Sarah Goldhagen

Sarah Williams Goldhagen teaches architectural history and theory at
the Harvard Design School and is the author of Louis Kahn's Situated Modernism.

Recent Articles

Kool Houses, Kold Cities

E ven if you don't like to shop, go to the intersection of Broadway and Prince streets in SoHo to witness, and become part of, the spectacle of Prada's recently opened flagship store. The design by Rem Koolhaas is architecture at its most electrifying (and electrified) brilliance. Rumored to have cost $40 million, or approximately $1,700 per square foot, Koolhaas's renovation of the bottom two stories of the now-defunct SoHo Guggenheim -- work that Miuccia Prada and Koolhaas fatuously claim will help to "redefine the experience of shopping" -- is crackling with innovative ideas, outrageous compositional gestures, and high-technology theatrics. It reaffirms the Pritzker Prize-winning Koolhaas, founder and chief architect of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), as our greatest contemporary architect (at least in terms of vision, virtuosity, and flat-out creativity). Walk into this relatively typical SoHo brick-and-cast-iron building and you are greeted by deliberate cacophony...

Architecture: Boring Buildings

N ow that the World Trade Center towers are gone, will Tony Soprano still glance at them in his side-view mirror as he drives home on the New Jersey Turnpike? Or will The Sopranos' producers have him looking back at the now denuded skyline of Manhattan--at the squat residential towers of Battery Park City, all dressed up in frills and pink veneer? Not likely. The twin towers were that rare entity in the American architectural fabric: a good, perhaps even a great, work of architecture. Everyone knows that few of the other towers on the southwestern tip of Manhattan are any match for what was lost. The towers' destruction has brought home something that perhaps had not been so obvious before: how critically important buildings are not only to our aesthetic sensibilities but also to our public and communal lives. Minoru Yamasaki's soaring World Trade Center towers, finished in 1973, were the indisputable icon--sometimes beloved, sometimes vilified, but always unavoidable--of America's...