Master Builder

Glazer, Nathan
April 2003
New Republic;4/14/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 14, p21
About a month ago, I received from Pat Moynihan a very well-produced little book titled "Vision + Voice: Design Excellence in Federal Architecture: Building a Legacy." No author or editor is named, but the inside cover lists "Daniel P. Moynihan" at the head of a galaxy of architects, urban designers, and museum directors: David M. Childs, Henry N. Cobb, Hugh Hardy, Joan Goody, Richard Meier, Robert A.M. Stern, Moshe Safdie, Susan Henshaw Jones, Charles Gwathmey, and on and on. It is a historic document that, despite its nonofficial character as an addendum to a report on federal office-space needs by the then-assistant to Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg, has played a great role in guiding federal building projects and is remembered, recalled, almost revered, by architects and urban designers. Along with the little volume came what turned out to be the last piece Pat published, an op-ed in "The Washington Post" from February 3, 2003. In that last op-ed, Moynihan criticized the apparently boundless extension of our security precautions and sadly described patrons of the Martin Luther King Library, near his Washington D.C. apartment building, "putting their book bags through a scanner, being wanded and watched by armed `library police.'" He would have had much to say about our current circumstances, and, as a former assistant put it, in doing so he would have been "witty, scholarly, wise, eloquent." There's not much of that in government today, and would we not be better off if there were? Certainly, some brightness has gone out of the lives of all of us who knew him.


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