Thursday, June 9, 2011

Architectural Criticism in the Age of New Media

The Architectural Critic in the age of New Media

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations..  the new needs friends.

Anton Ego, Ratatouille

Gone are the Kenneth Framptons & the Charles Jencks’. The new critique of architecture is happening in blogs, on forums and in webinars.  We no longer have to wait for the epic tomes in complex, unintelligible jargon by hallowed and stratospheric critics to know the reactions to our buildings, or those by others. Everyone has an opinion, & now everyone has a way to voice it.

There still exist a large number of journals and magazines that project intelligent criticism of buildings, but they are too slow, have too little reach and now, are increasingly becoming susceptible to the “aaj-tak” sensationalism that ails the rest of the media world.

 As architects, we need to know how to rationally criticize a built work. We also need to understand how to be prepared to tackle a world where information is instantly available, and so, to be sure we are original. Our opinion on architecture tends to be somewhat distorted towards heroicism, the ability to objectively quantify the true nature of a building should help us in our own work as well. Love need not be blind.

“Architects believe that not only do they sit at the right hand of God, but that if God ever gets up, they take the chair”

Karen Moyer

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