Wednesday, November 09, 2011

In the Medium

Yesterday I received the Winter 2011 issue of ArchitectureBoston, which takes aim at Media. The "At Issue" section features contributions by Cervin Robinson (on Photography); John King (on Newspapers); Mark Pasnik, Michael Kubo, and Chris Grimley (on Exhibitions); Phillip G. Bernstein FAIA (on BIM); Kevin Lippert (on Publishing); Lon Grohs (on Animation and 3d Visualization), and yours truly (on Blogs). I'm pleased to be representing blogs in this issue, and to be in such good company. Also, Media is founding editor Elizabeth Padjen's last one for ArchitectureBoston (she'll be "diving deeply into new creative challenges"), so I'm honored to be in such an important issue.


That said, the rest of the issue is highly rewarding. Beyond the other brief pieces in the "At Issue" section are longer features by James Wines (on drawing), Witold Rybczynski (an interview with Jeff Stein), and James McCown (on HGTV), among others. I especially like McCown's piece, because I think that architecture critics should be addressing the trends of TV shows like Extreme Makeover Home Edition, This Old House, and the numerous shows on HGTV. He brings up some good points, such as questioning why everything is ripe for a redesign ("it would be refreshing — and environmentally responsible — to occasionally hear 'we only need to do minimal intervention in these rooms.'") and the disconnect between the "fiction" presented as design and its disconnect from "high design." Personally I'm intrigued by shows like Extreme Makeover, not because of the designs but the way the show manipulates impressions of design, many unrealistic (a house in one week!?). One of these days I'll get around to my own criticism of that show.