recently i read a post dissing renzo piano's new nyt building, saying that pretty much the whole thing about it being innovative and "smart" architecture was pretty much bullshit, that it was more about surface and effects, the usual thing splashed with some fancy dressing. stepping back from the terms of my guy vs. yours or my style vs. yours criticism, a beautiful, subtle foto essay by anne leibovitz published in vanity fair hints at some of the contradictory issues behind the building (and building in general, we could say). the black and white photos seem ancient (early xxth-century ancient). beams and rough guys, like some twisted jazz age love song. other pictures look straight out of the seventies, village peopley. the slick and the wow of these huge cultural artefacts (skyscrapers i mean) usually have a dizzying effect, enough to make us forget the stale,conservative, out-of-date values and social frameworks they embody. leibovitz's behind-the-scenes pictures, unintendedly, maybe out of nostalgic urges, actually bring us to reckon with how little there is of our supposed innovative and progressive drive in this type of buildings, how small some of our steps have been.