Mark Wigley

  • Zaha Hadid in front of her Phaeno Science Center, 2005, Wolfsburg, Germany, November 23, 2005. Photo: Jochen Luebke/AFP/Getty Images.

    Zaha Hadid

    I remember when I first started doing the interpretation of Malevich’s Tektoniks. I was ill—I had bronchitis and I was in bed for three months. I saw Elia once or twice but really evolved that project on my own. . . . All these things added to my confidence, which is very important. You have to be confident to pursue certain things.

    —Zaha Hadid, 1983

    ZAHA HADID unsettled the field of architecture. Her gift was to provoke a kind of immune response, an inflammation that never subsided. Indeed, architecture unwittingly reshaped itself in trying to resist her challenge to the defaults of


    IN JUST A FEW YEARS, the first works of modern architecture will be one hundred years old. The modern will officially become antique. Hardly a surprise: The new has long been old. Indeed, for more than fifty years there have been attempts to preserve key works of modern architecture against the effects of time. Permanent physical and legal defenses have been erected against decay, renovation, addition, and demolition. More and more of the surviving buildings are being meticulously restored to their original condition and cleaned for viewing by ever-increasing waves of architectural tourists.

  • Philip Johnson

    PHILIP JOHNSON is not gone. The “godfather” of American architecture keeps producing the same excesses of praise and criticism that he attracted his whole life. It was his special gift always to be able to elicit this intense yet ambivalent reaction. From the moment in January 1931 that he was asked to direct an exhibition at MoMA at the precocious age of twenty-four until his recent death not quite four months after he retired at the daunting age of ninety-eight, Johnson rattled institutions and ideas. To his credit, he is unlikely to be treated kindly in official memory.

    There was always as


    SINCE ITS FOUNDING IN 1929, The Museum of Modern Art in New York has been a beacon of modernism, acting as a singular advocate and home for some of the most significant works of art made over the last 125 years. Although scores of museums devoted to modern and contemporary art have sprung up around the world, for many of us MoMA will always be the Museum of Modern Art, indisputably worthy of the definite article preceding its name. But with this preeminence comes a heightened level of scrutiny, and one of MoMA’s most important functions—along with the presentation of its incomparable collection

  • Reyner Banham

    IT REMAINS A REMARKABLE FACT that the academic history of modern architecture was launched by someone who obsessed about the tail fins on automobiles, the fur lining of Jane Fonda’s spacecraft in Barbarella, the paintwork on ice-cream vans, and the plastic knobs on transistor radios. After decades of self-congratulatory writing by an army of promoters about the supposedly functional mode of building, Peter Reyner Banham rode in on a fold-up bicycle to demystify modern architecture. It had apparently only pretended to be modern, frivolously flirting with the new technologies that should have