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Architectural Styles and Lifestyles

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Michael, I read your architecture essay this morning after driving through the West Campus neighborhood in Austin, where I lived as a student. When I lived there, there were two tall(ish) buildings; now, almost everything is tall, though I am surprised how much of the area around the university campus remains largely unchanged from the 1990s.

I’m relatively sympathetic to modernism in buildings in the right context. Frank Gehry’s 8 Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan, for example, seems to me just the sort of thing that New York could use more of. (And, at 76 stories, more such buildings would add to the density that you advocate.) I liked the old World Trade Center for the same reason I like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. There’s a certain verve and confidence in them.

The wonderful Mid-century Modernist residential architecture of Southern California is in many ways a response to some of the same forces that built the Levittowns but ended up producing a much more beautiful and optimistic style of building, one that seems to me appropriate to its context and one that........

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