Def: crit·i·cal /krɪtɪkəl/ [krit-i-kuhl]
1. inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.
2. occupied with or skilled in criticism.
3. involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.; judicial: a critical analysis.
4. of or pertaining to critics or criticism: critical essays.
5. providing textual variants, proposed emendations, etc.: a critical edition of Chaucer.
The purpose of the Critical Architect website is to bring a long overdue level of criticism to the world of Architecture. Generally, Architects are loathe to criticize other Architects in public – yet in private, they can’t stop criticizing. Likewise, the types of “criticism” given in typical publications; such as the New York Times; are full of platitudes, regurgitated bylines from the Architect and ass-kissing. Rarely, is there any real level of critique.
Yes. “The Critical Architect” is really a licensed Architect. I am not some “wan-a-be” student or intern. I have been in the profession for over 25 years. I have a full time Architectural Practice with a small, yet talented and efficient staff. Most likely, if you live in the United States or do some traveling within the United States you have likely seen my work. (No, I won’t tell you what I have done, lest my identity be discovered.)
Why “Hide” behind anonymity? The reason is obvious. If my identity were known, my ability to gain inside information would be severely compromised and there would be a severe backlash. I would be both attacked by those whom are uncomfortable with my reviews as well as bribed (attempted) by those seeking positive publicity.
In addition, there would likely be a concerted effort to destroy my business. (Anyone who thinks Architects cannot be ruthless in business is in absolute denial. Architects can be as back-stabbing and as ruthless as they come.)
Simply put, the only way to remain completely impartial, provide open and honest reviews and to not destroy my own practice is by remaining anonymous. If you don’t like it – to bad. That’s the way it’s going to be.
There are some rules/guiding principles that I will adhere to. (To the best of my ability.)
1) Endeavour to keep the criticism focused on the work (project) – not the people or the company. This is not to say that I won’t “generalize” about Architects or Architectural stereotypes.
2) Endeavour to provide explanations and reason for my analysis. Comments like, “Damn, that’s butt ugly” should be backed up with facts that the project is indeed as ugly as a butt.
3) Determine how well the Architect followed Louis Sullivan’s credo, “Form [ever] follows Function”. This will be the primary factor in all my analysis.
4) Determine if the design is truly a “practical, problem solving design” or an “ego-centric design.” My tolerance for Architects who base their design on ego is extremely low.
5) Determine if the project is intended as a Social Engineering experiment. My tolerance for these projects is even lower than it is for ego-centric design.
There is one final criteria that will automatically give a project a “Thumbs Down” and the Architect a “Grade F”… Any project prepared by a United States Architect for the People’s Republic of China (or any other communist nation for that matter.)
The reason for this is clear. We are at war with China. It may not look or feel like a war but rest assured that we ARE at war. Every single day the Chinese government is attacking the United States with computer virus’ and trojans in an attempt to steel our national (defense) secrets as well as steal our intellectual property. China is not our friend or ally and I view any Architect who does work in China as giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Think of it this way – if the congress were to officially declare that we are at war with China, those Architects would be guilty of Treason.
So here we are. I hope that you will enjoy my reviews and get something out of this website, even if it is just a chuckle. One last thing. If you like my blog please tell a friend. If you don’t like it – Please tell TWO friends. (Just remember to send them the link.)