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Paul Gunther
Paul Gunther is a nonprofit consultant; writer about design, especially its cross-section with public policy past and present; and the former, charter President of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art

Entries by Paul Gunther

Confederate Land Art: The Apotheosis of Racist Iconography

(1) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 4:59 PM

Few bucket-listers staring up at the 60 ft.-high granite bas-relief of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial (carved atop what had been a sacred Lakota granite outcropping in South Dakota's Black Hills) realize that the artist responsible had been a proud charter Knight of the "Imperial Koncilium" of the newly formed...

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Presidential Libraries: Taking Stock as Obama Readies His Own

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 5:09 PM

By voting yesterday to approve release of 20 acres of public parkland to the University of Chicago, the local City Council finally cleared the last obstacle to its pending hometown bid for the Barack Obama Library and Museum. While initially expected this month, announcement of the White House selection from...

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The End of Shared Sacrifice Set in Stone: Yale As Metaphor

(1) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 9:12 AM

I am full up to my ears with old men dreaming of wars for young men to die in. ~ George McGovern

The artist and designer Maya Lin credits much of her prodigious inspiration of the winning Veteran War Memorial (1982), submitted when still just a Yale undergraduate,...

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Form Follows Dysfunction: The Enduring Legacy of a Strategic Failure

(1) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 4:18 PM

The great Chicago architect and author who helped shepherd the Modernist movement in design on the shoulders of his rigorous classical education, Louis Sullivan, declared famously in an 1896 essay, " ...form ever follows function and this is the law. Form does not change where function does not change."

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Ground Zero: Memorial Museum's Invisible Ingredients

(1) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 8:19 PM

Amidst the incoming critical salvos aimed at the newly opened -- if long-delayed -- 9/11 Memorial Museum in downtown Manhattan (and still no word from most of those writers, whose outlets accord them final say...), there remain invisible and under-known architectural cast members and details that merit attention.

Regardless of...

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The Architectural Legacy of the Modern Olympics: A Low Medal Count

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 5:09 PM


Among the many stories in the days ahead about the 22nd Olympic Winter Games, several will explore and critique the venues. As architects and design lovers look forward accordingly, it is worth taking stock of the minute pantheon of enduring architectural excellence that...

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The Demolition Controversy at New York's MOMA: Drawing Future Lessons

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 2:13 PM

Jacqueline Onassis is widely recognized as a preservation pioneer for her leadership in saving Grand Central Terminal and her involvement in the initiative for the Supreme Court ruling in its behalf that set legal precedent for landmark statutes. What is less known are her many other civic forays. She helped...

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Whoever Wins, Move Back Into Gracie Mansion!

(1) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 2:01 PM

There are more than 15,000 historic house museums across the nation today. More open annually, hatched by eager preservationists and tourist officials clinging to notions of reuse for local landmarks, especially when donated by descendants convinced that their family legacies merit permanent public stewardship.

One notable case in point...

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Taksim Square: The Destruction of Place and the Power of Preservation

(2) Comments | Posted June 7, 2013 | 3:01 PM

One hundred years ago in New York the great Grand Central Terminal was inaugurated as a world gateway. It stands today as the city's only remaining humane and inspiring entry point. Over the last generation after real estate developers were defeated in court by community activists led by Jacqueline Onassis...

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The Air We Breathe: China, Pollution and the EPA As it Awaits a New Director

(1) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 12:40 PM

Any thought to the strategic trajectory of China and its according infrastructure must take into essential consideration the bleak reality of its environment. Polluted air in the capital, Beijing, and increasingly across all provincial capitals including Hong Kong, is a threat to its widely perceived inevitability to equal and then...

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Lincoln: Spielberg's Glimpse Into America's Design Foundations

(1) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 10:10 PM

Tomorrow's Oscar nominations will set in motion the near certainty of a winning juggernaut for the film Lincoln across eligible categories. At least from the perspective of a rapt ticket-buying public, it is hard to imagine that any nominee from its admirable and assiduous team will fail to prevail among...

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The Road of Damascus: Shared Heritage Imperiled by a Savage Civil War

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 3:45 PM

The Great Mosque, Aleppo

Syria endures as one of the world's greatest cultural crossroads. Its architectural and archeological record lends dignity and pride of place to its citizens and inspires millions outside its borders whether or not they ever visit in...

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The Dangling Crane: A Sword of Damocles for the Modern World

(6) Comments | Posted November 2, 2012 | 6:00 PM


The Hurricane Sandy-toppled crane atop New York's tallest and most expensive developing hotel and residential tower known as One57 (i.e. 157 West 57th Street; the "One" apparently approximates just enough from an address perspective to excite the marketers...) shared the media spotlight right on...

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Four Freedoms Finally Opens as a Coda to Second Presidential Debate

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2012 | 12:36 PM

Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Worship
Freedom From Want
Freedom From Fear


Franklin Delano Roosevelt
State of The Union Address
January 6, 1941

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The Apple of Our Eye

(1) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 2:27 PM

Success Spawns History Effacing Imitation

The world-renowned flagship store of Macy's at Herald Square -- backdrop to the namesake Thanksgiving Day parade since its advent 78 years ago -- is undergoing a $400 million interior renovation now rapidly unfolding in time for holiday 2012 shopping.

Countless throngs of...

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The Paterno Statue as Object Lesson: The Demise of Public Art and Monuments Built Before Their Time

(96) Comments | Posted July 25, 2012 | 12:33 PM

2012-07-24-6989630333_0e9dd5b497.jpgThe public square, even under autocracies, is a volatile place exposed constantly to the vicissitudes of taste, political will, and history's ever-evolving measure. Whether referring to artist, subject, or patron, change can come quick and judgment harsh: it's the price paid for all...

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The Paterno Monument: Beware Hubris

(47) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 1:34 PM

America does not build monuments to its living leaders or collectively defined heroes. George Washington's well-known aversion to such contemporary idolatry in due contrast to Europe's kings and conquerors is one big happy reason why.

This is not to mention the eternal risk of flying too close to the face...

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The Architecture of Mormonism: A 2012 Campaign Guidepost

(182) Comments | Posted June 7, 2012 | 7:47 PM

The Salt Lake Tabernacle is one of the architectural masterpieces of the country and perhaps the world -- Frank Lloyd Wright

Mr. Romney is a former bishop of the ward in the Mormon Church -- one who has given what is estimated as tens of millions...

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Tebowing: A Holy Week Reflection

(3) Comments | Posted April 4, 2012 | 5:00 PM

2012-04-04-398pxTim_Tebow_Tebowing.jpgThe advent of the Christian Holy Week seems a good time to examine the origins and significance of the namesake pose for the New York Jets new backup quarterback. It is the case especially this year, when the lunar calendar coincides with that...

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Designing an Eisenhower Memorial on the Mall in D.C.

(5) Comments | Posted February 7, 2012 | 4:35 PM

2012-02-07-eisenhower2Sadly, the pending scheme by Frank Gehry for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial proposed on a colossal four-acre site in the District of Columbia's civic epicenter is theme-park architecture. This term was coined by the late Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp in describing...

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