Andrew MacNair by David Shapiro

“The piano speaks only of architecture, the violin speaks only of poetry.”

BOMB 43 Spring 1993
043 Spring 1993
43 Macnair 01 Body

Andrew MacNair, Hague House, 1993, view from road towards canal. All photos by Grant Taylor.

As some architects like to build paintings, Andrew MacNair prefers, in a lyrical and classical analogy, to build songs. MacNair has taught widely and wildly, now at Harvard. His pedagogical activism has driven him to create many new publications including: SkylineMetropolisExpress, and Architectures.

I have been attracted to the work of MacNair, among the younger architects, because of his learning without bombast, its proliferation without mannerism, and its sense of detail without cliché. There is a joyful spirit to his lyrical building that has permitted him to explore a poetic reality within tectonic, concrete grammar. MacNair is a knowing architect with an authentic voice. He knows that architecture need not be an impersonal, cliché ridden art—he celebrates an eruptive frangible, maximal architecture. Here frozen music turns into pure heat.

—David Shapiro is a poet and art critic.

43 Macnair 02 Body

Andrew MacNair, Hague House, 1993, side view: Looks over the canal and across to the gardens.

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Originally published in

BOMB 43, Spring 1993

Featuring interviews with Tony Kushner, Ousmane Sembene, Jeanette Winterson, Andres Serrano, Faye Myenne Ng, Vernon Reid, Gillian Armstrong, Andrew MacNair, Laurie Carlos, Srinivas Krishna, Mira Schor, and Barbara Hammer.

Read the issue
043 Spring 1993