticism. Here in town, we have only one paper, The Plain Dealer, and consequently, there is only one architecture/design/art critic. Steven Litt does an acceptable job covering all things architectural in town, but the crticism and analysis can be wishy-washy, since there exists no intellectual sparring partner at a competing newspaper.

Litt can write aggravatingly down the middle of the street, offering some praise, some criticism, and not really take a strong, reasoned postition. If you are a critic and love New Urbanism, back that position. If you think that the Dutch are the saviors of American urban design (they are not, by the way), make a case and stand for it. If you think that Bob Venturi and Charles Moore have been treated inhumanely, like post-modern road-kill, write extensively about 1970's mannerism and defend the ideas and how they inform local architectural design.

Taking a position and sparking a passionate and informed dialogue should be the role of the critic, not that of a tastemaker or fashion stylist. Futhering a position that is not necessarily popular is not a bad thing--it could rattle the dusty cages of tired thinking that plague this city.

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