I agree with Blair Kamin that Mies van der Rohe’s Test Cell is ugly. Personally – and I am a rank, uncultured philistine as far as architecture goes – I’m not particularly fond of IIT or Mies van der Rohe, whose buildings I associate with fuck-you money and bureaucracy. Which I know is not his point, but death of the author etc.
However: Edward Lifson writes compellingly about the destruction of the Test Cell. He cares so much I’m sad they’re tearing it down on that basis alone. Granted, this gives me the fantods:
“Both campuses [IIT and Jefferson’s UVA] are original and great compositions of, and well ahead of, their times. Both men used architecture to foster an Enlightenment agenda* and to elevate members of society through education, beauty, harmonic proportions and to rhapsodize on the relation of the individual to the whole— all to form better democratic citizens.”
… but if you want to know how an expert thinks about architecture, it’s fascinating and maybe even convincing to people whose hearts are slightly less hard than mine. He’s definitely right about the Donkey Kong thing.
* This reminds me of the time one of my friends programmed a professor’s office copy of Word to auto-replace “Enlightenment” with “liberal conspiracy.”