Reflections on Robert Campbell's Visit to Portsmouth

Robert Campbell, the renowned architectural critic for the Boston Globe, recently visited Portsmouth as part of PS21’s (Portsmouth Smart Growth for the 21st Century) ongoing speaker series. Campbell advocates for human scale cities as well as an appreciation for historical architecture through layering different architectural styles to reflect the times in which they were built. His views are especially timely for a city like Portsmouth, which has struggled with some growing pains recently. Rather than opposing growth outright, Campbell argues that the things we love about a building can occur at a variety of scales. In his talk he metaphorically treats the city like a home; large public parks serve as a communal dining room.

For Campbell, vibrant small cities such as Portsmouth point to the future of much of America. As Portsmouth continues to grow and change, we should heed some of Campbell’s advice. Let’s preserve what we love, grow equitably and be open-minded about how contemporary architecture can speak to our time within a multi-layered and vital urban context.

The event turnout could not have been better and the venue, 3S Artspace, was definitely a good choice as a reflection of Campbell’s values. We would like to thank PS21 for organizing this great event and look forward to the rest of their speaker series. See the link below for a video of the event: