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architecture

Crown Hall and the Yale University Art Gallery

“TO FIND OUT what architecture really is took me fifty years—half a century,” Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once admitted. Now another half century has passed since Mies completed his mature postwar buildings, and a wave of renovations is forcing us to reconsider what exactly he and his contemporaries found architecture to be and how to handle their discoveries. A convergence of age-related need, heightened historical appreciation, and persistent ignorance has produced a mixed record to date: ranging from the salutary reconstruction of Gordon Bunshaft’s Lever House and the conscientious forensic work on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, both in New York, to the unnecessary disfigurement of Alvar Aalto’s Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the controversial redesign of 2 Columbus Circle in New York. But to these can be added exemplary

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