In case you missed it, we highly recommend catching PBS‘ documentary Benjamin Latrobe: America’s First Architect, which premiered last night, but will likely be repeated throughout the month. We give it our official thumbs up because, well, it’s interesting and educational and it certainly couldn’t hurt you to watch something of some redeeming value from time to time (we’ve seen what’s on your DVR and it ain’t pretty), but also because the whole thing is hosted by the New Yorker‘s resident architecture critic, Paul Goldberger, who you should all be madly in love with. If Benjamin Latrobe is “America’s First Architect,” then Goldberger should be the “First Critic of American Architecture Who You Should Read.” He’s great in it and we were very happy to see and hear him, instead his usual existence as a bunch of words on a page. Oh, and also, Latrobe’s a pretty interesting guy too:
Latrobe, who lived from 1764 to 1820, is well-known for his work on the central portions of the United States Capitol building; the design of the Baltimore Basilica, the first Catholic Cathedral built in the United States; and his designs for the White House porticos. His influence on the nation’s capital also included serving as the chief surveyor for the Washington Canal; designing St. John’s Episcopal Church, Decatur House and the main gate of the Washington Navy Yard; and consulting on the construction of the Washington Bridge across the Potomac River. Other distinguished works by him include the Bank of Pennsylvania and the Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia.