Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Slate Corrects - And Yet - NOT Corrects - Witold Rybczynski Architectural Blunders!

Correction, Nov. 2, 2006: This article originally identified the Californian architectural movement represented by Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Craig Ellwood as taking place during the 1960s. It is more accurate to locate it in the 1950s. (Return to the corrected sentence.)
Witold Rybczynski is Slate's architecture critic.

To begin with, while the mention of the correction was made on November 2nd - it took several days after that before the article was actually corrected. Second, only one of the architects - Craig Ellwood - was part of the 1950's movement; the other two did influence that decade, though, but that was due to their work done earlier than the 1950's. Richard Neutra's actual breakthough decade was the ... 1920's.... and his most innovative work was done from 1920's until the 1940's. And Charles and Ray Eames's careers as architects ended in ... 1949. They did not have a single structure of any import built in the 1950's.

Far worse, though, is Rybczynski's uncorrected (and probably unthinking, dashed off with any thought) statement that West Coast cities such as Los Angeles lacked the architectural tradition that cities such as... Boston... had; a statement I can not imagine any creditable architectural historian even saying with a straight face, much less try to defend.

That statement of his is pure, unadultered bullshit and if Rybczynski does not realize this in quiet retrospect and if he still refuses to correct it, he probably should not be writing about architecture.

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