Thu . 19 May 2019

Ada Louise Huxtable

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Ada Louise Huxtable née Landman; March 14, 1921 – January 7, 2013 was an architecture critic and writer on architecture In 1970 she was awarded the first ever Pulitzer Prize for Criticism Architecture critic Paul Goldberger, also a Pulitzer Prize-winner 1984 for architectural criticism, said in 1996: "Before Ada Louise Huxtable, architecture was not a part of the public dialogue" "She was a great lover of cities, a great preservationist and the central planet around which every other critic revolved," said architect Robert A M Stern, dean of the Yale University School of Architecture

The concourse in 1962 of Penn Station, two years before demolition "Not that Penn Station is the Parthenon," Ada Louise Huxtable wrote, "but it might as well be because we can never again afford a nine-acre structure of superbly detailed travertine, any more than we could build one of solid gold It is a monument to the lost art of magnificent construction, other values aside"


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Archive
  • 4 Selected works
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Early life

Huxtable was born and died in New York City Her father, the physician Michael Landman, was co-author with his brother, Rabbi Isaac Landman of the play A Man of Honor Ada Louise Landman received an A B magna cum laude from Hunter College, CUNY in 1941

In 1942, she married industrial designer L Garth Huxtable, and continued graduate study at New York University from 1942 to 1950 From 1950 to 1951 she spent one year in Italy on a scholarship of the US-Italy Fulbright Commission


She served as Curatorial Assistant for Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1946 to 1950 She was a contributing editor to Progressive Architecture and Art in America from 1950 to 1963 before being named the first architecture critic at The New York Times, a post she held from 1963 to 1982 She received grants from the Graham Foundation for a number of projects, including the book Will They Ever Finish Bruckner Boulevard She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1974

She was the architecture critic for The Wall Street Journal, a position she took up in 1997

John Costonis, writing of how public aesthetics is shaped, used her as a prime example of an influential media critic, remarking that "the continuing barrage fired from Sunday column had New York developers, politicians, and bureaucrats, ducking for years" He reproduces a cartoon in which construction workers, at the base of a building site with a foundation and a few girders lament that "Ada Louise Huxtable already doesn't like it!"

Carter Wiseman wrote, "Huxtable's insistence on intellectual rigor and high design standards made her the conscience of the national architectural community"

She wrote over ten books on architecture, including a 2004 biography of Frank Lloyd Wright for the Penguin Lives series She was credited as one of the main forces behind the founding of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965 At the same time, she was a severe critic of fakery in addressing the city's past, writing in 1968: "Nothing beats keeping the old city where it belongs and where its ghosts are at home please, gentlemen, no horse-drawn cars, no costumes, no wigs, no stage sets, no cute-old stores, no 're-creations' that never were, no phony little-old-New York That is perversion, not preservation"

Ada Louise Huxtable's oral biography is included in "Particular Passions: Talk With Women Who Shaped Our Times""


In 2013, the Getty Research Institute announced its acquisition of the Ada Louise Huxtable archive, which spans 1921 through 2013 and includes 93 boxes and 19 file drawers of Huxtable's manuscripts and typescripts, reports, correspondence, and documents, as well as research files full of notes, clippings, photocopies, and, most notably, original photographs of architecture and design by contemporary photographers

Selected works

  • Frank Lloyd Wright: A Life 2008 ISBN 9780143114291
  • On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change 2008 ISBN 9780802717078
  • The Unreal America: Architecture and Illusion 1999 ISBN 9781565840553
  • The Tall Building Artistically Reconsidered, a history of the skyscraper 1993 ISBN 9780394537733
  • Will They Ever Finish Bruckner Boulevard, a collection of material appearing in The New York Times 1989
  • Kicked A Building Lately 1989 ISBN 9780520062078 first published in 1976
  • Architecture, Anyone Cautionary Tales of the Building Art 1988 ISBN 9780394529097
  • Goodbye History, Hello Hamburger: An Anthology of Architectural Delights and Disasters 1986 ISBN 9780891331193
  • What the Critic Sees: Ada Louise Huxtable and Her Legacy on YouTube Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times architecture critic, examines her career and legacy


  1. ^ Dunlap, David W January 7, 2013 "Ada Louise Huxtable, Champion of Livable Architecture, Dies at 91" The New York Times Retrieved January 7, 2013 
  2. ^ a b c Miller, Stephen January 8, 2013, "Lover of Cities Was Dean of Architecture Critics", The Wall Street Journal, p A6, retrieved January 7, 2013 
  3. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter H" PDF American Academy of Arts and Sciences Retrieved July 29, 2014 
  4. ^ Costonis, John J 1989 Icons and Aliens University of Illinois Press p 53 ISBN 0-252-01553-3 
  5. ^ Wiseman, Carter 2000 Twentieth-Century American Architecture W W Norton & Company ISBN 0-393-32054-5 
  6. ^ Bernstein, Adam January 7, 2013 "Ada Louise Huxtable, Pulitzer-winning architecture critic, dies at 91" The Washington Post Retrieved January 7, 2013 
  7. ^ Copied from a plaque at South Street Seaport, New York, April 2015
  8. ^ Gilbert, Lynn December 10, 2012 Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times New York City: Lynn Gilbert Inc ISBN 978-1-61061-261-6 
  9. ^ Hawthorne, Christopher January 7, 2013 "Noted architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable is dead at 91" Los Angeles Times Retrieved January 7, 2013 
  10. ^ "Ada Louise Huxtable Archive" Getty Research Institute Retrieved February 11, 2014 

External links

  • Tribute to Ada Louise Huxtable, a speech by Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New Yorker
  • Ada Louise Huxtable interviewed on Charlie Rose
  • Obituary German in Berliner Zeitung by Nikolaus Bernau
  • Finding aid for the Ada Louise Huxtable papers at the Getty Research Institute
  • Finding aid for the L Garth Huxtable papers, 1913-2012 at the Getty Research Institute

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