“Whatever Philip Johnson’s legacy turns out to be, it will not rest on his buildings,” Ada Louise Huxtable wrote in her obituary of “the king’s architect” in The Wall Street Journal eight years ago. Mr. Johnson had once told Ms. Huxtable of his desire to work for royalty. Not finding any, Ms. Huxtable concluded, he crowned himself king and kingmaker. In his way, he reshaped the world, and so too has she.
Ms. Huxtable, who died in Manhattan on Monday at the age of 91, may not have set out to be the people’s writer, but that is what she became. She just wanted to share her ideas about the city where she was born, what was wrong with it and how it ought to be made right, but probably never would be.
“She was extraordinarily proper and quiet and dignified,” said Paul Goldberger, her protégé and successor as the Times’s architecture critic, a job she created and held for two decades, winning the first Pulitzer for criticism along the way. “She loved to get together and talk, and she was not above a certain amount of gossip, but at the end of the day, what you remember her for was her writing, which is how she wanted it to be. She was not a sort of quirky, unusual character about whom you would tell stories until the end of time. She wanted to be remembered by her work, and she is.” Read More