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“All sail, no anchor”: architecture after modernism
On American modernism in architecture. The fourth of our series “Lengthened shadows: America and Its Institutions in the Twenty-first Century.”
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When architecture gets a hall of fame, it needs to find a niche for a certain amiable rogue I will refer to as Palladio of the Wastepaper Basket. He made his mark during the 1960s at Yale's school of architecture. There it is the monthly task of students to design a hypothetical building, for which they make a model out of cardboard and foam core in a notoriously time-consuming operation. The process culminates in the crit, the stressful and often prickly review session in which visiting critics inspect the models and question the students, unfailingly finding the weak points of both. It is often the case that a verbally nimble student makes a better impression than an inarticulate designer, even one with a better design.
Our Palladio of the Wastepaper Basket found it more congenial to talk than cut cardboard. He prowled the halls of the architecture school at night, ransacking the trash for old models that had bee ...
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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 22 December 2003, on page 4
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