Hilary Ballon

Hilary Ballon is professor of art history at Columbia University and the editor of The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Recent Articles

The Urban Future That Failed

The failure of modernism as public architecture and as urbanism.

From a Cause to a Style: Modernist Architecture's Encounter with the American City by Nathan Glazer (Princeton University Press, 292 pages, $24.95) --- Nathan Glazer's new book is a reminder of how distant even the recent past can seem. From a Cause to a Style collects 11 essays that were mostly written in the 1990s yet continue to reflect a disillusionment with modernist architecture rooted in the 1960s. A sociologist long interested in urban planning, Glazer has two primary concerns: the twin failures of modernism as public architecture and as urbanism. Observers of the contemporary scene will encouragingly note that architecture has learned from modernism's mistakes and moved on. Given his commitment to the social agenda of architecture, Glazer might well be heartened by the goals of landscape urbanism and other new approaches to urban design. These essays are productively read as historical responses to a bygone era, not as fresh responses to recent trends. Nevertheless, the core...