Trevor Boddy’s review of the Ghost 13: Ideas in Things symposium, organized by Brian MacKay-Lyons this June in Kingsburg, Nova Scotia, has its own retrospective flair. From the 1980s, that is. It reminded me of the worst moments in my architectural education, when a professor would trash a project while gratuitously insulting students and colleagues in the process. There is no doubt that Boddy is in full assault mode throughout this review. And as only a moderator for the event, I was thankful not to be mentioned in his diatribe. I can’t begin to imagine how the organizers or participants might feel on reading Boddy’s review. His gratuitous slurs are particularly offensive: that Kenneth Frampton “sermonizes” and “holds court” and that Robert McCarter’s talk was “erudite but empty.” Boddy’s essay brought no fresh insight into the symposium, relating instead his opinions but without supporting argumentation. By the time I finished reading it, I was left only with the impression of a hostile and taunting critic–“challenging” MacKay-Lyons to “mount a reconceived event–or give up the ghost.” A pity that the “generosity of spirit [that Boddy found] everywhere evident” at the event was not to be found in his own review! 

For an alternative reading of the event, readers might seek out the forthcoming publication on Ghost 13 from Princeton Architectural Press. For me, Ghost 13 was an opportunity to listen to and talk with many dozens of architects about the issues facing architecture today–from authenticity of place to global economies, craftsmanship to digital craft, and the fundamental question of how architecture embodies societal values.

Christine Macy 
Dean, Faculty of Architecture and Planning
Dalhousie University