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On the Duty and Power of Architectural Criticism, in black, and orange font, to white cover, by Park Books.

On the Duty and Power of Architectural Criticism

Proceeds of the International Conference on Architectural Criticism 2021

Edited by Wilfried Wang


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  • A rich collection of essays that offer essential, independent voices on architecture criticism in a highly challenging media environment
  • Provides concrete case studies for future generations of architectural critics
  • All essays elucidate both a cohesive ethical and methodological approach with reference to a built edifice
  • Independent architectural criticism is under much pressure due to the ongoing changes in the media world, where traditional print media are losing influence to online platforms
  • Online platforms increasingly charge authors for prominent placement of their content and rarely carry critical texts, while architects themselves avoid evaluating colleagues' work for fear of reprisals
Full Description

Should architectural criticism be enlightening? Should it help in the creation of a better built environment? Is there a factual basis to it? Does it have a duty to present evidence in the evaluation of a building? Or should it take on what architects say about their designs? In the context of a flat internet, should architectural criticism be able to define best practices? Does it wield the power over who is in and who is out?

Architectural criticism, like all human endeavours, is at a crucial juncture. While serious architecture struggles for recognition, much so-called architectural criticism is merely a poorly paid, decorative legitimation for hyperbolic practice. Incisive architectural criticism is rare, while the definition of criticism itself has become opaque.

The 2021 International Conference on Architecture Criticism has gathered exceptional papers that define the purposes and methods of architectural criticism: What should be the ethical basis of architectural criticism? Can it be objective in the context of paid content? Should it outline ideal practices? Or what else should it do? All contributions in this book address either the duty or the power of architectural criticism. In both cases, the authors offer the outline of one analysis of an existing building.

About the Author

Wilfried Wang is an architect, critic and historian, and the O'Neil Ford Centennial Professor in Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin.

Look Inside
Park Books
23rd Feb 2023
Paperback / softback
World excluding Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, United States, Canada, and Japan
270 mm x 190 mm
320 Pages
256 color, 80 b&w
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