Anthony Vidler

“I have transformed every space that I have inhabited to make it more what it was, as opposed to turning it into me.”
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Dinner Date: December 10, 2017
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Anthony Vidler is a professor, historian, and critic of modern and contemporary architecture specializing in French architecture from the Enlightenment to the present. His accolades are an endless list of impressive publications, professorships and academic achievements including a degree in architecture from Cambridge University in England and a doctorate in History and Theory from the University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands. He has been faculty at both Princeton and Yale, Dean of Cooper Union and was Chair of the Department of Art History at UCLA. He has worked as a designer and curator for exhibitions including one that showcases the work of Claude-Nicolas Ledoux at the Royal Salt Works of Arc-et-Senans in France. 

Anthony, or “Vidler” as his students often call him, lives with his wife Emily and their dog Kino, a really cute japanese shiba Inu. Their house in Manhattan is a loft style apartment with the living room blending seamlessly into the kitchen and dining area.  The loft was originally designed by Ken Foreman. The walls were mostly white with bold accents of yellow and blue inspired by Le Corbusier’s color pallet. The bedroom was loosely separated from the main space by a custom, oval shaped mass which housed their closet and the office was enclosed with a floor to ceiling divided glass partition draped with sheer curtains. The bathroom was an unexpected surprise!

Before we sat down for dinner, Vidler took us around and showed us some of the art that he had on display. There were paintings by Aldo Rossis, prints by Le Corbuisier, Piranesi, Anni Albers, Victor Burgin and photographs by Mary Kelly, John Waters, and many more. A colorful acrylic and resin chess set designed by Karim Rashid was placed atop a simple white coffee table. An Ikea library system held a library of many books in the living room and another, more extensive library was tucked behind the coat closet above a collection of bottled wines. 

For dinner we gathered around a glass topped table to share a colorful spread from Taim. Our plates were full of falafel, isralie salad, hummus and babaganoush. We also finished many bottles of delicious red wine, although Vidler assured us that we only scratched the surface of his cellar.

It was truly an honor to sit down with him in his home and listen to his story which he told with a narrative voice that could keep your attention for hours. The evening was a fascinating autobiographical journey through the life of Anthony Vidler. He covered nearly many topics from his experiences as a young actor, to his encounters with Peter Eisenman as an architecture student. He even performed some Shakespeare!