Responses Upon Responses: More Vanity Fair ‘World Architecture Survey’ Talk


The high-profile discussion about Vanity Fair‘s already much talked about “World Architecture Survey” continues. Following Blair Kamin‘s write up about it in the Tribune, where he complained that not only did the survey neglect to include any green buildings, one of the writers involved had been quoted saying that green architecture just wasn’t up to snuff yet, which got Kamin’s goat. Architect magazine responded by conducting their own survey, putting together the “Top Green Buildings Since 1980” and the “Top Green Buildings Since 2000.” This survey made the critic Christopher Hawthorne feel the need to reply to all of this, saying perhaps the most important thing to remember with any “best of” list: that it doesn’t mean anything. He also says a lot of other good things, adding that it’s just too simple a method of looking at architecture in general, but that’s the take home, should you have found yourself steamed about any of this. Last, while Hawthorne was putting together his response, Vanity Fair‘s Matt Pressman was publishing a response to Architect‘s response. Beyond repeatedly calling Architect magazine “Architecture, their response quickly labels everyone who disagreed with their survey as “greenies” (in what feels very much like a derogatory sense) and then goes on to say (loosely paraphrasing here) that they only saw a couple nominations of the greenies’ buildings on their survey, so how great could they be. Oh, except they do like Renzo Piano and have written about him in the past, so he’s cool. Personally, we’re with Hawthorne in not caring a lick about “Top #” lists of any kind, but what an odd response from Vanity Fair. Though maybe they’re acting smart and just trying to stoke the flames to keep cashing in on all this recent attention.