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Ten True Zingers From Outgoing Archi-Critic Paul Goldberger

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The New Yorker's esteemed and longtime architecture critic Paul Goldberger is leaving for a position at Vanity Fair. According to the Architect's Newspaper, which first broke the story, Goldberger will assume a contributing editor role and continue to report on architecture, design, and urban planning while working on his Frank Gehry biography (an undertaking he's openly called "a shit load of work"). All fierce Twitter rants about Steve Jobs aside, many would argue his tenure at the New Yorker, which began in 1997, was overall diplomatic, enthusiastic, and fair, at times filled with macro-commentary that doesn't necessarily take a dominant position one way or the other. Still, critics are critics and so in light of his departure, here are 10 of his best—harshest, that is—zingers from his epically massive oeuvre (and feel free to add anything that's missing in the comments):

On Norman Foster's new Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.: "Like everything Foster does, it will be sleek and impeccably detailed, but who wants to work in a gigantic donut?" [Sept. 2011]

On the 2003 shooting at Frank Gehry's Peter B. Lewis Building at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland: "For people who had little patience for Gehry, the shootings were confirmation that this was an architectural approach that was up to no good, and even, perhaps, a reminder that God never meant for people to live in buildings with funny, curvy shapes." [Feb. 2009]

On SANAA's New Museum in NYC: "When you get near, however, the mystery is lost. You see that Sejima and Nishizawa have performed their magic with routine elements, and when you stand right in front of the building its metal mesh looks harsh, even abrasive. Once the museum opens, next month, the effect may be more welcoming: the ground floor is sheathed entirely in glass, and a gallery and bookstore will be visible from the street. At the moment, the museum is enticing from afar but off-putting up close." [Nov. 2007]

On the Burj Khalifa in Dubai: "The tower, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is a fairly serious piece of architecture, but since almost everything else in Dubai is built for consumption and entertainment, the Burj Khalifa and its troubles are being viewed that way, too. The tale of a hundred-and-sixty-story tower that the world never really needed, and that now can’t seem to be made to work right, isn’t fall-on-the-floor hilarious, but nobody seems to view it as particularly tragic, either." [Feb. 2010]

On 1 World Trade Center in NYC: "Now named 1 World Trade Center, it is a banal building designed, it would seem, more by security consultants than by its architect, David Childs, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill." [Sept. 2009]

On Renzo Piano's new New York Times building in NYC: "With its sea of cubicles partitioned by wood-veneer cabinets, it is vastly more sophisticated than any workplace the Times has ever had, but sleekness has brought a certain chill (though the effect will be pleasanter when the birch trees go into the still unfinished courtyard). You also don’t get much sense that anyone has really rethought the idea of the newsroom in the electronic age." [Aug. 2007]

On the pre-renovation Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in NYC: "Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center’s main venue for chamber music and recitals, was supposed to be its most conspicuous public element, but the entrance was half hidden behind a stairway that led up to a bleak, windswept plaza. It was also separated from the street by a small, virtually useless triangular plaza, a result of the insistence by the architects, Pietro Belluschi and Eduardo Catalano, on a rectangular building, even though the site, facing the diagonal of Broadway, was a trapezoid." [Feb. 2009]

On Paul Andreu's National Center of the Performing Arts in Beijing: "It’s an ovoid of reflective glass set in an artificial lake and designed to look as if it were floating on water; there isn’t even a door, lest the purity of its shape be disturbed. You descend to a sunken plaza beside the pool, walk through a tunnel under the water, and ride up an escalator to find yourself inside the ovoid. There’s excitement in being under a huge, curving roof that shelters three different halls, but, in general, the entrance, striving for high drama, comes off as silly and cumbersome." [June 2008]

On the new Yankee Stadium: "The new Yankee Stadium, designed by the architectural firm HOK Sport, is effectively an attempt to atone for the brutal 1973 renovation of Ruppert’s building, which removed the historic ambience without adding much in the way of modern amenities. [...] It has tried hard, very hard, to make us think of its predecessor, with sumptuous architectural effects that have the self-important air of a new courthouse built to look as if it had been there since William Howard Taft was President." [March 2009]

On Norman Foster's Harmon Hotel at CityCenter in Las Vegas: "Foster, the most refined of all modernists, seems not to have known how to deal with the Las Vegas environment, and was content to cover a formally uninteresting, modem-shaped building with several shades of reflective glass, a gesture that aims for flamboyance but comes off seeming a little halfhearted." [Oct. 2010]

· Breaking: Goldberger Departing New Yorker; Bound For Vanity Fair [Arch Paper]
· T-Squared Off: With Paul Goldberger Leaving for Vanity Fair, Is This the End of Architecture Criticism at The New Yorker? [New York Observer]