Ada Louise Huxtable
The occasion is Huxtable's newly published collection of essays (for the Wall Street Journal and others), “On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change," which may be worth buying for the white-on-white cover art alone.
The NYT piece is remarkable for its candor; usually, folks with new books to flog aren't so opinionated. But that's Huxtable's job–to explain why a new building (or seaport, or city) either works or doesn't, and whether it looks good doing it.
Here's a typically pithy Huxtable quote about the glut of computer-drafted "wow" buildings in the current and late 20th century:
"Yes, computers can produce these endlessly repeating, beautiful curving, sculptural forms. Now we’re finally reaching the stage where we begin to recognize, “Aha! Right off the computer!” and we don’t accept it as readily. ...On the other hand, if it doesn’t take us to another place, it’s nostalgia, and there’s an awful lot of nostalgia operating out there today."