Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Free Ada Louise

My husband is an architect, which means he spends long hours at his computer with his headphones on listening to things. Mostly WNYC. Earlier this year, during a series of late nights in which he did not like their shows, he listened to all 66 hours and 11 minutes of Robert Caro’s The Power Broker. He found Caro’s book inspiring, and began poking around for other architecture classics known but not read. He discovered On Architecture, the last collection of Ada Louise Huxtable’s columns, but couldn’t make it past the first few essays. The reader, T. David Rutherford, seemed never to have prepped on architect’s names, and hearing him mispronounce Mies was like nails on a chalkboard.

In the interest of calling attention to the need for a new recording of Ada Louise by someone versed in architect’s names (and, may I suggest, a woman? A critic, of all writers, should be heard in something you can imagine as her own voice) I decided to record an essay myself. I picked the dully titled “A Look at the Kennedy Center,” published in the New York Times on September 7, 1971, for its many famous witticisms. I’m no professional, but you do want to listen to the end.

After you’ve listened, please share with your version of this message: In 2015, Ada Louise deserves better audio. Maybe you also want to record your own?