Thursday, December 25, 2008
Out since October, Ada Louise Huxtable's ON ARCHITECTURE: COLLECTED REFLECTIONS ON A CENTURY OF CHANGE arrived outside of the radar of the Rudolph lens.
While pouring through decades of writings for New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, she made several hard decisions, but perhaps timely ones as well. Included is an article she wrote in late of 1972 for the Times: "The Building You Love to Hate". While this could seem vague and apply to a myriad of Rudolph's buildings, this one refers to the corduroy bad boy of New Haven.
A title good enough to theme this month's Yale Alumni Magazine as well:
Ms. Huxtable set the tone decades ago, (after the A+A's first 'rebirth') and the building has perhaps lived up to her review. Beginning with the disclaimer that "this is a bit of revisionist history" (sound familiar?) she defines the building as a supersymbol riding the wave of public sentiment and falling from grace.
Nearly as relevant, and perhaps applicable throughout the volume, is her introduction. While her reprints are hand picked, and re-arranged for new meaning in their assembly, and distance from original date of publication, the true reflecting is in the introduction.
"What is truly fascinating is the way reputations have gone up and down over the years...if you wait long enough, what is admired will be relegated to history's dustbin, and if you wait even longer, it will be rescued and restored." (Apparently a second time).
Her wisdom cautions that although she found it 'extraordinary' then and still today, she is happy to bring up the building's 'flaws' which persist. Hopefully this renovation is the one to stick, and our future generations can reain placated with the paprika carpet- its cave like feel and its other endearing graces to not retaliate against the structure itself again.
But, if they do, we are ready with a response from Ms. Huxtable which will be just as relevant if that day ever comes.
To grab yourself a copy, ORDER AMAZON or ORDER BARNES & NOBLE