American Architecture is Moving in the Right Direction

gehry iac American Architecture is Moving in the Right Direction
Frank Gehry’s IAC building in New York City
The Architectural Record sat down with six critics from across the country to discuss the current state of American Architecture. From building affordable and sustainable housing to the latest projects from the minds of “starchitects”, they cover it all and the overarching theme is that our country is moving in the right direction when it comes to new building design. We found particular insight from the following architecture critics.


Paul Goldberger is the architecture critic of The New Yorker.
While New York is finally getting major buildings by star architects, Goldberger notes, “I’m fascinated by the extent to which provincial places in the country are willing to take more risks than cities like New York and L.A. I’m thinking of Zaha in Cincinnati, Steven Holl in Kansas City, and SANAA in Toledo. I’m also intrigued by the time lag between when major architects first build in the provinces and when they finally get to do so in New York. For example, Gehry built in Toledo long before he did anything in New York. How many years was it between Meier’s project in New Harmony, Indiana, and his apartment towers on the Hudson?”
David Dillon is the architecture critic of The Dallas Morning News.
Dillon says affordable housing remains a challenge for architecture. “If you ever wanted a real laboratory for developing affordable housing and prototypes, New Orleans is it,” he says. “But what I’ve seen mostly is just a lot of New Urbanism stuff that doesn’t seem to get to the real problems of accessibility and affordability.” Dillon, in his teaching role at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, studies affordable housing in the U.S. “It’s not a style exercise; it’s a community-building, economic exercise,” he says, explaining why high-design architects don’t pursue the arduous process of piecing together funding for such projects.
Christopher Hawthorne is the architecture critic of the Los Angeles Times.
“L.A. IS THE MOST INTERESTING CITY IN THE country right now, because of what’s happening with its urbanism, more than its architecture,” states Christopher Hawthorne, who has been the architecture critic of the Los Angeles Times for three years. The city that became synonymous with sprawl has “hit the limits of its growth and is turning back on itself,” he explains. “But it’s not just getting denser; it’s having to redefine itself as a city.””L.A. IS THE MOST INTERESTING CITY IN THE country right now, because of what’s happening with its urbanism, more than its architecture,” states Christopher Hawthorne, who has been the architecture critic of the Los Angeles Times for three years. The city that became synonymous with sprawl has “hit the limits of its growth and is turning back on itself,” he explains. “But it’s not just getting denser; it’s having to redefine itself as a city.”

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timothy dahl profile American Architecture is Moving in the Right Direction

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.
  • http://www.studiolift.com Matt Carey

    Tht was really interesting, thank you!

  • Macy

    great insight