In tribute to Herbert Muschamp, the architecture critic for The New York Times, one of the most outspoken and influential voices in architectural. Agents provocateurs have a dismal survival rate at the culturally conservative New York Times, but for 12 years, starting in , architecture critic Herbert. Like the man himself, Hearts of the City: The Selected Writings of Herbert Muschamp (Knopf, $50) is going to offend a lot of people. The book is nearly .

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It was fun to write. New York, meanwhile, is his battleground. The Selected Writings of Herbert Muschamp. Has anyone else stirred up so much heated passion about cold bricks?

I remember reading one of the first major pieces by his successorfirst slowly and then skimming ahead with mounting anxiety, realizing wait, you mean there’s not going to be a Zuzu Pitts reference?

Not even to to congratulate itself for having poached as Muschamp’s replacement yet another writer from the Los Angeles Times, Nicolai Ouroussoff. With each gesture, his shirt rode up ever so slightly, revealing a tantalizing sliver of tan, taut tummy. He had a way of keeping you honest.

Herbert Muschamp, 1947-2007

What kind of client do you suppose the President is? Muschamp’s views were both ahead of their time. It was intended to be about the Nineties, but the pieces here are highly autobiographical, about the seduction of a young, suburban, Jewish, gay man by the bright lights of the big city.

We are still in the death throes of postmodernism, and well into the book Muschamp is still writing about the buildings of Robert AM Stern, later than is decent. He later attended Parsons School of Design, where he studied architecture, and returned to teach after spending some time studying at the Architectural Association in London.

Rest in Peace, Herbert Muschamp

But all of this is prefigured by a game-changer of a building inwhen Muschamp pulls out all the stops for the Guggenheim in Bilbao.


Thanks so much for the fab parody — far too soon, indeed, for those of us in our fifties.

Such vignettes, however, have the quality of holidays. I sense I am not alone to discover, to my surprise, how much I miss his writing, and how affected I was by his death — at 59, far too early — last week. Black and white pictures of pouty young people.

Despite the heights that Muschamp reached, there is an argument that architecture criticism was genuinely in trouble even on his watch. Like Ruskin, he reserved the right to contradict himself, but based on the selection here there is only scant evidence of that.

Inspiring piece I must say! Beyer Blinder Belle’s work is occasionally competent: Herbert was also maddening; he drove his editors and his friends up the wall only to charm them back down again with twinkling wit and an open generosity that could almost prepare one for the next onslaught.

Goodbye Ada Louise Huxtable.

Herbert Muschamp — Charlie Rose

Fasten your seatbelts, New York. And people mschamp fun of her writiing, but did that make her less influential or even fun to read, still? The Selected Writings of Herbert Muschamp. December 31, You said it!

Rest in Peace, Herbert Muschamp: Design Observer

The first preliminary design studies for the World Trade Center site were about to be unveiled; the original master planning firm anti-starchitects with a reputation for thoughtful contextualism rather than formal acrobatics was not one of Muschamp’s favorites; I thought I could predict how the review would read.

Herbert Mitchell Muschamp November 28, Philadelphia. As the architecture critic for The Times from to Sorkin was attacking his opposite number at the New York Times, Paul Goldberger, for being in bed with a clique of developers and postmodernists. At the time of his death he reportedly had just finished his memoirs. Herbert said what he thought, and seemingly unfettered by the overarching, overlooking, over-the-shoulder antics of the so called giants, who where they to stab him in the back as he smacked the keyboard.


A book collection of Muschamp’s writings, Hearts of the City: At least I think it was hidden. He thinks they represent a late flowering of Surrealism. You could compare him to Pauline Kael, right? Wearing beautifully tailored trousers and a tight, cropped black top – need I add it was by Prada?

His support for this new architectural elite came from witnessing a dream being made manifest — the dream of the avant-garde being handed the opportunity to build on Main Street.

Who knew what other secrets might come tumbling out if they actually sat down and talked? Recent Manhattan banality, WTC7, Hearst at the top of the heap, will run unchallenged, accepted by the sprinkling of gold dust from afar and nearby those who pride conformance with the party line, and too many Manhattans slid down by another. An homage to the street’s unsanitized, John Rechy, Russ Meyer past. Muschamp was a lover of cities. Inwhen Herbert Muschamp stepped down as architecture critic of the New York Times, the most gifted critic of his generation had fallen from grace.

His opinions were often hyperbolic; his prose outrageous; the path of his thinking inimitably complex. His blockbuster beauties are Gehry and Koolhaas, the poet and the genius, representing the twin poles of beauty and reason.

It is striking to see how similar the climate was then to now, and how close the concerns. But usually it seemed, looking for more. What they give form to is a new phase in city making governed by the expression of unrepressed urges, by the creative power of the subconscious. This tantalizing motif — impulse, surrender, gratification — is the central one of the twenty-first century.