Ada Louise Huxtable

(b. 1921)

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(1921– ).

American architectural critic. She established her reputation with a series of trenchant articles in the New York Times from 1963, but before then had published her monograph on Pier Luigi Nervi (1960) and many articles in various journals. Her love of her native city was expressed in Classic New York: Georgian Gentility to Greek Elegance (1964), and her forth-right writings have assailed the insupportable hideousness of many aspects of American cities: indeed, her Will They Ever Finish Bruckner Boulevard? (1970) has been described as a ‘Primer on Urbicide’. A passionate conservationist, she was a major figure in the creation of a Landmarks Preservation Commission for New York City in 1965 to resist the ‘blind mutilation’, as she called it, ‘in the name of urban renewal’. She also championed excellence in contemporary architecture, denouncing the ‘big, the expedient, and the deathlessly ordinary’, and making plain her exasperation with the General Services Administration (the body in charge of all Federal construction in the USA) for proliferating banality. She made her admiration for Mies van der Rohe clear, and has called the skyscraper one of the ‘great technological and architectural achievements of our civilization’. Her The Tall Building Artistically Considered: The Search for a Skyscraper Style (1982, 1984) is a major study of the subject. Pevsner described her as ‘the best architectural critic’ of his time.

Huxtable (1960, 1960a, 1961, 1964, 1970, 1976, 1984, 1986, 1986a, 1997)

Subjects: Architecture.

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