August 4, 2005
The site tees off on New York's
ultimately-doomed Olympic stadium plans
Image © Gawker Media
Finally, the architecture community has
something juicy to talk about. Its a blog called The
Gutter, which resides at www.gutter.curbed.com.
The site, which began issuing updates about daily events on
May 9, takes a smart, ultra-sharp (some would say snarky)
point of view. Hence its tagline: Ill-mannered commentary
on the architectural arts.
The anonymous guttersniper,
as the blogger has named him or herself, has covered more
happenings (mostly in New York) than most design publications,
and often digs up dirt on commissions, oddities, personal
gaffes, and outrages sent by sources in the field. Recent
subjects for ridicule have included New York Times architecture
critic Nicolai Ourousoff (who the sniper calls Big Nic),
Daniel Libeskind (the site said his recent Ground Zero editorial
in the Times gave hubris a bad name), Frank Gehry
(called a developers bitch), and New York's
last-minute Olympic stadium plan in Queens (Welcome
Gutter and its parent, www.curbed.com,
a site that focuses on New York real estate and neighborhoods,
are published by Gawker Media, which owns trendy sites like
gossip blog gawker.com, political blog wonkette.com, and technology
blog gizmodo.com. Gizmodo was the first Gawker site to go
live, in May 2002.
Lockhart Steele, publisher of The Gutter
and Curbed, notes Gutter has about 4,000 daily visitors. He
touts the sites format, which deviates from the flat
style and limited coverage of mainstream media,
and talks about the things everybody is talking about,
but everybody is afraid to write, he says. As for those
upset about the unsubstantiated rumors, nasty attacks from,
or the anonymity of, the guttersniper, If people are
uncomfortable, dont read the site.
Steele refuses to name the now-infamous
guttersniper, which is itself one of the sites biggest
intrigues. Architects and journalists (strangely unified by
the site) are wracking their brains in an architectural version
of the recently solved Deep Throat mystery. The Times even
sent out a reporter, in vain, to find him or her, notes Steele.
(All of architectural records staff have denied involvement.
Other favorite guesses include architectural reporters Philip
Nobel and Aric Chen) Steele, who some think is the sites
author himself, did drop one hint when he said, Its
rumored that the guttersniper is two people
a male and one is a female.