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The ICA's "Botched Box"

Posted by Geoff Edgers  May 16, 2007 10:26 AM

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There's one review of the new Institute of Contemporary Art that's unlikely to end up in the ICA's press packets.

In Metropolis mag, Philip Nobel tears into the building, and what he perceives as an unhealthy relationship between critics and STARchitects.

Nobel doesn't like the back end of the new ICA. "It's clear from the first glance at that poorly detailed, almost accidental rear facade that the experience of tourists on tour boats and the views of residents of gentrifying East Boston on the opposite short have been privileged over those of future neighbors and those actually entering the thing. But the grand gesture to the sea looks great in pictures, and that serves architects and critics (and their photo editors) alike."

Zoinks!

Nobel does like the Mediatheque, but not much else about the building. As far as circulation, the ICA has "the same big-elevator-and-narrow-stair combination that works so badly at the Whitney."

And then the windup.

"Bad buildings by big names get a regular pass. Favorable coverage ensues for the client. Though no connection between high-glamour architects and high-quality buildings is ever demonstrated, the client class learns anew that it pays to gamble on the stars. Other architects retool their practices to get in the game (first stop: drinks with the local critic). Students take note (fledgling critics too...). Mediocrity goes unchecked. The public gets shafted. The cycle repeats. The planet spins. Architecture lives to die another day."

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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