Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Exhausted Butt End of the Modernist Movement?

The New York Sun today discusses the reconstituted Kaufman Center but within the article discusses the architecture of Roosevelt Island:

Mr. Bhavnani is not from the Soviet Union but from India, and the only other projects associated with his name in New York are Island House and Rivercross, on Roosevelt Island. There is a certain suggestiveness to his being associated with that community: Just as Lincoln Center is New York's foremost architectural artifact of the 1960s, such is the status that, for better or worse, Roosevelt Island occupied in the decade that followed. Usually insipid to one degree or another, the architecture there, by Jose Luis Sert, Philip Johnson, and others, represents the exhausted butt end of the Modern movement.


I submitted a comment to the article which approximately stated the following:

I will not try to defend the designs of the buildings built on Roosevelt Island when they wewre erected in the 1970’s just because I live there as I have no knowledge of architecture. But somehow I feel I should be defending something after my home has been referred to as “the exhausted butt end of the modernist movement”. I feel so violated


  1. they didn't mean the island per se - they meant the BUILDINGS. and they are right; the buildings here are the dregs of that post-war modernist/internationalist utopian vision, wherein people are tiny squiggles that are merely tolerated by the genius of the architect's pure work... boiled down even further, of course, by lowest bidder state contracts.

    the pathetic glass spears being pounded into every neighborhood in new york right now will be looked upon just as derisively in 30 years - IF they are still standing, since no-one builds anything but crap nowadays.

    and as far as islanders getting tetchy about insults to the nabe - shoot, that's part of what has kept the island affordable for at least 20 years!

  2. Yup. I would really love to stay the exhausted butt end if that means my rent stays affordable!