The Philadelphia Inquirer Architecture critic Inga Saffron gives insight in architectural criticism today. While many hope to read about immense projects done by a guild of architects known as 'starchitects,' most will often read smaller stories, set in their neighborhood, of buildings they pass by unknowingly.
Saffron talks much about Philadelphia, "a city of neighborhoods" and a newly transformed city for millennials. With the rise of population, density has become a large trend, and unfortunately with it, gentrification.
Indeed, new and expensive real estate are popping up like daisies diminishing the once vast sea of low row houses that was Philly. Many people are uprooted from neighborhoods that they have known all their lives to live in other darker, dirtier corners of the city. Some buildings, after being built, fail to connect the neighborhood and are unsuccessful in providing a sense of place in affordable housing.
Saffron's criticism is not the pieces of architecture themselves, but is in its respect, or lack there of, to people in the neighborhood, those which it serves. This dialogue between intent and reality is not self evident. Her explorations look at projects all around Philly and asks the question, "how do we preserve [the human quality] of the city while still being open to growth?"
Nikolaus Pevsner once famously said, "a bicycle shed is a building; Lincoln Cathedral is a piece of architecture." Architecture is a means of placemaking for some kind of human purpose (Kostof), and if we fail to suit human needs, then we missed the big picture. That picture? That is what Architecture criticism today should focus on.
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I am a current undergraduate student in the field of Architecture and Design. I collect quotes, explore images, and write about all the good things that I like. Here is where I bridge them all together.