Author Archives: John Massengale

Inexpressive Interiors – The Other Kind

MANY ARCHITECTURE SCHOOLS in the northeast have become more like art schools than architecture schools. They emphasize conceptual “autonomous” architecture and personal expression, and neglect materials, construction, composition, context, placemaking… the list goes on and on. When I was on … Continue reading

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Posted in Architecture, The Other Kind | 2 Comments

Monument of the Day

Firemen’s Memorial, Harold Van Buren Magonigle and Attilio Piccirilli, Riverside Drive at 100th Street, 1913. THE FIRST YEAR AFTER 9/11, New York firemen started an unofficial memorial service at the Firemen’s Memorial on Riverside Drive. Small at first, it has grown … Continue reading

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Posted in Architecture, Beauty, Classical, Current, Good Kind, New York, Street of the Day | Leave a comment

Occupy Main Street

Great Barrington’s Main Street should be a place where place people want to get out of their cars to shop, eat, and socialize—under a majestic canopy made with tall trees. That’s not what State DOTs build, however. This story originally … Continue reading

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Occupy Main Street (from the Berkshire Record)

Download the PDF Occupy Main Street (@ blog.massengale.com) The MassDOT Chainsaw Massacre MassDOT Mistake: How Not To Rebuild Main Street Street Design in the Berkshire Record The Berkshire Record

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Posted in Architecture, Beauty, Current, New England, Pedestrian, Street Design, Urbanism | 2 Comments

NYC DOT Shared Streets: Lower Manhattan THIS SATURDAY

THE NYC DOT’S SHARED STREETS: LOWER MANHATTAN will take place Saturday, August 13  as part of the annual Summer Streets program. Frankly, it looks like the weather will not be good, but the rain will come and go, and this … Continue reading

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Posted in Current, Good Kind, New York, Pedestrian, Slow Streets, Street Design, Urbanism, Walkability | 2 Comments

Quote of the Day: “A uniquely frightening moment in American life”

“It is the essence of fascism to have no single fixed form—an attenuated form of nationalism in its basic nature, it naturally takes on the colors and practices of each nation it infects. In Italy, it is bombastic and neoclassical … Continue reading

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Quote of the Day: Good Design

“As I’ve gotten older I’ve become less and less interested in novelty or cleverness as a really important attribute of good design. It’s disconcerting when you do this sort of work to see what kinds of things have truly endured, … Continue reading

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The Biggest Cornices in New York

Above & Below: Astor Court, 209 West 89th St, Charles Platt, 1915. Below: United States Rubber Building, 1790 Broadway, Carrère & Hastings, 1912. The Residential and Commercial Champions. Leave suggestions in the comments if you have alternative candidates.

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Attempting to answer now and forever the claims of English cyclists that the Amsterdam streets like the one on the cover of “Street Design” are not “shared space” because they are “filtered” or….

Moved to streets-book.com: http://bit.ly/sssettle. Seemingly every time I say something about shared space on Twitter, one or more English cyclists pop up to say “That’s not shared space.” Let’s settle this once and for all, without the character count limits of Twitter … Continue reading

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Posted in Slow Streets, Street Design, Urbanism | Comments Off on Attempting to answer now and forever the claims of English cyclists that the Amsterdam streets like the one on the cover of “Street Design” are not “shared space” because they are “filtered” or….

Urban Design: The Good Kind & the Other Kind

WE ALL UNDERSTAND why so many normal, rational New Yorkers can act like NIMBYs—because we’ve all seen alien, intrusive development in New York like Billionaire Row and Atlantic Yards. Recent developments at the American Museum of Natural History brought this … Continue reading

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Posted in Architecture, Beauty, Classical, Culture, Current, Egotecture, Good Kind, New Urbanism, New York, The Other Kind, Urbanism | Leave a comment

Leon Wieseltier on Modern Cliches

IF you apply for a grant today and want to be successful, you’d better use the words “innovate” and “innovative” in your proposal. In art and architecture, words like “challenging,” “transgressive,” and “disruptive” are among the most used. So I … Continue reading

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Posted in Architecture, Beauty, Craft, Culture, Current, Egotecture, Global, New York, Quote of the Day, The Other Kind, Urbanism | Tagged | 1 Comment

Form Follows Fashion

WE ALL UNDERSTAND that in architecture Modernism has promoted the expression of industrial materials. For one hundred years, its proponents have declared that Modernism is not a style but a rational, modern way of building. Last week, I happened to … Continue reading

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Posted in Architecture, Beauty, Classical, Culture, Current, The Other Kind | 1 Comment

We Moved

To the Broadway Chambers @ 277 Broadway, on the corner of Chambers Street—Cass Gilbert’s first building in New York City. Here’s the view from my desk:

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Posted in Architecture, Beauty, Classical, Craft, Good Kind, Materials, New York, Personal | Leave a comment

The Best Smelling Lobby In New York

YOU CAN FIND some of the best bread and pastries in New York in this Tribeca office building lobby—and in the year 2016, that’s saying a lot. The story is that a New Yorker who’s roamed the world learning how … Continue reading

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Posted in Architecture, Beauty, Classical, Craft, Culture, Current, Good Kind, New York | 1 Comment

New Rules for the New Year in New York

Any new building in New York City taller than the Empire State Building must be more beautiful than the Empire State Building. Any buildings receiving public subsidy, tax benefits, or increased FAR must be approved by the local Community Board, … Continue reading

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To Stop Pedestrian Deaths NYC Must Change How it Builds Streets

From CITYLIMITS.ORG: November 13th—Friday the 13th—marked the 13th day in a row that a pedestrian died on a New York City Street, all killed by cars or buses going too fast. They were among the 19 pedestrian deaths in the … Continue reading

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Posted in Beauty, Current, New Urbanism, New York, Pedestrian, Slow Streets, Street Design, Urbanism, Walkability | Leave a comment

For those who celebrate Christmas

It doesn’t get much better than this: High Perpendicular English Gothic, Renaissance woodwork, a Rubens altarpiece, and this:

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