March 13, 2015












I originally wrote this post in October of 2014. I am reposting it now, with minor edits, in acknowledgment of Michael Graves' passing today.


After achieving fame in the 1970s as a Modernist with just a few extra pastel shades in his otherwise white Modernis...

January 28, 2015

Bob Kollar asks, "I have an architectural question that has been bugging me for a while–perhaps you can shed some light on this mystery. What ever happened to the antefixes surrounding the roofline of the Carnegie Museum in Oakland? Any idea when/why they were removed?...

October 31, 2014

Jože Plečnik. We say the name infrequently, but always in revered tones. In one of those few but memorable conversations with Michael Graves, (whom I consider a substantive but problematic and flawed architect) he said that Henry Hornbostel was an architect who reminde...

October 30, 2014


Delirious New York is still one of the best books on architecture, not least for its Jules Verne quality. It’s not simply an old-timey book about the future, it’s a book that includes investigations into old-timey views of the future, or at least the hyper-optimistic...

October 29, 2014

I went with a friend to the Baths of Caracalla on a splendid summer day in 1997. We were walking through the ruins, contemplating their vastness in both size and time. You could add influence to that list. I remember vividly. Kathy was talking about a book about people...

October 28, 2014

My tribute to the portrait gallery is, ironically enough, a lost portrait. Susan and I were there a few summers ago, and we took in all kinds of art and architecture. I can remember the great pleasures of sightseeing together with a vividness that is accompanied by the...

October 27, 2014

Soldiers’ and Sailors, Henry Hornbostel’s competition winning design is a real gem. Yet, I believe that, like so many other buildings, maybe all of them, it is not well understood. It gets to some of the classic misunderstandings of Beaux Arts architecture that engage...

October 26, 2014


People talk about the architectural gesture, but Frank Gehry has hit a new level of directness with the middle finger he displayed in a recent press conference, which is ricocheting through the internet at great speed.  It’s high grade click bait, not least because it...

October 25, 2014

Born in 1632, Christopher Wren is best known as the architect of St. Paul’s in London, itself a complex intersection of rationalist geometries, structural sleights of hand, and classical facades concealing Gothic plans and techniques. For that matter, St. Stephen’s Wal...

October 24, 2014


Vincent Scully is just a man, but there are those who revere him as some kind of deity. The now-retired, long-time historian of art and architecture at Yale gave famous lectures of great emotional energy and spiritual implication. Pacing back and forth on the stage of...

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Michael Graves 1934-2015

March 13, 2015

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Charles L. Rosenblum

blog about architecture, the built environment, and visual arts