Some big news out of Architectural Record this week. Longtime former architecture critic and arts editor at Newsweek, Cathleen McGuigan, has signed on to become the magazine’s new editor-in-chief, effective at the end of this month. We’ve long been fans of McGuigan, having publicly professed our crush on her back in 2008 not once but twice in the same year (one for her writing a piece about the troubles surrounding green architecture and another for her, or her staff, deciding to include UnBeige in Newsweek‘s special issue on design, which was in of itself a terrific read), and of course generally admiring all of her other stellar work over the years. Her hiring seems like a great refresh for AR, considering the recent slew of not-fantastic news (the AIA’s leaving to join up with rival Architect as their official magazine and former editor-in-chief Robery Ivy sudden exit to go head the AIA) outshining the positive stuff, like the magazine’s iPad app. So of all the many applicants who likely saw our post about the position being open, we’re pleased as punch that it went to McGuigan. Here’s a bit about why she’s more than a little qualified:
McGuigan, a Michigan native, comes to the company with more than three decades of cultural journalism experience. After earning an English degree, with a minor in art history, from Brown University, she joined Newsweekin 1977 as a researcher and reporter for the magazine’s art critic. She rose up through the ranks, becoming a senior editor in 1992, a demanding position that entailed overseeing a weekly arts section and managing a staff of a dozen writers and reporters. That same year, she earned a Loeb Fellowship from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. In 2008, McGuigan left the full-time staff of Newsweek and became a contributor to the magazine.
In recent years, McGuigan has worked as a consultant for various clients, including the U.S. Institute of Peace (while it was building a new headquarters designed by Moshe Safdie) and the Syracuse University School of Architecture. She also served as an executive editor of HQ: Good Design Is Good Business, a McGraw-Hill pilot project. Her articles have appeared in venerable publications, such as The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, and Harper’s Bazaar. Presently, she is conducting research for a biography of the critic Aline Saarinen.