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The State of American Architecture

Taking the measure of American architecture depends on where you look. Here, prominent critics from six major U.S. cities take the temperature of their hometowns

What's generating buzz in Chicago might not resonate in L.A. And the issues driving design in Miami might not mean much in New York. Although big-name, international architects are working all over the United States—Renzo Piano, for example, has current or recently completed projects in New York, Chicago, L.A., San Francisco, and Atlanta—smaller, domestic firms are playing important roles, too. This mix of big and small, global and regional is shaping the American architectural landscape. The projects shown here offer a cross section of what is going on right now—from a skyscraper in Manhattan to a quonset hut in Kansas, from a youth center in a tough part of Chicago to a private college in Maine, from the ultra-modern to works that engage history. To make sense of all this, we talked with six architecture critics from around the nation and asked them to give us some of their thoughts. First up: New York.

"I don't see the regional differences in design that were apparent in the past," states Paul Goldberger when asked what American architecture looks like from his perspective at The New Yorker. "Trends today are national or even global. Sustainability is certainly one. We should be doing more on this, but we're doing more than we did in the past."