How To Be an Architecture Critic

koolhaas_library_sidewalk.jpg, image:altered from[via archinect] On a day when the Times praises his shoplifter-friendly, open-air Prada store on Rodeo (a feature the real customers, who valet park in back, will never see),The Project for Public Spaces pokes a sharp stick in Rem Koolhaas's eye for the deadened, bleak streetscapes he created all around his vaunted Seattle Public Library. Of course, when they hear "lively streetlife," Official Seattle may still think lobster puppet-wielding WTO protestors burning dodwn the Starbucks, so it's understandable.

And why believe the (nominally NYC-based) PPS? They praise, of all things, the Hugo Boss store on 5th & 56th, as if it created the lumbering t-shirted mobs who clog up our midtown sidewalks (and as if SUV-loads of people who don't know how to walk down an unenclosed street are desirable in the first place).

So while their advice on influencing your local architecture critic screams undiagnosed Post-Muschamp Stress Disorder, their spot-on "Tips for being a do-it-yourself critic" reveal a touching truth: We're all Muschampers now.

1. Have a sense of self-entitlement
2. Be self-conscious
3. Stare at others
4. Gossip

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: July 15, 2004.

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