Video Archive | Paul Goldberger (1)

Paul Goldberger
The first few seconds have no sound. Los Angeles AIA president Henry Silvestri hands out awards, and introduces Bernard...

Paul Goldberger

The first few seconds have no sound. Los Angeles AIA president Henry Silvestri hands out awards, and introduces Bernard Zimmerman, who announces some upcoming AIA-sponsored lectures. Frank O. Gehry welcomes Paul Goldberger as a sign that the “Eastern Establishment” is finally taking an interest in Los Angeles. Paul Goldberger begins by observing that SCI-Arc is the third architecture school in California he’s lectured at in the last few days “and it’s the only time I’ve felt I was in a vaguely interesting space.” He quotes the warning against “trust in critics” from Byron’s “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,” and warns that his talk will be more about journalism and criticism than architecture. He describes his work situation, which artificially equates him with the dance, drama and film critics, even though “buildings are not entertainment.” He sees his role as articulating the forces behind new and proposed buildings and places. He points out the example of residential developer H. R. Shapiro, who was quoted as saying “Architectural amenities are sheer nonsense” a few months before going bankrupt. Goldberger discusses the problematic building designs of the New York phone company and his hopes that his article on their latest will influence them to reconsider the trajectory of their built works. He discusses the role of government in the design review process, suggesting that a simple massing guideline is not enough, but that a full aesthetic review has dangerous potentials. Goldberger gives an example of successfully using his platform at the Times in 1974 to focus public outrage against Harry Helmsley’s proposal to eviscerate the interiors of McKim, Mead & White’s 1882 townhouse for Henry Villard to accomodate a new luxury hotel designed by Emery Roth. The publicity and subsequent design review process resulted in a new design that preserved the integrity of the Villard house.

 

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