Q & A


With a few exceptions, 1996 will not go down as a particularly good year for noteworthy new buildings. A glance around New York City would seem to suggest that great facades are things of the past. From the showrooms of Versace, Diesel, and Calvin Klein to the translucent peekaboo shower stalls at nearly every gymnasium, architecture seems increasingly to be an indoor sport, but one worth playing. In the art world, architecture and its attendant modes of representation materialize in the gallery—and, with seemingly greater frequency, break out of its white walls altogether. Think of Andrea Zittel’s motor homes and Jorge Pardo’s freestanding houses.

Across the American landscape, intellectuals-at-large compulsively mourn the death of public space while Starbucks is almost single-handedly saving public life with uncomfortable chairs and damn good coffee. On the big screen, in films like

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