Arch Rags on the Skids

Slate has a good piece about why architecture magazines have hit the skids, with only Architectural Record surviving into the 21st century.

You are more likely to find tough architectural criticism in the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, and The New Yorker than in any of the major architecture magazines.

The public’s growing fascination with architecture over the last two decades might have saved architecture magazines, except that they were read only by practitioners. It wasn’t always so. … If architecture magazines had maintained their coverage of housing and planning, they might have found more important social roles—and more readers. Instead, they became cheerleaders for an increasingly marginalized profession. …


Slate points to a promising new pub, Architect, which seems to be signaling a different direction from glossy photos of starchitect buildings by — gasp — putting a human being on the cover, and a not-famous one at that. I haven’t had the opportunity to check it out yet, but a letter from the editor certainly sounds promising:

The old-school method of architectural journalism is all about the building review, a story type with a fixed kit of parts: 1,000 words or so of muted criticism, a few presentation drawings, and a suite of photographs taken at sunrise or sunset, with no people in the way. …

Architectural journalism can serve the profession better by voicing the complexities, values, and concerns of the discipline itself. … ARCHITECT will portray architecture from multiple perspectives, not just as a succession of high-profile projects, glowingly photographed and critiqued, but as a technical and creative process, and as a community.

Sign me up.

5 Responses to Arch Rags on the Skids

  1. MilesB says:

    dwell magazine has been covering modern architecture, contemporary home design, and modern living for 6-7 years now and they’re still going strong, adhering to their Fruit Bowl Manifesto. A great pub with a good sense of scale.

  2. Yes, Slate makes that point. But in terms of architecture publications, Dwell is not that. It’s a lifestyle mag. Arch Record is really the only one left.

  3. Shin-pei says:

    Is Architect the new iteration of Architecture magazine? I just had to renew someone’s subscription to Architecture magazine and it kept taking me to Architect. Does anyone know?

  4. john says:

    Progressive Architecture was becoming a very good magazine twenty years ago, so one of the architecture mags (I forget if it was Wretched or Archit), bought it and put it out of business.

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