For a 120-year-old magazine, Architectural Record went impressively new-fangled in announcing its new editor-in-chief, Cathleen McGuigan, with word leaking out on Facebook Monday followed by rounds of Twitter and a formal blog posting at the Arc Rec website this morning.
A veteran architecture critic and editor at Newsweek for over 25 years, McGuigan brings wide access and a deep knowledge of the issues to the post held for some 15 years by Robert Ivy, who now heads the American Institute of Architects in Washington DC. In a phone interview, McGuigan sounded like she was just absorbing the news herself. “It’s a really big deal,” she said, appreciatively. With a plan for “evolution not revolution,” she described her goals to “maintain Record’s high standards of analysis, forward-looking reporting on technology and innovation, and sharp eye on emerging generations and trends.”
Asked what she felt was the central issue in architecture today, she responded that while the economy was the obvious answer, there was an underlying matter of equal significance with more lasting impact. “Design is still overlooked in this country,” she said. “And it is essential to keep the importance of good architecture and the careful development of cities front and center to the widest possible audience.”
With a plan to be a very “hands-on editor,” McQuigan brings a newshound’s nose to the job, but is looking forward to working with the magazine’s seasoned staff and its reputation as a recording angel of great architectural images, but not as eye candy, she noted, “but with pictures that give information.”
She added that with the magazine newly independent of the AIA—Arc Rec was the official mouthpiece of the institute for over ten years—it was now discovering just how loyal its readers are. The May edition was its largest issue in three years. McGuigan starts officially on May 23rd.