Vernacular Urbanism?

     Vernacular, in an academic or art-speak context, is a word worthy of healthy suspicion. It is used to designate populist styles, to suggest a common language that bubbles up from below rather than a discourse dictated from on high. It’s generally freighted with ideas about authenticity: vernacular styles are … Continue Reading Vernacular Urbanism?

Fit for a Tsar

    When I visited St. Petersburg last May, the Mariinsky 2 was still a work zone. Now it’s open. The new building is undistinguished and even quite ugly from the outside. I haven’t seen the inside yet. But I did write about the controversy over its site, cost and design … Continue Reading Fit for a Tsar

Liking the Bubble

An article by Kriston Capps in the City Paper sets up the next few months as critical for the fate of the Bloomberg Bubble, the proposed temporary inflatable event space for the Hirshhorn. I like the bubble, and explain why on the Post Style  Blog.

Eisenhower Update

There’s yet more action. The desire of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to see models and meet with the Eisenhower family and architect Frank Gehry has effectively put a stop (temporary, one hopes) to the approvals process for the memorial. There are a lot of unknowns, whether the Eisenhowers are using … Continue Reading Eisenhower Update

Rep. Issa urges a delay

The Eisenhower Memorial saga continues, with Rep. Darrell Issa urging the Eisenhower Memorial Commission to delay going before the National Capital Planning Commission this summer. He wants documents pertinent to the process that led to Frank Gehry’s selection as architect. So he’s written a letter to the EMC, which has … Continue Reading Rep. Issa urges a delay

Frank Gehry

I spent a good chunk of April working on a magazine story about Frank Gehry and the design for the Eisenhower Memorial. It’s finally seen the light of day, in the Washington Post Magazine.

Rallying behind Gehry

What a difference a week makes. On March 20, at a Congressional hearing, it looked as if the controversy whipped up by Susan and Anne Eisenhower, and further fueled by the dogged work of a small anti-Gehry group (the National Civic Art Society, which is pretty much anti-everything of or … Continue Reading Rallying behind Gehry

In Gehry’s Defense

I’m glad to see Witold Rybczynski defend Frank Gehry’s design for the  Eisenhower Memorial in yesterday’s The New York Times. Rybczynski is a serious, judicious and deeply knowledgeable critic, and he sits on the Commission of Fine Arts which has design oversight on the project. Gehry’s design deserves strong support, … Continue Reading In Gehry’s Defense