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Comments (3) Posted 12.24.10 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange

Lunch With The Critics: Year-End Awards



Awards certificates, with permission from Shutterstock

Why should other critics have all the fun? Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange hash out their bests and worsts of the year over sandwiches in Boerum Hill.

Best Use of a Pritzker Prize: I.M. Pei scotches the fourth, 400-foot-tall Silver Tower proposed by NYU, suggesting only beloved elder statesmen of architecture have the power to slow the university’s spread. [AL]

Best Use of White Plastic from Italy: The dapper drones at SCDP got a new office, and the bright spot was Roger Sterling’s Nesso lamp, a glowing mushroom designed in 1964 by Giancarlo Mattioli. [ML]

Best Show: MoMA’s revelatory Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity, curated by Barry Bergdoll and Leah Dickerman. Honorable mention: Chaos & Classicism at the Guggenheim, America’s Mayor at the MCNY. [ML]

Bad for Women in Architecture Award: “Bits of the sandwich were falling out of her mouth as she spoke, in a husky voice.” From John Seabrook's profile of Zaha Hadid in The New Yorker, “The Abstractionist.” [AL]

Good for Women in Architecture Award: SANAA, the Japanese firm led by Kazuyo Sejima and
 Ryue Nishizawa, wins the Pritzker Prize. Can Denise Scott Brown get hers now too, please? [AL]

The Woody Allen Award for Gratuitous Cinematic Images of New York: Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps. The swoony photography of Rodrigo Prieto was the highlight of Oliver Stone’s sequel. [ML]

Baby Rem Award: Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, for the three-letter firm name (BIG), the delirious New York entrance (see this graphic novel), and the cartoonish building names and shapes (8 House, the Mountain). [AL]

Mailing It in Award: Witold Rybczynski, for his why-are-great-architects-short piffle, the most inane story of the year. [ML]

Worst Moment in Architectural Criticism: Sarah Palin, for her pernicious “it stabs hearts” tweet on the Park51 community center. [ML]

Ezra Stoller Award for Photographic Ubiquity: Iwan Baan. How can we tell our Maltzans from our Maynes from our MAXXIs if they are all shot by the same photographer? [AL]

The Cognitive Dissonance Award: CityCenter, Las Vegas. The “sustainable” mega-development may demolish Norman Foster’s built-but-never-opened Harmon Hotel. [ML]

Most Anti-Climactic Groundbreaking Award: Atlantic Yards — oh wait — Barclays Center. When you’re more interested in the ownership than the team or the building, something is out of whack. [AL]

The Deadwood Award for Historical Pastiche: Roman & Williams. If you like the Decembrists, Harry Flashman, and bespoke cocktails, they’re the only architects for you. [ML]

Worst Use of Architectural History Award: The Baroque hyperbole surrounding Frank Gehry’s still-not-actually-open Beekman Tower, where value engineering took all the Bernini out of its folds, and left the southern halves of Brooklyn and Manhattan with another shiny, blank skyscraper. [AL]

Negligent Stewardship Award: Chase Bank, for shuttering Gordon Bunshaft’s landmark glass box on Fifth Avenue, and crating up its site-specific Harry Bertoia screen. [ML]

Most Overhyped Gift to the City’s Children from the Design Community Award: The Imagination Playground. Like a stage set waiting for actors, or at least another slide. [AL]

Putting Architects Out of Business Award: NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette
 Sadik-Khan, who created open space in the heart of the city without juried competitions, public 
hearings, architects, landscape architects — or much design. [AL]

Online Publisher of the Year: Our friends at Curbed have gone national with their sharp combination of real estate gossip, shelter porn, and design criticism. Honorable Mention: Architizer. [ML]

Most Moving Moments of the Year: The heartfelt personal tributes to Raimund Abraham, tragically killed in a Los Angeles car accident, on the blog of Lebbeus Woods. [ML]

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Comments (3)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT COMMENT >>

ps: best wishes for the holidays and the new year to my lunchmate, and to everyone in the greater design observer community.

bring on the elevens.
mark lamster
12.24.10 at 10:35

Does Architecture really need a "bests and worsts" list? Doesn't this further degrade the sad simplistic state of architecture criticism today?
David
12.27.10 at 11:17

Highly entertaining piece, thank you guys
Anne Costa
12.30.10 at 01:20


Design Observer encourages comments to be short and to the point; as a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect's Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.
More Bio >>

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture. A contributing editor to Architectural Review, he is currently at work on his third book, a biography of the late architect Philip Johnson. Follow: @marklamster.
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS









MORE ON Lunch with the Critics


Lunch with the Critics: Fourth-Annual Year-End Awards
Our intrepid critics, Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster, celebrate (and castigate) the best and worst architecture and design of 2013.

Lunch With The Critics: Third-Annual Year-End Awards
Idiosyncratic awards bestowed on architecture, design and media.

Lunch With The Critics: Second-Annual Year-End Awards
From Twitter to Apollo, Barbie to Occupy Everywhere: The best and worst moments in design for 2011.

Lunch with the Critics: Cronocaos
On Places, Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange analyze "Cronocaos," the new exhibition on preservation at the New Museum in New York, curated by OMA/Rem Koolhaas.

Lunch with the Critics: Park51 and 15 Penn Plaza
In my second critical lunch with Mark Lamster, in the creepy climes of the Hotel Pennsylvania, we discuss the urbanism, politics and skyline posturing of Park51 and 15 Penn Plaza.

Lunch with the Critics: Lincoln Center
Over on DO, Alexandra Lange and I launch our new feature, Lunch with the Critics.

On DO: Lunch with the Critics
Please weigh in on Mark Lamster and my new Design Observer feature, "Lunch with the Critics," in which we observe the new Lincoln Center.

BOOKS BY Alexandra Lange

Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities
Princeton Architectural Press, 2012

Design Research
Chronicle Books, 2010

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