I have (very reasonably, I think) veered from too much architecture on this site. There's no dearth of architectural criticism (snarchitecture?) on the web and I don't feel like there's much I can add to those dialogues. Though really, check out From Our House to Bauhaus - it's a fun read.
All of that said, I cannot resist posting two photos of Thom Mayne's Cooper Union Building. If my many posts about Liz Christy Gardens haven't indicated it clearly enough, for the past few years I have been living in the East Village and the Lower East Side. Longtime readers will remember I had to leave my LES apartment in December '08 due to a fire. Since then I've been in the East Village, just a few blocks away from this building.
The fact that I walk by this building on a regular basis probably accounts for why I love it so much. Perhaps if I had only seen it once or twice, I'd feel differently. But the thing I have discovered about this building in the course of my quitodian walks by it, is how much the building responds to the light. On sunny days it sparkles, on cloudy days it almost blends into the atmosphere. It's remarkable, and if you live in the city I encourage you to walk by it in all kinds of weather -- it's like an architectural mood ring. (Yes, somewhere Herbert Muschamp is rolling over in his grave.)
Since I've already invoked tacky 70's fashion fads, I suppose I should just go all-out and say that I also like this building because I can practically see the hovercars whiz by it, fifty years from now. I'm not much for sci-fi movies, but I was arrested by the tableaus in Minority Report, since the mix of old and new architecture seemed to realistically capture what may lie ahead. Seeing this building, just across the street from its 1858 predecessor, gives one a great view of our possible future as well as our past.