Wednesday, October 03, 2007

NYT critic Herbert Muschamp dies
Herbert Muschamp, architecture critic of the New York Times from 1992-2004, died on Tuesday. Muschamp, 59, died from a "fierce and unpleasant battle with [lung] cancer," according to Times Editor-in-Chief Bill Keller.

In an obituary posted to the NYT website, architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff called Muschamp "one of the most influential architecture critics of his generation" thanks to his "wildly ranging, often deeply personal reviews."

In 1999, Muschamp wrote about arriving in Bilbao, Spain to see --- what else? --- Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao and bumping into the architect outside his hotel. Gehry asked Muschamp if he wanted to check out the building with him.

"That was not what I'd had in mind," Muschamp wrote. "I love to arrive in a new town and just walk around, letting impressions sink in, before heading off to inspect a new building. But this was an occasion to let the unexpected happen: the designer of this museum, a building already celebrated months before it opened, also walking around by himself, checking the impressions his work made from different parts of the city -- streets, angles, distances.

"Anyway, how do you answer a question like that? Look at the building? What building? Oh, no, I came to Bilbao because somebody recommended the local variety of blood sausage, or because I'm interested in Basque separatism."

To read that 1999 article, click here.

Do you have a favorite Muschamp memory? If so, share it with Building Minnesota readers.

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