Ada Louise Huxtable Feature

Ada Louise Huxtable

Considered by many to be the founder of contemporary architecture criticism, Ada Louise Huxtable (1921–2013) believed fervently in the power of architecture to uplift our lives, both in spirit and body. For nearly fifty years she explained why in the pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and her many books, with incisive, inviting, and witty prose. As Hilary Ballon has noted, Huxtable’s corpus of work is substantial because it is “informed by her clear-sighted vision of the humanistic meaning and artistic power of architecture and the built environment.”

Over the years, the League has examined the importance of Huxtable’s work through public programs, including a reading group to study and discuss her most recent collection of essays, On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change. In 2008, the League awarded Huxtable the President’s Medal, its highest honor, in recognition of her extraordinary contribution to the fields of architecture and urbanism. Collected here are two sets of remarks from that award ceremony, by Calvin Tsao and Frank Rich, as well as video footage excerpted from a 2013 program at the Museum of the City of New York, in which participants reflected on the long shadow of Huxtable’s influence, and her insightful views on preservation and development in the city.

Published June 24, 2013