Architecture criticism is the critique of architecture. Everyday criticism relates to published or broadcast critiques of buildings, whether completed or not, both in terms of news and other criteria. In many cases, criticism amounts to an assessment of the architect's success in meeting his or her own aims and objectives and those of others. The assessment may consider the subject from the perspective of some wider context, which may involve planning, social or aesthetic issues. It may also take a polemical position reflecting the critic's own values. At the most accessible extreme, architectural criticism is a branch of lifestyle journalism, especially in the case of high-end residential projects.
Most major national newspapers in developed countries cover the arts in some form. Architectural criticism may be included as a part of their arts coverage, in a real estate section or a Home & Style supplement. In the USA, reviews are published in specialist magazines ranging from the popular (e.g. Architectural Digest, Wallpaper) to specialist magazines for design professionals (e.g. Architectural Review, Detail). As with other forms of criticism, technical language is used to a varying extent to convey impressions and views precisely. The rapidly changing media environment means that much criticism is now published in online journals and publications, and critics write for a range of publications rather than being employed full-time by newspapers.
Lewis Mumford wrote extensively on architecture in the nineteen thirties, forties and fifties at The New Yorker. Ada Louise Huxtable was the first full-time architecture critic working for an American daily newspaper when The New York Times gave her the role in 1963. John Betjeman, a co-founder of the Victorian Society, wrote and broadcast from the 1950s to 1970s, principally covering historical rather than new buildings, but contributing to a trend for criticism to expand into radio and then television. Charles, Prince of Wales, is outspoken in his criticism of modern architecture, memorably describing a proposed extension to the National Gallery in London as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved friend".
In 2017 the New Architecture Writers program was established in London to address the underrepresentation of black and minority ethnic writers in architecture and design criticism and curation. The free program was initiated by Phineas Harper and Tom WiIkinson and aims to develop the journalistic skill, editorial connections and critical voice of its participants. It is supported by The Architectural Review, The Architecture Foundation, the Royal College of Art and the RIBA Journal. Inaugural participants were Josh Fenton, Shukri Sultan, Thomas Aquilina, Aoi Phillips, Nile Bridgeman, Samson Famusan, Siufan Adey, Tara Okeke, and Marwa El Mubark.
The rapidly changing media landscape has impacted on architectural criticism and shifted both modes of criticism and the media in which it is published. Recent books that explore these issues include Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities by Alexandra Lange and Semi-detached: Writing, representation and criticism in architecture, edited by Naomi Stead (2012).
A number of essays also reflect on the contemporary state of architectural criticism, the changing media and contexts of production, and the futures of criticism. These include:
- Thomas Fisher, “The Death and Life of Great Architecture Criticism,” Places Journal, December 2011
- Eva Hagberg Fisher, “Criticism in Crisis,” Architect magazine, December 2018
- Blair Kamin, “Architecture Criticism: Dead or Alive?” Nieman Reports, July 2015
- Alexandra Lange, “How to Be an Architecture Critic,” Places Journal, March 2012
- Nancy Levinson, “Critical Beats,” Places Journal, March 2010
- Nancy Levinson, “Print and Pixel,” Places Journal, October 2013.
- Michael Sorkin, “Critical Mass: Why Architectural Criticism Matters,” The Architectural Review, May 2014
- Naomi Stead, "A New Belle-Lettrism and the Future of Criticism," Places Journal, June 2012.
The critic's task is to assess how successful the architect and others involved with the project have been in meeting both the criteria the project set out to meet and those that the critic himself feels to be important. Specific criteria include:
Architectural journalists and critics
Some large newspapers have permanent architecture critics, however many critics now write for multiple publications and many new online venues are emerging. Contemporary critics writing for major newspapers, journals and online publications include:
- Marianela D’Aprile, bylines in Common Edge, Jacobin magazine, Surface Magazine
- Allison Arieff of SPUR and formerly Dwell
- Diana Budds, bylines in publications including Curbed, Vox, CoDesign
- Robert Campbell, architecture critic for The Boston Globe
- Justin Davidson of New York Magazine
- Martin Filler of The New York Review of Books
- Eva Hagberg Fisher, bylines in The New York Times, Tin House, Wallpaper*, Wired, and Dwell.
- Paul Goldberger of Vanity Fair (formerly of The New Yorker)
- Christopher Hawthorne, former architecture critic of The Los Angeles Times (2004–2018) and Slate
- Cathy Lang Ho, contributing editor Architect magazine, founding editor-in-chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, with bylines in many other publications.
- Karrie Jacobs, contributing editor Architect magazine and founding editor of Dwell, with bylines in many other publications, including New York Magazine, The New York Times, ID, and Fortune.
- Amanda Kolson Hurley, senior editor of CityLab with bylines in many other publications, including Architect magazine, Architectural Record, The American Scholar, The Atlantic, CNN, Curbed, Foreign Policy, Landscape Architecture, Next City, The Times Literary Supplement, Wallpaper, Washington City Paper, Washingtonian, and The Washington Post.
- Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune
- Kelsey Keith, editor-in-chief Curbed
- Philip Kennicott, art and architecture critic of The Washington Post
- Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times
- John King, architecture critic for San Francisco Chronicle
- Nicholas Korody, Archinect, editor-in-chief, Ed
- Mark Lamster, Dallas Morning News, formerly of Places
- Alexandra Lange, architecture critic at Curbed with bylines in many other publications
- Wanda Lau, editor at Architect magazine
- Nancy Levinson, editor of Places
- Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer
- Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief Architectural Record
- Shannon Mattern, columnist at Places
- Christian Narkiewicz-Laine (formerly of The Chicago Sun-Times)
- Nicolai Ouroussoff formerly of The New York Times
- Anne Quito, design reporter for ''Quartz'' (publication)
- Anjulie Rao, editor of Chicago Architect, bylines in American Craft Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Artsy, and Curbed Chicago
- Inga Saffron, architecture critic, The Philadelphia Inquirer since 1999
- Mary Louise Schumacher, former art and architecture critic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (2000–2019)
- Michael Sorkin
- Susan Szenasy, Metropolis
- Kate Wagner, McMansion Hell, with bylines in many other publications
- Mimi Zeiger, opinion columnist Dezeen, contributing editor Architect, and bylines in many other publications, including The New York Times, Domus, The Architectural Review, and The Architects Newspaper.
- Shumi Bose, The Architectural Review and other publications
- Gillian Darley, Building Design (now) BDonline), Apollo, London Review of Books and many other titles, formerly The Observer
- Jonathan Glancey, The Guardian
- Edwin Heathcote, The Financial Times
- Priya Khanchandani, editor, Icon magazine
- Manon Mollard, editor, The Architectural Review
- Rowan Moore, The Observer
- Christine Murray, editor of The Developer, former editor in chief of Architects Journal and The Architectural Review, writing include The Guardian, Dezeen
- Hugh Pearman, editor of RIBA Journal, former architecture and design critic for The Sunday Times (1986–2016), bylines in many publications including The Guardian, The Observer, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek, Art Quarterly, Royal Academy Magazine, Crafts, Architectural Record, the Architectural Review, and World of Interiors
- Catherine Slessor, Dezeen, Architects Journal, former editor and managing editor of The Architectural Review
- Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian
- Judith Abell, bylines include Architecture Australia, Landscape Architecture Australia, Artlink and others, Arts Features editor for Island Magazine
- Justine Clark, editor of Architecture Australia from 2003-2011 and the recipient of the Bates Smart Award for Architecture in the Media in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, former architecture critic for The Age, contributor to publications including Architecture New Zealand, MAS Context, and others.
- Laura Harding, Architecture Australia, The Guardian, The Saturday Paper
- Rory Hyde (also UK), bylines include Architecture Australia, The Guardian, Harvard Design Magazine among others
- Timothy Moore, editor Future West (Australian Urbanism) (2016-2019), former editor Architecture Australia (2011-2012) and managing editor Volume (2010–11)
- David Neustein, architecture critic, The Monthly
- Naomi Stead columnist at Places (US), architecture columnist for The Conversation, bylines in Architecture Australia
- Category:Architecture critics
- Category: Architecture writers
- International Committee of Architectural Critics
- Category:American architecture writers
- Category: Australian architecture writers
- Category:British architecture writers
- Goldberger, Paul (2003-11-12). "Architecture Criticism: Does It Matter". Paul Goldberger. Archived from the original on June 22, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "About". New Architecture Writers. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "New Architecture Writers program raises underrepresented voices". Archpaper.com. 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- October, 9; 2017. "NAW: Free architectural writing course for BAME aspiring design critics". Architectural Review. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Harper, Phineas (2019-01-08). "Members 2017/2018". New Architecture Writers. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
- Alexandra, Lange (2012). Writing about architecture : mastering the language of buildings and cities. Lange, Jeremy M. (1st ed.). New York: Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 9781616890537. OCLC 747018933.
- Arieff, Allison (2012-03-02). "Why Don't We Read About Architecture?". Opinionator. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Semi-detached : writing, representation and criticism in architecture. Stead, Naomi, 1975-. Melbourne: Uro Media. 2012. ISBN 9780987228130. OCLC 799159939.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Fisher, Thomas (2011-12-01). "The Death and Life of Great Architecture Criticism". Places Journal (2011). doi:10.22269/111201.
- "Criticism in Crisis". architectmagazine.com. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Architecture Criticism: Dead or Alive?". Nieman Reports. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Lange, Jeremy M.; Lange, Alexandra (2012-03-01). "How to Be an Architecture Critic". Places Journal (2012). doi:10.22269/120301.
- Levinson, Nancy (2010-03-06). "Critical Beats". Places Journal (2010). doi:10.22269/100306.
- Levinson, Nancy (2013-10-01). "Print and Pixel". Places Journal (2013). doi:10.22269/131001.
- Sorkin, Michael. "Critical Mass: Why Architectural Criticism Matters". Architectural Review. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Stead, Naomi (2012-06-21). "A New Belle-Lettrism and the Future of Criticism". Places Journal (2012). doi:10.22269/120621.
- "Globe and Mail author page: Alex Bozikovic". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
- D'Aprile, Marianela. "Marianela D'Aprile". Common Edge. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Marianela D'Aprile". jacobinmag.com. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Paolo Soleri at 100: A Visionary Lost in a Desert of His Own Making". SURFACE. 2019-06-21. Retrieved 2019-09-30.
- "Eva Hagberg Fisher". Eva Hagberg Fisher. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Christopher Hawthorne". latimes.com. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "About | SpontaneousInterventions". Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Cathy Lang Ho | School of Fine Arts Index". sofa.aarome.org. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Karrie Jacobs | the Itinerant Urbanist". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Amanda Kolson Hurley". CityLab. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Amanda Kolson Hurley". Amanda Kolson Hurley. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Kelsey Keith Profile and Activity - Curbed". curbed.com. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Nicholas Korody's Archinect profile". Archinect. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
- "Mark Lamster". marklamster.com. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Shannon Mattern". Places Journal. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Quartz author page: Anne Quito". Quartz. Quartz. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
- Rao, Anjulie. "Anjulie Rao". Journo Portfolio. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Russeth, Andrew (2019-01-25). "Veteran Milwaukee Art Critic Mary Louise Schumacher Exits Journal Sentinel". ARTnews. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Sorkin, Michael. "Critical Mass: Why Architectural Criticism Matters". Architectural Review. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Susan Szenasy". Metropolis. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "About | Mimi Zeiger". mimizeiger.com. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Shumi Bose's stories | Architectural Review". architectural-review.com. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
- Pearman, Hugh. "Travelling in time". ribaj.com. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
- "Gillian Darley". Gillian Darley. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Gillian Darley | Contributors | Building Design". bdonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- Glancey, Jonathan (2007-10-03). "<img class='contributor-pic' src='http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/contributor/2007/09/28/jonathan_glancey_140x140.jpg' alt='Picture of Jonathan Glancey' title='Jonathan Glancey' />". The Guardian. London.
- "About Me". Priya Khanchandani. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Harper, Phineas (2019-01-11). "Priya Khanchandani joins the New Architecture Writers board". New Architecture Writers. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Manon Mollard | Editor | Architectural Review". architectural-review.com. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- September, 21; 2018. "Manon Mollard named AR Editor". Architectural Review. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Christine Murray | The Guardian". the Guardian. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Christine Murray | Editor-in-chief | Architects Journal". architectsjournal.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Christine Murray | Editor-in-chief | Architectural Review". architectural-review.com. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Oliver Wainwright | The Guardian". the Guardian. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
- "Judith Abell". ArchitectureAU. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Mallyon, Kate (17 November 2015). "Justine Clark - Office of the Victorian Government Architect". Office of the Victorian Government Architect. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
- "Justine Clark". ArchitectureAU. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Criticism in crisis? Justine Clark and Andrew Mackenzie in conversation". Australian Design Review. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
- "Laura Harding". ArchitectureAU. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Laura Harding | The Guardian". the Guardian. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Rory Hyde". roryhyde.com. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Rory Hyde". ArchitectureAU. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Timothy Moore". Monash University.
- "David Neustein". The Monthly. 2014-07-17. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Naomi Stead". Places Journal. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Naomi Stead". ArchitectureAU. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- "Dr Naomi Stead". Art Design & Architecture. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Goldberger, Paul (2003-11-12). "Architecture Criticism: Does It Matter". Paul Goldberger. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "The Dark Knights Return: four profoundly unfashionable buildings in London"
- Hugh Pearman, architecture critic of The Sunday Times, analyses architectural critics' responses (including his own) to postmodernism and unfashionability.
- Weinstein, Norman (2008-05-28). "Built on Soaring Words". The Australian. Archived from the original on 2008-09-13. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
- This article, whilst not an example of architectural criticism, describes the importance of architectural students developing a strong vocabulary with which to describe buildings.
- Our critics' advice - The Guardian July 8, 2008.
- In this article Jonathan Glancey gives advice to young, ambitious, would-be architecture critics.