Announcing Issue #34/#35
It’s a big one.
The launch issue of New York Review of Architecture, released four years ago, clocked in at three thousand words. With this latest issue, which comprises #34 and #35, we cross the fifty-thousand-word threshold for the first time. (The last three installments flitted between thirty and forty thou.) Call it ambitious; call it overzealous. Our reason for calling it out at all has to do with transparency: the issue at hand was not conceived as a double. Rather, it only turned out that way as deadlines gave way to the greater exigencies of administration: in March, NYRA solidified steps toward becoming a worker’s co-op, whose autonomy will be ensured by a standalone 501(c) (3). We amicably disbanded our editors-at-large board in an effort to consolidate our operations. We consulted with lawyers and members of other co-ops in navigating the legal terrain ahead. We spent hours on end hashing out bylaws for contingencies whose bearing on any future seems almost quaintly immaterial. In doing all this we feel we have put NYRA on firmer footing. More than that, we are finally making good on a promise intimated—or if we’re being honest, prematurely articulated—in the publication’s early messaging, which alleged that our little outfit was, from its earliest days, ever in the process of cooperativizing. Several years and growth spurts later, we’ve arrived at that terminus. Just nearly in time for May Day, no less. ⬤
—Samuel Medina and Marianela D’Aprile
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For this bumper issue, we assembled several ambitious essays and reported pieces on topics as diverse as food halls and baseball, picket lines and the shrinking publishing landscape. We also bolstered our reviews section, with nearly a dozen appraisals of building, books, exhibitions, and personnages. And we had a little too much fun with the latest iteration of our Address a Building column. Scroll down for a sampling…
AARON TIMMS DOESN’T FIND NEW YORK’S FOOD HALLS TO HIS TASTE
Rents are rocketing, public amenities are in decay, and the city, thanks to the efforts of the same asset managers and developers behind your friendly neighborhood food hall, is becoming hostile to anyone but the ultrarich. So what? The bet of the food hall owners is that we’ll all be too busy feasting on loaded toasts to notice.
LYTA GOLD WANDERS INTO CALATRAVA’S SUGAR-CUBE CHURCH
The choice of traditional marble and already holy imagery means there’s blessedly little room for Calatrava’s leaky exuberance, and—that mysterious construction going on at the back notwithstanding—it seems that this church could succeed at being a church. As in, it could be a place that is meant to last.
AVI GARELICK AND ANDREW SCHUSTEK TAKE US OUT TO THE BALL GAME
If Ebbets Field’s demolition in 1960 was a tragedy, then Citi Field is a farce, a lumbering reproduction that belongs to no place—certainly not to Corona Park nor to nearby Flushing.
AMEENA WALKER TAKES STOCK OF NEW YORK’S SUPERFUND SITES
Full remediation is the best way to help offset the negative health impacts of Superfund sites on surrounding communities, but the length of the processes and the unknown future impact of climate change mean that even sites that undergo ideal remediation still pose a contamination risk.
ZACH MORTICE LOOKS OUT FROM THE TOP OF CHICAGO’S TRIBUNE TOWER
If an apartment’s primary goal is to appreciate as an asset for an anonymous and interchangeable set of owners, why offer anything more than a standardized, anonymous vision of upscale domesticity?
RACHEL BONDRA HAS SOME IDEAS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ARMORIES
Preserving the building itself, and in so doing calcifying its function of violently suppressing working-class demonstrations, may in fact stand in the way of transforming the site, the Bronx, and the existing social order.
JOSHUA MCWHIRTER WALKS TWO PICKET LINES
Though the dramatic climax of the strike has passed, union life—and political life at The New School generally—has settled into something a little more…ordinary. This is a good thing, and it gives me a modicum of relief as I picket against yet another recalcitrant boss.
ERIC SCHWARTAU TESTS OUT THE WATERS
In these ‘wellness experiences,’ you don’t let go but simply cling tighter to yourself. We broadcast ourselves to feel safe and seen even as we hide from our own fundamental humanness and the bodies we all share.
BENJAMIN SERBY HAS SYMPATHY FOR THE NORMALS
Feral City purports to be about gentrification and the right to public space. And yet, the book has absolutely nothing to say about real estate developers, predatory landlords, undertaxed billionaires, corrupt public officials, dysfunctional government agencies, or grifting nonprofits.
CHENOE HART KICKS THE TIRES ON A NEW SUBWAR CAR
If an armrest or a railing commands attention, it’s only because it has a built-in explanation for doing so.
SAMUEL STEIN FINDS HOPE FOR NEW YORK HOUSING IN THE NETHERLANDS
Developers have frequently used prefabrication as an explicit union avoidance strategy. For mass prefabrication to be acceptable to me and many others, that part of the industry would have to be unionized.
SOPHIE HAIGNEY REVISITS A FORMER URBAN OUTFITTERS AND THE STORY OF THE RMS TITANIC
Narrative undoes nothing, despite all our hopes.
ENRIQUE RAMIREZ REGRETS VISITING MOMA
I spend most of my life in front of screens, and the thought that my jaunt into the city to experience culture at a premium price would result in my spending time in front of the biggest, brightest screen still makes me laugh.
HAYLEY J. CLARK CONSIDERS THE WORK OF A WILY ITALIAN DESIGNER
A more liberated, colorful future where collective values are reflected in the built environment is a beautiful idea, but it’d be easier to find this future rousing if it weren’t locked away in private houses.
MARIO CARPO HISTORICIZES CLT
Regardless of some dissenting views of technology that occasionally transpire in the book, CLT is not for tech bashers. Cross-laminated timber is, by its very nature, high-tech.
CARLOS ORTEGA ARÁMBURO REJECTS THE IDEA OF “SPATIAL JUSTICE”
Volunteer labor is necessary for any cause, but these particular calls for altruism feel especially bleak when there’s currently so much ongoing organizing around fair wages in the profession, demonstrated by, for example, the emergence of Architectural Workers United.
NOLAN BOOMER EULOGIZES A DOWN BRUTALIST ICON
Anyone caught up in an architectural love affair knows the feeling. As a historian of modern architecture, I spend a lot of time ‘writing behind a fence,’ seeking contact with buildings that do not welcome me. I spend hours driving to some factory I saw a photo of once and then don’t know what to do when I arrive.
KAT HERRIMAN HYMNS JULIE BECKER’S LOS ANGELES
Whole is like one of architectural historian Charlie Jencks’s Day Dream Houses slipping off the cliff face into oblivion, the family locked inside. Whole is a refreshingly human response to what design critic Peter Plagens summed up as an ‘ecology of evil.’ Whole is a campaign for urgent intervention scripted by someone on the edge whose time was up.
MICHAEL NICHOLAS ADDRESSES THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
The messiness of the museum as a whole is perhaps the most accurate symbol of our constantly evolving ideas about the world, more contentious and rifer with conflict than any individual moment could suggest.
I. L. SHERMAN EVISCERATES THE COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL
I don’t know that there is an actual aesthetic to be found in a building that is little more than form but also somehow manages formlessness, physically imposing but blithely featureless, so bland it’s offensive.
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New York Review of Architecture reviews architecture in New York. It is a team effort. Our Editor is Samuel Medina, our Deputy Editor is Marianela D’Aprile, and our Publisher is Nicolas Kemper.
To pitch us an article or ask us a question, write to us at: email@example.com.
For their support, we would like to thank the Graham Foundation and our issue sponsors, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Thomas Phifer.