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The Gutter Dishes "Ill-mannered" Dirt


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. It’s 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 “developer’s bitch”), and New York's last-minute Olympic stadium plan in Queens (“Welcome to Atlanta”).

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.

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Lockhart Steele, publisher of The Gutter and Curbed, notes Gutter has about 4,000 daily visitors. He touts the site’s 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, don’t read the site.”

Steele refuses to name the now-infamous guttersniper, which is itself one of the site’s 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 record’s staff have denied involvement. Other favorite guesses include architectural reporters Philip Nobel and Aric Chen) Steele, who some think is the site’s author himself, did drop one hint when he said, “It’s rumored that the guttersniper is two people … one is a male and one is a female.”

Sam Lubell

 

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