Herbert Muschamp: 1947-2007

Legendary New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp passed away late Tuesday night. He had been battling cancer; Muschamp was 59 and was architecture critic at the Gray Lady until 2004. Memo from EIC Bill Keller and Sam Sifton after the jump.


I’m saddened to report that Herbert Muschamp died late last night at Mt. Sinai, after a fierce and unpleasant battle with cancer. He was 59.

Like many of you, I considered Herbert a friend. His eye and his gift with words made him a source of joy for readers. There will be much more to say, but for the moment I can’t improve on a message from Sam Sifton:

Herbert was architecture critic for The Times from 1992 to 2004; his wide-ranging, often deeply personal reviews made him one of the most influential critics of his generation. He was more lately a columnist for the T style magazines, an occasional contributor to Arts & Leisure and, seated at his regular table at The Odeon downtown, a stern and hilarious adviser to editors past and present.

More elaborate reports of Herbert’s talents will follow soon, as well as information about services. But in the meantime, read Herbert’s kicker to a review of Santiago Calatrava‘s design for a building at 80 South Street, written in 2004:

“A city is never more fully human than when expertise — our own or someone else’s — allows us access to ebullience, lightness and delight.”

That ought to serve as a reminder of what his own, expert, exuberant, brilliant work did for this city, and for readers of The Times all over the world. His obituary, by Nicolai Ouroussoff, will appear online later today and in tomorrow’s print editions.