‘Times’ Architecture Critic Herbert Muschamp Dies

Photo: Patrick McMullan



Herbert Muschamp, the dizzyingly erudite, frequently revelatory, occasionally mystifying former architecture critic of the New York Times, has died of cancer at 59. To many regular readers, he was a breakfast sparring partner, dispensing opinions that ranged from the wise to the outrageous and at times getting so carried away with an idea that it was difficult to follow him into the rarefied terrain of his thoughts. He wrote vivid, kinetic prose, as in this memorably swashbuckling lede from a 2003 review of Frank Gehry’s Richard B. Fisher Center at Bard: “Inside many a thin building is a fat one straining to get out.” Muschamp acted as a whimsical guide, discerning metaphors in concrete and steel, finding literary analogues to architecture and generally imbuing what we clumsily call the “built environment” with a poetry its makers did not always recognize themselves. —Justin Davidson

Herbert Muschamp, Architecture Critic, Dies at 59 [NYT]