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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Can you imagine any newspaper today printing 5, words on a building? He also paid close attention to architects who were recognized for their theoretical writings. And he never let up.

The cause of Mother’s headaches might come up. Beyer Blinder Belle’s work is occasionally competent: The new slipcovers were not, in fact, the reason why sitting down there was taboo.

These words and phrases — “quirky”; “self-indulgent”; “left”; “stepped down” — are euphemisms; and they have been repeated over and over muscham; over these last three years as mantras of self-absolution from an architecture and design community that smelled Muschamp’s blood early and after that regarded him herbret little, for the most part, except to watch him twist in the wind or give his dangling body an extra spin.

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?

As a self-defined outsider, herbret gay man, and as someone far more articulate and widely-read than most anyone he encountered, he believed deeply in the saving power of architectural space. At least I think it was hidden. If the owners take my advice, they will redo the base with a stylized version of Calvin Klein billboards. During his controversial tenure at the Times, Muschamp rose, according to Nicolai Ouroussoff, to preeminence as the nation’s foremost judge of the architecture world.


After the burn wore off you had to admit that he zeroed in on the flaws that you thought no one would notice but you. As the head judge at the Supreme Court he was a disaster. He also served as director of the graduate program in architecture and design criticism at the Parsons School of Design from to, a role that must have satisfied his desire to impress moldable intellects but hardly indulged his talent for the kind of performance writing that became his hallmark.

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 muachamp big city.

Rest in Peace, Herbert Muschamp: Design Observer

His opinions were often hyperbolic; his prose outrageous; muschaamp path of his thinking inimitably complex. Throw in Hadid and you have an orgy of star power. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Muschamp’s views were both ahead of their time.

Herbert Muschamp, 1947-2007

His detractors, noted the New York Observerargued that his conflicts of interest, from socializing with his subjects frequently, and his “iconoclasm and obscurantism, his unapologetic dilettantism” were along with his “very public break downs” a source of a “fall from grace. Has anyone else stirred up so much heated passion about cold bricks?

At the height of his powers inI wrote a bit of faux-Muschampiana on a private dare.


Not even to to congratulate itself for having poached as Muschamp’s replacement yet another writer from the Los Angeles Times, Nicolai Ouroussoff. A longtime heavy smoker, Herbert died of a lung cancer on Tuesday, October 2, that was diagnosed earlier this year.

Rest in Peace, Herbert Muschamp

Sorkin was attacking his opposite number at the New York Times, Paul Goldberger, for being in bed with a clique of developers and postmodernists. What kind of client do you suppose the President is?

And though some may have felt Muschamp was too highfalutin musvhamp his own good, his cultural literacy — from Walter Benjamin to Armani to The Matrix — is one of the aspects that elevated his columns to serious criticism. Not to mark the changing of the guard. Reading this volume, it is easy to forget that Muschamp was a journalist, filing copy to short deadlines, not always with the desired time to mull things over.

With each gesture, his shirt rode up ever so slightly, revealing a tantalizing mischamp of tan, taut tummy. In the interest of full disclosure, my proposal for the site will be revealed at a time and place of my choosing. Inwhen Herbert Muschamp stepped down as architecture critic of the New York Times, the most gifted critic of his generation had fallen from grace. December 31, National Building Museum will showcase basketball courts around the world. Such vignettes, however, have the quality of holidays.

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