Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
Shapes and Japes
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Kreuzberg Tower in Berlin by Hélène Binet

The aura of a building

Debbie Millman
Design Matters From the Archive: Michael Arad
(in)Fringe 05: Hushed Spaces

POPOS and the public

Adam Harrison Levy
The Master
Rob Walker
Defending The Standpipe
Bryan Finoki
Architecture vs. the People

How anti-homeless measures diminish a city’s responsibility to its most vulnerable citizens

Rob Walker
Scalies in the Spotlight
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Restaurant de la Réserve by Jean Gilletta
Erik Spiekermann
Ideas Come First

The observations of a graphic designer as client

Steven Heller
A Memory of Mickey

Steven Heller remembers Mildred Friedman, who passed away late Wednesday.

Rick Poynor
Tracking the Locations of J.G. Ballard’s Super-Cannes
Erik Spiekermann
Should Architects Understand Type?
Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo
The Rand House: A House to Work and Live In
Mark Yoes
Elinor Evans : Some Truths from the Master
House Housing

Opening today is 
House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Nineteen Episodes — the first public presentation of a multi-year research project conducted by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University.
Adam Harrison Levy
The Last Unknown Place in New York
Owen Edwards
Rizzoli Erased
Alexandra Lange
Lucia Eames, 1930-2014

An appreciation of Lucia Eames (1930-2014).

Shape: A Film About Design

Shape is a short film that is part of MakeShapeChange , a project aimed at young people to get them thinking about how the world is made around them and where design fits in.


In Deventer, the Netherlands, a routine real estate deal and demolition became the site of innovation and new intelligence in urban design.

Mark Lamster
The Astrodome and the Challenges of Preservation

The Astrodome and the future of preservation.

Alexandra Lange
Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories

A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.

Jennifer Kabat
Genzken and the City

A review of Isa Genzken’s current retrospective on view at MOMA.

Alexandra Lange
Premature Demolition

The Folk Art Museum, David Adjaye's market hall, and the first addition to the Morgan Library. If three makes a trend, then premature demolition qualifies.

Alexandra Lange
Criticism = Love

Why you have to love design to be a critic.

Rob Walker
Hale County Revisited

An in-depth look at Hale County, Alabama, an accidental social-design laboratory.

Alexandra Lange
Year of the Women
Fairy Tale Architecture

A roundup of our holiday Fairy Tale Architecture posts.

Debbie Millman
Susan Szenasy
Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch with the Critics: Fourth-Annual Year-End Awards
Alexandra Lange
Art On Campus

A review of the renovated Blaffer Art Museum and James Turrell's latest skyspace, "Twilight Epiphany."

Steven Heller
Lettering Large

An excerpt and gallery from Steven Heller and Mirko Ilić's new book: Lettering Large: Art and Design of Monumental Typography.

Alexandra Lange
L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman

A Kickstarter for an upcming exhibition on the wotk of Deborah Sussman in Los Angeles.

Mark Lamster
Can the Doomed Astrodome Save Modernism?

The Astrodome and the Future of Modern Preservation

Alexandra Lange
MoMA’s Modern Women

The Museum of Modern Art's new installation, "Designing Modern Women," could have made a bolder statement about the transformative role of women in 20th century design and architecture.

John Foster
Giraffe Houses of the Ozarks

Giraffe houses are generally thought to have first appeared around 1910, but their acceptance grew during the 1930s.

Alexandra Lange
Learning New Tricks

Harvard doesn't have any design courses, but I've found new friends in "material culture." What it's like for a critic to go back to school.

Mark Lamster
High Net Space: The New International Style
Alexandra Lange
A World of Paste and Paper

Today's obsession with digital renderings sparked two exhibitions that suggest a handmade, but far from quaint, corrective.

Mark Lamster
Architecture's Proto-Blogger

G.E. Kidder Smith, forgotten master of architectural criticism.

Making Big Things Out of Small Pieces

Researchers at MIT have developed a super strong material created out of interlocking small parts

Alexandra Lange
Rural Vacation | Urban Questions

Driving Vermont's rural routes I began to wonder: Why does this town get a brand-new energy-efficient supermarket, and that one a minimart-slash-video store-slash-bank?

Reimagining the Serpentine Pavilion

Sou Fujimoto is the youngest-ever artist to design a pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery

Alexandra Lange
Nevermind the Masterpiece

What's your "Masterpiece of Everyday New York"? A broken umbrella? A shirtwaist? Discarded gum?

Debbie Millman
Jean-Louis Cohen

Jean-Louis Cohen reveals a Le Corbusier who was not only a great architect, but also a savvy promoter of his own ideas and work.

Mark Lamster
Lost Landmarks in New York and Fort Worth
Alexandra Lange
Every Little Thing

Cranbrook: A campus where the designers have thought of everything.

Alexandra Lange
Praise the Partner(s)

Salute Denise Scott Brown because she deserves it, but let's not forget the other partners.

Flickr Collection of the Week: Are these Buildings? Or Art?

Images of architecture as art.

Wheelwright Prize 2013 Winner

Gia Wolff, Brooklyn-based architect, wins $100,000 travel grant for her proposal Floating City: The Community-Based Architecture of Parade Floats.

Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America

Michigan was an epicenter of modern design in postwar America, this summer the story will be told through a symposium at the Cranbrook Educational Community and an exhibition at the Cranbrook Art Museum.

Alexandra Lange
Beyond Gorgeous

Is prettiness a distraction? Yes, when it comes to taking Alexander Girard seriously.

Mark Lamster
The Bush Library
Alexandra Lange
Architecture Without Signs

If you can't find the entrance, there's a problem with the architecture.

Alexandra Lange
What It Costs (to Buy a Bench, to Extend a Curb)

Participatory budgeting lets communities put their own urban priorities in order.

Alexandra Lange
Portlandia + Timelessness

No better place to consider what looks timeless now than downtown Portland.

Mark Lamster
How to Design an Iconic NY Fast Food Joint
Alexandra Lange
Instagramming Around Australia

Lessons from contemporary Australian architecture, plus what I saw on Instagram.

Philip Nobel
Oops: Understanding Failure

A review of To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure, by Henry Petroski.

Mark Lamster
Inventing the Modern Library
Alexandra Lange
Patterns of Houston

How do you critique the urbanism of Houston? Look for patterns.

Alexandra Lange
Why Bernadette Fox Is Scary
Alexandra Lange
Balthazar Korab, RIP

Tribute to architectural photographer Balthazar Korab, and a discussion of what made him different from contemporary Ezra Stoller.

Alexandra Lange
Kicked A Building Lately?
Alexandra Lange
George Nelson in Two Dimensions
Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch With The Critics: Third-Annual Year-End Awards

Idiosyncratic awards bestowed on architecture, design and media.

Mark Lamster
The Other Ezra Stoller

No achitect is unfamiliar with Ezra Stoller, the pioneering photographer whose clinical eye defined modernism and shaped our vision of the built world for much of the twentieth century.

Alexandra Lange
Knolling Your Polling Place

Knolling your polling place: for the next election, a little spatial organization would go a long way.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Visual examples from the tiny house movement.

Mark Lamster
High (Line) Anxiety

Is the High Line above criticism?

NYC Architecture Design Film Festival

Now in its fourth season, the Architecture Design Film Festival will offer more than 25 films from around the world and panel discussions with design leaders and filmmakers.

Alexandra Lange
Shopping With Sandro, and Other Tumblr Delights
Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum

Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.

Alexandra Lange
Let’s Talk About Women in Architecture
Alexandra Lange
Someone Else’s Shangri La

An exhibition of Doris Duke's Honolulu mansion, Shangri La, proves a “Spanish-Moorish-Persian-Indian complex” works as theater.

Alexandra Lange
Art Matters to Architecture

In Indianapolis, a restored Milton Glaser mural allows us to see its Brutalist home as its architect intended: with color!

Rob Walker
The City In Your Dreams

A blog collecting stories for mapping the "collective unconscious" of NYC.

Alexandra Lange
Hiking the Museum

Ennead Architects’ new Natural History Museum of Utah works to make natural history seem like the ongoing process of discovery that it is, layering geology and topography, paleontology and interactivity.


CRITICAL: Lisbon is a one-week workshop in July dedicated to talking, writing, and publishing critically about architecture.

Rob Walker
The Built Villain
Alexandra Lange
The Charismatic Megafauna of Design

Identifying the "charismatic megafauna" of design and the critical uses of their popularity.

Alexandra Lange
Introducing Strelka Press

On Strelka Press, a new "digital first" publisher of longform architecture and design criticism.

Alexandra Lange
Dress Your Family in Formica and Faux Bois
Alexandra Lange
The Well-Tempered Environment

Water features, old trees, food trucks. Three elements of the architecture of outdoor civic life in North Texas.

The Hypothetical Development Organization

The Hypothetical Development Organization will be included in the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale.

The Architecture of Television

Brandi Roberts is an interior designer by training and TV afficionado by choice who draws fictional floorplans of classic television shows.

Women, Equity, Architecture

Parlour, a new Australian site with the tagline"Women, Equity, Architecture", has a dual project: creating a forum for discussion of and opportunities for women in architecture, and reporting on research, scholarship and the history of the same.
Alexandra Lange
The Mother of Us All

Reyner Banham on Esther McCoy: "She speaks as she finds, with sympathy and honesty, and relevantly to the matter at hand." Could there be a better definition of the role of the critic?

A Pattern Language

Alexandra Lange reviews A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander.

Alexandra Lange
Against Kickstarter Urbanism
Alexandra Lange
Fixing South Street Seaport: Is New Architecture Enough?
Alexandra Lange
Carlo Scarpa, Quilter

Olivetti and Doges: How Carlo Scarpa updated the Venetian treasure chest.

Alexandra Lange
Frank Lloyd Wright + Katniss Everdeen
Alexandra Lange
City of Shoes: Is Urbanism Scalable?
Nancy Levinson
Design Indaba 2012

Design Indaba 2012 gathered creative people from graphic and product design, architecture and landscape, film and video, not to mention Danish gastronomy and Bollywood movies.

Alexandra Lange
Reassembling the American Dream

"Foreclosed" at the Museum of Modern Art asks what people really like about suburban living. And then, Can they do that with less?

Debbie Millman
James Biber

In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, James Biber discusses growing up in a house with a womb chair, visual illiteracy and designing the Museum of Sex.

Alexandra Lange
Downton Abbey: Fell In Love With a House

Downton Abbey, for all its melodrama and dropped teacups, is really the story of falling in love with a house.

Alexandra Lange
Round Thermostats and Crystal Lanterns, Revisited

Old designs, new tricks: updates on lawsuits filed against the new Nest thermometer, and on behalf of midcentury masterpiece Manufacturers Hanover.

Alexandra Lange
A Memorial to (Random Access) Memory

What does "RAMAC Park" mean to you?

James Biber
Vestige(s) of Empire

Comparing the repurposing of two monuments to lost Empire: London's Commonwealth Institute and Berlin's Palast der Republik.

Alexandra Lange
Girard the Magnificent
Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch With The Critics: Second-Annual Year-End Awards

From Twitter to Apollo, Barbie to Occupy Everywhere: The best and worst moments in design for 2011.

Alexandra Lange
Decorating Brutalism: The Interiors of Kevin Roche
John Cary
Architecture's Internship Requirement Needs a Redesign

An argument for rethinking architecture's internship requirement

Alexandra Lange
Architecture Research Office

Interview with Stephen Cassell and Adam Yarinsky on the occasion of their National Design Award

Alexandra Lange
TWA: Still Kicking
Alexandra Lange
Should We Boycott the New Barnes?

More ethical quandaries about buildings and food.

Julia Cooke
Cuba Libre: Contemporary Architecture in Havana

Young architects struggle to update the face of Cuba.

Alexandra Lange
Thinking in Tumblr
Alexandra Lange
Up From Zero, the Novel

A post-9/11 fiction scooped by reality.

Alexandra Lange
Reading in Public
Alexandra Lange
Welcome Back, Overbite

Albert C. Ledner's mid-century scallops and portholes have staying power.

Nancy Levinson
A Dream House for Architect Barbie

Just in time for the midsummer heat, Architect Barbie's got a competition-winning new dream house in Malibu.

Alexandra Lange
Let’s Go! World’s Fairs of the 1930s

"Designing Tomorrow" at the National Building Museum showcases the optimisim, futurism and dreamy design ideas of the 1930s.

Alexandra Lange
New Apple HQ, 1957

Wouldn't it be more radical for Apple to move back to town?

John Thackara
Sweat Equity Infra
By Alexia
My Studio H Experience

Adventures in design crits: A high school junior recounts her Studio H year working with onerous classmates and power tools.

Mark Lamster
The Unsung Genius of Flemish Architecture

The New Flemish Architecture should not be underestimated, though it usually is.

Alexandra Lange
Manhattan Museum Musical Chairs

Bye, bye Museum of American Folk Art. Hello the forward march of the Modern.

Alexandra Lange
Science Gets Around to Architecture

Why are we still privileging scientific studies over visual thinking?

Gavin Browning
Community Hero: Queens Museum of Art

Queens Museum of Art, a model for community service, breaks ground on new addition.

Alexandra Lange
City Beautiful of Kazakhstan
Alexandra Lange
Making the Modern House Home

The Miller House, designed by Saarinen, Roche, Girard and Kiley, has been largely out of sight to the design world since its publication in House & Garden in 1959. Until now that is...

Alexandra Lange
Bad Faith Towers
Julie Lasky
Design Indaba 2011

Review of Design Indaba 2011 conference in Cape Town, South Africa

Maria Popova

A streamlined approach to dismantling and recycling buildings.

Nancy Levinson
Architect Barbie

Architect Barbie: the world's most famous doll has a new career.

Julie Lasky
DesigNYC, Round 2

Report on second round of pro bono design initiatives fostered by DesigNYC.

Mark Lamster
An Empire State of Mind

Join in a running commentary on Andy Warhol's film "Empire," at MoMA.

Mark Lamster
Cities from the Sky
Alexandra Lange
I Was an Unhappy Hipster
Mark Lamster
MoCA Loco
Ernest Beck

Report on a visionary residential complex for aging gay boomers.

Magda Biernat
The Hard Sell

Images from "Betel Nut Beauties": photos by Magda Biernat.

Ernest Beck
Hester Street Collaborative

Report on Hester Street Collaborative's pro-bono design model.

Rob Walker
Go Figure

A recurring feature in architectural renderings: the little human figures who inhabit the rendered world.

Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: Nairn’s London
Ernest Beck
Mensch at Work

Review of The Power of Pro Bono

Rick Poynor
How to Chew Gum while Walking
Photo by Jason Orton
Built Not to Last

Photo of prefab London housting development slated for demolition.

Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch With The Critics: Year-End Awards

Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange pick the best and worse moments in design for 2010.

Mark Lamster
The Once & Future Whitney Museum
Mark Lamster
British Incursion
Constantin Boym
Out of Sight: Qatari Workers' Housing

Constantin Boym reports on efforts to improve the living conditions of Qatar's migrant workers.

Mark Lamster
Beauty on the Border

Stop-you-in-your-tracks beauty on the US/Canada border.

Mark Lamster
The Ugliest Object I Have Ever Owned

What's the ugliest object you've ever owned (and loved)?

Mark Lamster
Road Trips: Louwman Museum and Powers Field

Thinking about new(ish) projects by Michael Graves and Rafael Vinoly

Alexandra Lange
Dan Wood

A conversation with WORKac architect Dan Wood about design, food and cities.

Mark Lamster
Design Writing: Vital Field or Museum Piece?

Is traditional architectural criticism dead?

Alexandra Lange
Ornament & Time
Mark Lamster
Glass Houses

A new blog on architecture, design, art, new york, books and sport by Mark Lamster.

Alexandra Lange
Super 8
Mark Lamster
LOMEX: Paul Rudolph’s Plan for Lower Manhattan
Alexandra Lange
Keeping Faith
Alexandra Lange
GourmetLive: The Architecture of Food
John Thackara
Design Steps to Heaven

I recently visted Luzern, in Switzerland, for a workshop at the oldest art and design school in Switzerland, Hochschule Luzern. My host, Andy Polaine had asked me to set students in the first semester of the MA Design, a challenge.

Alexandra Lange
Join the Conversation!

I am hosting this week's Glass House Conversations, inspired by the comments (on and off the blogosphere) in reaction to my negative review of the Museum of Modern Art's "Small Scale, Big Change" exhibition.

Alexandra Lange
AN Friday Review: Harry Weese
Mark Lamster
Alexandra Lange
Northern Highlights

I don't usually do photo posts, but while I am mentally processing my trip to Denmark and Sweden, I thought I would share some architecture, design, foliage moments from the trip. I think the theme is texture.

Andrew Blauvelt
Designer Finds History, Publishes Book

Andrew Blauvelt takes stock of the graphic design history movement that began in the 1980s.

Mark Lamster
Modern Views, Home and Abroad

What would Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson have thought of sharing the billing in Modern Views, the new book celebrating the Farnsworth House and the Glass House?

Alexandra Lange
In Dwell: Platner’s Opulent Modernism
Alexandra Lange
FT Weekend: People in glass houses

UUsually it feels churlish, biting the hand that feeds, to draw back the curtain on reporting. But in the case of my story, “People in Glass Houses,” for FT Weekend, every step of the process of spending the night in two National Trust properties was such a contrast to my assignment to experience living in a glass house and an 18th century plantation, I just can't help it.

Mark Lamster
Stirling’s Gold

James Stirling's drawings on view at Yale are extraordinary — it’s a shame that this skill, which was obviously so central to the design process, has become all but obsolete.

Alexandra Lange
Change Observer: "Small Scale" Reviewed
Alexandra Lange
Uncommon Ground

Exhibition review of "Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement," Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Mark Lamster
Center of Controversy

By now you’ve surely seen the new renderings by SOMA architects for Park51, the Muslim cultural center in Lower Manhattan.

Alexandra Lange
Not Afraid of Color

Alice Rawsthorn and I think alike on the Le Corbusier palette.

Mark Lamster
Upside Dome

Gijs Van Vaerenbergh’s “Upside Dome” installation at St. Michiel’s in Leuven is so beautiful I can’t help but post a picture of it here

Alexandra Lange
Masdar: So Many Questions

I was not planning to post anything about 
Sukkah City. It all just looked like an architecture studio: so much effort, such worked-over results, and an inability to see the forest for the trees.
Alexandra Lange
Rendering v. Reality in Sukkah City

I was not planning to post anything about
Sukkah City. It all just looked like an architecture studio: so much effort, such worked-over results, and an inability to see the forest for the trees.
Alexandra Lange
The Still-Expanding Airport

In 1958, after some failed attempts by the Saarinen office to make a stop-motion film of their model for Dulles Airport, Eero Saarinen called upon his old friend Charles Eames to help him out.

Thomas de Monchaux
In Search of Sukkah City

Sukkah City: NYC, a design/build architecture competition taking place at Union Square Park in New York City, Fall of 2010.

Mark Lamster
Sukkah City
Alexandra Lange
If These Walls Could Talk

On the ABC sitcom Modern Family, three different families are visually defined by their living rooms.

Mark Lamster
The Old Ballpark in the Bronx

The new Yankee Stadium is heading toward the close of its second season, and though I can't say I love it, I think I've come to terms with its existence.

The Editors
Lella and Massimo Vignelli: A Celebration

Vignelli Celebration: The opening and dedication of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies, set to open September 16, 2010 at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Mark Lamster
Highboy Hullabaloo

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Sony (nee AT&T) Building, as I research my Philip Johnson bio.

Alexandra Lange
Make It Bigger

Anthropologie, the latest tenant of the Design Research Headquarters, simply doesn't get it.

Alexandra Lange
Coming to the V&A: Tower of Power

It is not often that 
a museum blogs about Postmodernism, Michael Sorkin (one of the great take-downs) and credits the (female) renderer who made the AT&T Building look the best it ever has.
Alexandra Lange
Lunch with the Critics: Park51 and 15 Penn Plaza

In my 
second critical lunch with Mark Lamster, in the creepy climes of the Hotel Pennsylvania, we discuss the urbanism, politics and skyline posturing of Park51 and 15 Penn Plaza.
Mark Lamster
At Home with Bob & Denise

Over the weekend I had the very good fortune to spend an afternoon with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown at their home in suburban Philadelphia.

Mark Lamster
Eero Saarinen at 100

Eero Saarinen, who died prematurely in 1961, would have been 100 years old today.

Mark Lamster
The End of the Worldport as We Know It

A couple of weeks ago we learned that I.M. Pei's JFK Terminal 6 was slated for replacement. Today comes news that the Delta (originally Pan Am) Worldport, aka Terminal 3, is to meet the wrecking ball.

Alexandra Lange
Damned Icons

Terminal 3 sits there, empty, next to JetBlue’s so-so Terminal 5, as an object lesson about how preservation and redevelopment have to operate in tandem.

Mark Lamster
Philip Johnson’s “Lost” Archive

Yes, there's an archive of Johnson material for sale. Was it unknown? The Times seems to think so, and just about anyone who knows anything about Johnson was aware of it.

Mark Lamster
Lou Kahn’s Trenton Bath Houses: The Best Buildings in New Jersey?

Lou Kahn's Bath Houses in Trenton, NJ, the best buildings in the state?

Mark Lamster
Do-Gooder Architecture: Then & Now

I don't think Philip Johnson would much care for Croon Hall, the new and very green building for Yale's school of forestry and environmental sciences.

Mark Lamster
Lunch with the Critics: Lincoln Center

Over on DO, Alexandra Lange and I launch our new feature, Lunch with the Critics.

Alexandra Lange
On DO: Lunch with the Critics

Please weigh in on 
Mark Lamster and my new Design Observer feature, "Lunch with the Critics," in which we observe the new Lincoln Center.
Mark Lamster
The Complexity of Simple Design: A Note on the Shakers

When I think of the Shakers I think of a kind of homespun simplicity: ladderback chairs, straw hats, an unfettered (if somewhat loopy) relationship with the almighty.

Alexandra Lange
Time to Move On

A very nice 
house in Montauk embodies the most recent cliches in architecture: floating staircases, pocket doors, and glass floors.
Alexandra Lange
Up in the Air

For spires in New York, height doesn’t matter, style does.

Alexandra Lange
Below Black Rock

While the plaza around the 
CBS Building in Manhattan has always seemed perverse, it is now made worse with the addition of a bank.
Mark Lamster
Philip Johnson’s Plan for America

We Americans are a can-do, optimistic lot.

Alexandra Lange
Whatever Happened to Architecture Critique?

Sometimes it feels like everything is shrinking: the magazines, the word counts, the outlets, and especially the critics.

Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson
New Visions of Home

Report on new housing models for the elderly.

Steven Heller
Fascist Seduction
Alexandra Lange
Diana Center & Architectural Bull----

Though rave reviews (
Architect, Metropolis, previously New York) are rolling in for Weiss/Manfredi’s Diana Center at Barnard College, every review has praised two things that I quickly dismissed as the most basic architectural bullshit: the copper glass and the street-level transparency.
Mark Lamster
Terminal City: I.M. Pei & Philip Johnson at JFK

Back in the day, when the airport was a destination in and of itself.

Alexandra Lange
In Metropolis: Blue Sky Thinking

What’s really happening at Inland Steel?

Alexandra Lange
Pomo Time Machine

I’m writing more about
Warren Platner, my favorite terribly wonderful or wonderfully terrible architect.
Mark Lamster
An Empire State of Mind

Everyone seems to be weighing in with pieces on the new edition of the AIA Guide to NYC, which is as it should be.

Alexandra Lange
My .02 on the Whitney

Everyone has taken their shot at outrage regarding the Whitney's move to a Renzo Piano building at the base of the High Line.

Mark Lamster
Lady Di of 117th Street

My first encounter with the work of Manfredi/Weiss came more than a decade ago, at a lecture at the Architectural League of NY attendant with their winning the League's Emerging Voices award.

Jessica Helfand
Rome’s MAXXI: Force Field as Field Space

The MAXXI center in Rome opens with a glorious, international exhibition and showcases a building that is likely to be as controversial — and as celebrated — as its designer.

Mark Lamster
Ballet Schooled

The latest alterations to Lincoln Center were rolled out to the press at the end of last week.

Mark Lamster
SOM: They’re #1

What is the top architectural firm in the United States? The friendly staff at Architect magazine established a set of criteria, surveyed the profession and crunched the numbers.

Kate Andrews
Dori Gíslason

Interview with design educator Halldór Gíslason about his work in Mozambique.

Mark Lamster
The Outlier: Philip Johnson’s Tent of Tomorrow

The latest World's Fair, Expo 2010, opened earlier this month in Shanghai. The US entry is pretty weak (someone and I can't recall whom, recently commented that it looks like a Lexus dealership).

Eric J. Herboth
Eames the Typeface

A look at the new Eames Century Modern typeface, designed by Erik van Blokland, and developed by House Industries in collaboration with the Eames Office.

Alexandra Lange
Straw Men Redux

I can't help but compare and contrast Nicolai Ourossoff's opening sentences of his recent work.

Alexandra Lange
For My German Readers

As time goes on my negative impressions of Morphosis's 41 Cooper Square are coloring my previous positive feeling about all of Mayne’s work.

Alexandra Lange
Now What? Or, Beware Panels

Last night after I got back from The Changing State of the Design Press: Now What? I wrote a long crabby post about how boring it was, and also tweeted to that effect.

Mark Lamster
Gores House

Of the many individuals who found themselves in the orbit of Philip Johnson over his long life, Landis Gores stands as one of the more fascinating.

Mark Lamster
The Guru Track

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, win the Pritzker Prize and Denise Scott Brown’s “Room at the Top? Sexism and the Star System in Architecture,” becomes a topic of discussion.

Mark Lamster
Philip Johnson: A Biography

This seems like an opportune moment to make public the news that I am at work on a new biography of the late architect Philip Johnson, to be published by Little, Brown.

Alexandra Lange
Moynihan on Design

tonight’s lecture at D-Crit, Casey Jones, director of design excellence and the arts for the U.S. General Services Administration, quoted from Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture, written in 1962.
Azby Brown
Bent by the Sun

What a longtime American-born resident of Japan has learned about his adopted country's ancient practice of sustainability.

Alexandra Lange
The World's Foremost Female Architect

Not to belabor the point, but Martin Filler takes up the discussion of female architects and puts Denise Scott-Brown in her rightful place.

Alexandra Lange
Scarano's School for Scandal

What was so terrible about Robert Scarano’s practice is what is terrible about Scarano’s practice.

Mark Lamster
Quarantines, Physical and Otherwise

I suppose it was ironic, but mainly just unpleasant, that I was kept from the opening party of Storefront's Landscapes of Quarantine exhibition by a case of pneumonia.

Alexandra Lange
Tearing Down

At the end of a session at the Architectural League's On Criticism reading group, the non-journalists in attendance began to ask the journalists whether architecture critics had any power.

Mark Lamster
Bruce Graham, 1925-2010

It's been a tough stretch for muscular, brooding architecture. Last week, Raimund Abraham, the uncompromising architect of New York's Austrian Cultural Forum was killed in an automotive accident.

Alexandra Lange
Welcome to Fort Brooklyn

Let us sincerely hope that the Atlantic Terminal Entrance in Brooklyn, a gateway to the LIRR and the hub’s many subways, marks the end of empty transport monumentality.

Mark Lamster
The New Barnes: Triumph or Travesty?

There's been no more contentious subject in the art world over the last decade than the status of the Barnes Foundation and its decision to forsake its suburban home for a new museum on Philly's Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Mark Lamster
Three Days in Vegas

My stab at narrative travel journalism.

Mark Lamster
London Calling

Back in my old life as an editor at Princeton Architectural Press, I had the great pleasure of editing (and designing) the Architecture of Diplomacy, which remains the definitive history of the American embassy building program.

Mark Lamster
What Am I Doing Here? Tall Buildings and High Anxiety in Las Vegas

I spent three days in a new entertainment complex, CityCenter, in Las Vegas. What follows is a diary of my experience in that time.

Alexandra Lange
Why Nicolai Ouroussoff Is Not Good Enough
Alexandra Lange
More! Women! Architects!

A lot of attention — in Chicago, at least — has been given to the fact that Aqua is the tallest building in the world designed by a woman.

Mark Lamster
(Not) Basic Training

The J-E-T-S are out of the playoffs following a valiant effort yesterday afternoon. That's not a shocker, though their appearance in the AFC Championship Game certainly was surprising.

Alexandra Lange
Pay No Attention to Me

In one of those strange topical coincidences, this Sunday’s Arts & Leisure section has a profile of Iwan Baan, a Dutch architectural photographer who is the post-Stoller-Shulman-Molitor savior of architectural photography.

Alexandra Lange
Buildings That Aren't There

Photography needs to prove itself again as an interpretive medium for architecture somewhere this side of art.

Alexandra Lange
A Real Modern Monument

Peter Behrens’ AEG Turbine Hall is still in use and is still as striking as the day it was completed — so shouldn't that be the goal for every building?

Jane Margolies
Rising Currents
Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Moshe Safdie

Review of architect Moshe Safdie's Mamilla Alrov Center in Jerusalem.

Alexandra Lange
On DO: Skating on the Edge of Taste

The American Restaurant in Kansas City, designed by Warren Platner, is subject of a long essay on that architect and interior designer’s career.
Mark Lamster
Ralph Rapson: Forgotten Hero of Design Merch

If you're familiar with Cambridge, or just Harvard Square, you probably know Ben Thompson's wonderful Design Research building, now celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Alexandra Lange
Size M

Nicolai Ouroussoff, Paul Goldberger, and Ada Louise Huxtable may live here in New York, but in general they have become too big to pay attnetion to the small stuff.

Mark Lamster
Criticizing the Critics

The two men who controlled the architectural conversation in New York (and hence America and the world) for better than two decades have recently published collections of their criticism.

Alexandra Lange
Last Post of 2009: Interview, Casey Jones

I interviewed the GSA’s newish head of Design Excellence,
Casey Jones, earlier this month about the future of this government program to ensure better architecture for government buildings
Alexandra Lange
After Buildings

Looking over the 10 Best architecture lists for this year and this decade I notice one thing: no buildings.

Alexandra Lange
The Women

While Manohla Dargis rants about the lack of women in charge in Hollywood save for Nancy Meyers, Zaha Hadid similarly represents the dirth of women in architecture.

Alexandra Lange
Want to Make an Architect Cry?

Want to Make an Architect Cry? Give him (or her, but she’s less likely to mind) Robert A. M. Stern’s latest monograph, which, at 600+ pages, covers just his last five years of work.

Alexandra Lange
Casey Jones

Interview with Casey Jones, director of design excellence and the arts for the U.S. General Services Administration.

Alexandra Lange
In a F.O.G.

I am thinking about adding films to my undergraduate class at NYU, namely Sketches of Frank Gehry.

Mark Lamster
The City in Pictures

Every great city is unique. Each has its own special character, a certain cosmopolitan energy that is its own, the product of its people, its history, its culture, its physical form.

Alexandra Lange
UN, Now and Then

On the United Nations five-year renovation, systems and sustainability upgrade and preservation effort.

Alexandra Lange
Skating on the Edge of Taste with Warren Platner

Viewed today, the work of 70s and 80s interior designer Warren Platner seems just one reflection away from disco, one black room away from S&M. Each of his projects comes with the question, can he hold himself back? Can he convince us that brass is back? Is there any such thing as bad taste?

Alexandra Lange

On the High Museum of Art's tribute to John Portman, Atlanta’s ur-architect and greatest claim to urban influence.

Alexandra Lange
Look Again

When visiting the Eero Saarinen exhibit at Museum of the City of New York, be sure to look at the photographs from Look Magazine.

Alexandra Lange
See the USA

My husband and I took a three-week modern architecture tour of the Midwest.

Alexandra Lange
Texan Capitals

I don’t usually like to write about architecture that isn’t there, but I can't resist commenting on Zaha Hadid's MAXXI and Robert A. M. Stern Architects' design for the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

James Wegener
Metabolic Dark City

In 1993, the City of Darkness, or the Walled City of Kowloon was demolished. To the 35,000 people living in this dense urban slum, the change was the end of a lawless existence.

Alexandra Lange
Paper Revelations

Reading a lot of architecture criticism for those same classes, I also start to develop a running mental list of the writerly tics of critics like Paul Goldberger.

Alexandra Lange
Smaller Wonder: Brooklyn Children's Museum

My first encounter with the expanded Brooklyn Children’s Museum made me ask several questions.

Alexandra Lange
Love & Architecture

My somewhat racy, somewhat serious take on one of the first architecture power couples, Aline and Eero Saarinen

Mark Dery
Dawn of the Dead Mall

Mark Dery surveys the landscape of failing malls and speculates about the future means and venues of mass consumption.

Jonathan Schultz

AIDS education mixes with soccer in plans for a new Lesotho stadium.

Alexandra Lange
Small Wonder: 41 Cooper Square

41 Cooper Square might as well be set in the middle of a parking lot in Mayne’s native L.A.

Alexandra Lange
Petting Zoo

On Thursday I took my class on a field trip to
One Bryant Park, the sustainable skyscraper that is almost complete at the northwest corner of 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue.
Alexandra Lange
Love & Architecture
Ernest Beck
Medellín, Colombia

Report on the city officials who turned around a notorious drugs-and-murder capital, winning the 2009 Curry Stone Design Prize for Transformative Public Works.

Alexandra Lange
Architecture in Transit

An SVA student of mine from last year, Frederico Duarte, alerted me to the New York NOW exhibition, which opened October 7 in the West 4th Street subway station.

Alexandra Lange
The Sound of Waves

There’s a lovely confluence of modern architecture and waterfalls on the east side of Manhattan, and we managed to hit three excellent examples of the type during Open House New York.

Alexandra Lange
Small Wonder: 41 Cooper Square

I never thought I would say this about a work by Thom Mayne of Morphosis, but I think 41 Cooper Square is too small.

Alexandra Lange
The Wall Vanishes

Just another contemporary house in the East Village.

Alexandra Lange
Home Range

I write about three contemporary houses by up-and-coming New York firms for The Architect’s Newspaper

Bradford McKee
Float House

Report on a floating house designed by Morphosis and UCLA architecture students for the Make It Right Foundation,

Steven Heller
People in Glass Apartments

People in glass apartments shouldn’t throw stones or other projectiles. Nor should they engage in private acts directly in front of their floor to ceiling windows.

Mark Lamster
We Regret to Inform You That Love Will Not Save the Day

The big story on East 7th Street these days is the opening of Thom Mayne's new student center for Cooper Union, on Third Avenue.

Karen Stein
The Plain Beauty of Well-Made Things

Judd worked as an art critic in his early years in New York as he established himself as an artist. From 1959 until the mid-1960s, his art criticism was his primary, if not only, source of income

Mark Lamster
Underground Architects

The one question people often ask that I don't enjoy answering is, "Who's your favorite architect?"

Alexandra Lange
White Columns

In Valentino: The Last Emperor, one dress is followed in all of its incarnations, while architecture is put in its place.

Alexandra Lange
Higher and Higher

In his back-page New York Times Book Review essay on The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard, Jonathan Lethem makes many good points about Ballard’s visionary writing, “desolate landscapes” and his linkages with other arts.

John Cantwell
The Big Screen in Big D
Alexandra Lange
Won't Get Fooled Again

News of the redevelopment of the Atlantic Yards keeps getting worse.

Mark Lamster
Fire at Rubens's St. Charles Borromeo

An electrical fire has done severe damage to the interior of Antwerp's St. Charles Borromeo.

Mark Lamster
The Om in Home: Kripalu's New Dorm

I'm not a big yoga fan, and always looked at the Kripalu Yoga Center, in Lenox, with a fair degree of skepticism.

Alexandra Lange
Shiny and New

On this week's Mad Men, three words I never thought I would hear on a dramatic television show: Ada Louise Huxtable.

Richard Ross
No Place Like Home

Image from photographer Richard Ross's latest project, "Suitable Placement: Juvenile Justice in America"

Mark Lamster
Barrington Fair

There's something romantic, eerie, and pathetic all at once about any work of abandoned architecture.

Mark Lamster
Too Much Stuff

In one of his classic routines, George Carlin wondered that there could be a "whole industry based on keeping an eye on your stuff."

Alexandra Lange
Arks of Knowledge

My review of Yale University's Kroon Hall was especially fun to write.

Mark Lamster
The Curious Architecture of Albert Spalding

The house that the Spaldings — of baseball fame — built for themselves was an oriental fantasy.

Alexandra Lange
Waiting On the Dream

I wrote a piece on the (lack of) development in Midtown West , also known as the Hudson Yards.

Owen Edwards
Remembering Julius Shulman

Looking back on an afternoon of chocolate, pastrami, and Scotch with modern architecture's iconic photographer.

Alexandra Lange
Kroon Hall

With its vaulted roof, communal spaces, and casual materials, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies’ new Kroon Hall is designed to float Yale into the 21st century, training the world’s future green leaders along the way.

Mark Lamster
Ezra & Julius

Julius Shulman and Ezra Stoller were the alfa and omega of American architectural photography.

Mark Lamster
A Plea for Crazy in Architecture

John Beckmann of the firm Axis Mundi is promoting an alternative to the Jean Nouvel tower that looks like a half-baked amalgam of several MVRDV projects.

Alexandra Lange
Numbers Game

In an attempt to skirt around the Landmakrs Preservation Commission, modernists in my neighborhood are declaring their taste through their house numbers.

Mark Lamster
Architecture for Sale (Wright vs. Johnson)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House and Philip Johnson's Farney House are both on the market.

Mark Lamster
Antwerp Central

Built at the turn of the twentieth century, Antwerp's central rail station is a resplendent mash of neo-baroque forms and oriental detail.

William Drenttel
Report from Hale County, Alabama

Greensboro Alabama is a city of contrasts, and a place where new design thinking is revealing itself in a surprising number of ways. An occasional report from Winterhouse Institute on its Design for Social Impact & Innovation Project.

Mark Lamster
Delayed Gratification: On Architectural Criticism

Caught up in the formal design aspects of a building, critics like Nicolai Ouroussoff overlook the social context.

Mark Lamster
The Most Beautiful Crapper in the World

In 1772, the Antwerp alderman Adrien van den Bogaert purchased a historic property in the center of the city and then hired architect Engelbert Baets to renovate the place.

Alexandra Lange
The Beauty of a Park

My review of the High Line can now be found on Design Observer.

Alexandra Lange
The Beauty of a Park

The High Line in Manhattan, whose first section opened Monday, would seem to be Olmsted’s nightmare.

Mark Lamster
House in the Hills

We spent this past weekend at the beautiful weekend home of the Woo family, a masterwork of modernist architecture sequestered high in the rolling Vermont hills.

Alan Rapp
Personal Space

Robert Sommer’s Personal Space: The Behavioral Basis of Design was published in forty years ago, and its compact title concept — an invisible but perceptible security zone surrounding an individual — caught on. But where is Sommer now? A recent study in Perception finds that listening to music on headphones alters our sense of sociospatial relations. Until these more contemporary strands of inquiry result in a truly new analysis of how we perceive our interpersonal zones today, Personal Space is now available in a new edition, with some additional commentary by Dr. Sommer, from Bosko Books in the UK

Mark Lamster
Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day in America, so let's talk for a moment about memorials.

Julie Lasky
This End Up: Renzo Piano's Modern Wing

Julie Lasky reviews the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing.

Mark Lamster
Back to the Future

Over on the Itinerant Urbanist, Karrie Jacobs recently wrote about her first impression of Daniel Libeskind's addition to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, in San Francisco.

Mark Lamster
Tbilisi's Hotel Iveria: A Defense

There's a piece on Oobject today that lists what that site claims are the fifteen worst “housing projects from hell.”

Thomas de Monchaux
The Mystery of Peter Zumthor

Thomas de Monchaux on architect Peter Zumthor's disarming, and perhaps even dangerous, appeal. Pritzker Prize Winner 2009.

Mark Lamster
Internally Yours

Is it me, or did the New Yorker just retroactively invent a new architectural movement?

Ken Worpole
Tidal Pools: Photographs by Jason Orton

Tidal pools were once common along the coast of Britain, particularly at seaside holiday resorts. Although many such pools have been destroyed or exist as ruins, others are being revived thanks to the energies of lido enthusiasts. This photo essay captures their beauty, even in decay.

Michael Sorkin
On Paul Auster

The annual Lewis Mumford Lecture has become an intellectual rite of spring for urbanists, architects, and students of both. Here is Michael Sorkin's introduction to novelist and filmmaker Paul Auster.

Mark Lamster
Bronx Cheer

To say that I've been disappointed by coverage of the new Yankee Stadium by the design press would be an understatement, as noted in this "rant" column for ID magazine.

Alexandra Lange
Standard Operating Procedure

From the earliest days of the High Line hoopla, the park’s future was literally entwined with that of Andre Balazs’s first ground-up hotel, the Standard New York. The reason the Standard is so good is that it is a 21st Century mash-up of one of Marcel Breuer’s most destructive ideas and one of Morris Lapidus’s best tweaks of the U.N. model of modernism.

Mark Lamster
Save the Library

These are tough times for those of us who care about books. The publishing industry is in a tailspin; electronic readers and the Internet are challenging the primacy of the printed page.

Mark Lamster
Defending Alice

The new Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center opens on Sunday — it looks great — and the reviews are starting to flow in. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and fairly dismissive of the original hall, by Pietro Belluschi and Eduardo Catalano.

Alexandra Lange
Rebooting the Festival Marketplace

The plans for New York's South Street Seaport aren't terrible. But the question to ask, now that the project is one hold, is: does New York need a fake fair?

Mark Lamster
Yankee Stadium: Remembered

Memories of Yankee Staidum vary for every fan, but the feeling of pure American nostalgia is the same for all.

Mark Lamster
Memories of Yankee Stadium

The opportunity to sit in the Yankee Stadium cheap seats close to the field and to become a part of a community was very special. One of the things I find most troubling about the new ballpark is that this opportunity will be dramatically compromised.

Alexandra Lange
The Brooklyn Children's Museum

The Brooklyn Children's Museum is hardly subtle in its attempt to please the Toys "R" Us crowd.

Alexandra Lange
JetBlue Terminal 5 (and TWA Terminal)

It feels like JetBlue has lost its sense of surprise in its middle age.

Glen Cummings
Athos Bulcão, The Artist of Brasilia

Athos Bulcão was a public artist, interior designer, muralist, furniture and graphic designer who collaborated with Oscar Niemeyer and others to define Brasilia — one of the 20th century’s most radical and controversially received urban experiments. Bulcão died on July 31 at the age of 90, and left behind an astonishing body of work.

Michael Bierut
The (Faux) Old Ball Game

Since 1992, every ballpark in America has been designed on the nostalgic model of Baltimore's Camden Yards, including the new parks for the Yankees and the Mets. Why is it impossible to build a baseball stadium that looks like it belongs in the 21st century?

Rick Poynor
Lost America: The Flamingo Motor Hotel

I found this old photo in a box at the back of my attic. It shows a motel in Flagstaff, Arizona where I stayed for a couple of nights in May 1978. I was 20, it was my first visit to the US, and for three weeks I had been touring around on Greyhound buses.

Dmitri Siegel
Learning from North Philadelphia

Dmitri Siegel visits Venturi, Scott Brown and Izenour's post-modern classic Guild House in Philadelphia and rereads Learning from Las Vegas.

Tom Vanderbilt
Discipline and Design

On a sweeping and fully realized scale, Richard Ross's photographs probes the disciplinary dynamics in the cruel hidden places you would expect them, and in the banal everyday places you might not have even noticed them.

Michael Bierut
Rest in Peace, Herbert Muschamp

Officially published for the first time as a posthumous tribute: a loving parody of the writing of the late, great architectural critic Herbert Muschamp.

Michael Bierut
Donal McLaughlin’s Little Button

In 1945, architect-turned-graphic-designer Donal McLaughlin designed a lapel pin for a conference in 1945 that became one of the most widely seen symbols in the world: the emblem for the United Nations. Tomorrow is his 100th birthday.

William Drenttel
Koolhaas and His Omnipotent Masters

Koolhaas recounts the story: he chose between working on NYC's Ground Zero and the Beijing CCTV project based on a fortune cookie he was given at a Chinese restaurant — in it, the goofy prognostication "Stunningly Omnipresent Masters Make Minced Meat of Memory." Instead of responding to fortune cookies, Rem Koolhaas could have changed the world.

William Drenttel
Diversity as Form: The Yale Architecture Posters

Since 1998, Michael Bierut has worked with Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, designing more than 40 posters. Mohawk Fine Papers has published a book celebrating this collaboration: Forty Posters for the Yale School of Architecture.

Michael Bierut
New House

In 1967, just after my tenth birthday, we moved from a cramped 1940s bungalow in an older Cleveland suburb to up-and-coming Parma, Ohio. I had been walking the earth for a full decade, but that fall I felt I was finally assuming my birthright as an American: a brand new house.

Michael Bierut
What's That Crashing Sound, Or, Eisenman in Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture and Art, DAA, DAAP, Ivory Soap, Proctor & Gamble, P&G, Clifton, Louis Kahn, Crosley Tower, Pruitt-Igoe, le Corbusier, Paul Rudolph, TaB, Jay Chatterjee, George Hargreaves and Associates, Michael Graves, Harry Cobb, Henry Cobb, Pei Cobb Fried, College Conservatory of Music, Frank Gehry, Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, Thom Mayne, Peter Eisenman, The Aronoff Center for Design and Art,School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, Wexner Center, New York Times, Paul Goldberger, Monacelli Press, Esther Bridavsky, Asya Palatova, Sarah Whiting, Kurt Forster, Silvia Kolbowski, Jeffrey Kipnis, Frank Gehry

Tom Vanderbilt
Small Worlds

One of the first things I like to do upon visiting a new city is to visit the scale-model version of itself. From Havana to Copenhagen, I've hunted down these miniature metropolises in dusty historical museums and under-visited exhibition halls. Surely one reason for their ineluctable allure is that simple Olympian sense of being able to consume as large as entity as Beijing or New York in a single eyeful.

Michael Bierut
Where the Happy People Go

The ferociously positive letters column in Architectural Digest magazine demonstrates that design can make people almost unnervingly happy.

William Drenttel
Move It Down . . . A Little to the Right

That some years ago, some poor sign installer went to put the first letter of the name of the museum up on the wall, and someone screamed, "No, you idiot! Lower! Much Lower! Get it down close to the edge. And a quarter-inch to the right." That the building is the Guggenheim Museum, and that the architect was Frank Lloyd Wright, makes this photographic detail especially interesting.

Debbie Millman
Steve Sikora, Thomas R. Wright + Charlie Lazor

Steve Sikora, Thomas R. Wright and Charlie Lazo discuss the finer points of pre-fab houses and modern design.

Julie Lasky
The Photography of Mark Robbins

Mark Robbins'
Households is a collection of portraits in which the sitters are sometimes sitting rooms (or kitchens or bedrooms), and the people are polished, draped, and arrayed like furniture. Composed to resemble architectural plans or elevations — or in some cases the triptychs of medieval altarpieces — the images represent home dwellers and their environments. Flesh, bone, brick, stone, contoured torsos, and varnished chairs assume equal status. The message is simple: You may not be what you eat, but you most certainly are where you live.
Mark Lamster
Return of the Prodigal Son

Can Alexander Brodsky reinvent Russian architecture?

Michael Bierut
When Design is a Matter of Life or Death

When structural engineer William LeMessurier realized that his work on Manhattan's Citicorp Center was flawed, he was faced with a choice: he could keep quiet and gamble with thousands of lives, or he could speak up. What would you do?

William Drenttel
Meet Me in St. Louis: The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts makes the radical assumption that the experience of art is about contemplation. Take your time. You are alone here. The light will change if you stay long enough.

Rob Walker
Original Tastemaker

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced a 650-home community near Raleigh, N.C., designed and built in a collaboration between Stewart and KB Home, a builder of residential houses.

Michael Bierut
Design by Committee

"Design by committee" is usually thought to be a bad thing, but it has produced one great piece of architecture, the United Nations Headquarters Building.

Michael Bierut
Looking for Celebration, Florida

An assessment of Celebration, Florida, a town built by the Walt Disney Company on "New Urbanist" planning principles in its tenth anniversary year.

Michael Bierut
Four Years After

After four years of ambiguity and contention and the World Trade Center site, Ellsworth Kelly's 2003 proposal seems wiser than ever.

Rick Poynor
Vladimir’s House and Garden of Earthly Delights

Spending two weeks in Vladimir Beck's house on the island of Vrnik in Croatia made me question, yet again, rigid distinctions between artist and designer. Here, it's impossible to separate the two. Beck has designed every feature with a high degree of thought for what might make a domicile located in such a setting pleasurable and practical to live in.

Lorraine Wild
Exhibitions by Renzo Piano and 2x4

Both architect Renzo Piano and graphic designers 2x4 are at the top of their respective games as designers, but the way they approach their own exhibitions (at LACMA and SFMOMA, respectively) places them at opposite poles of a style of communication, and maybe even belief.

Michael Bierut
The Supersized, Temporarily Impossible World of Bruce McCall

Illustrator Bruce McCall's vision of an exhuberant, overscale America is evoked by the opening of a new McDonald's in Chicago.

Rick Poynor
Why Architects Give Me the Willies

No matter how central graphic communication might be to our lives, architecture always dominates press coverage because it is very expensive, expresses the conditions of power, and is just plain big.

William Drenttel
Moving the Axum Obelisk

In the mid-1990s, I saw an exhibition at the New York Public Library of the greatest illustrated books of the 19th century. One book stood out for me: a massive tome by Henry H. Gorringe, titled Egyptian Obelisks and dated 1882. It's in my design collection because of a dubious memory that it's the first book to document a from-start-to-finish design process. Of course, the process it documents is how one moves an obelisk.

William Drenttel
Stop The Plant: The Failure of Rendering

There is no single rendering ominous enough to create public fear; no image so compelling as to create political momentum; and no symbol so memorable as to unite the opposition. Whether through artistic renderings or compelling information design, no one has made a visual case against these plants that is wholly effective. This is, I believe, a fundamental failure of design.

Michael Bierut
The Comfort of Style

The design process at the World Trade Center site has attracted enormous interest on one hand, and marginalized the role of designers on the other, as described in Philip Nobel's book Sixteen Acres: Architecture and the Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero.

Michael Bierut
Robert Polidori's Peripheral Vision

Robert Polidori's photographs depict contemporary architecture in the context of a decidedly imperfect world.

Michael Bierut
The Other Rand

The Fountainhead, a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand, continues to exert its influence over generations of architects and designers.

Jessica Helfand
Time, Space and The Microsoft Colonialists

If Microsoft displayed its marketing genius by introducing "Spaces" three weeks before Christmas, its failure as a compelling editorial product — as evidenced by its restrictive format, its templated narrowcasting, its uninspired design parameters — illuminates its ultimate weakness: these spaces have nothing to do with space, in all its rich, fascinating and deeply human complexity.

Michael Bierut
What We Talk About When We Talk About Architecture

Architectural critiques, such as those conducted at Yale University and documented in its student publication Retrospecta, can have the same drama as good theatre; like the public radio show "Car Talk" the subject at hand is merely a springboard for diverting digression.

William Drenttel
Learning from Las Vegas: The Book That (Still) Takes My Breath Away

Michael Bierut
Michael McDonough’s Top Ten Things They Never Taught Me in Design School

Architect Michael McDonough delineates the difference between educational theory and professional practice with “The Top 10 Things They Never Taught Me in Design School.”

Michael Bierut
(Over)explaining Design

From the murals at Rockefeller Center to the proposals for the World Trade Center site, designers demonstrate an eagerness to explain, and perhaps overexplain, their ideas. Can the explanations get in the way of the work? Should the work speak for itself?

William Drenttel
Rationalizing Absence

James Turrell's influence on World Trade Tower memorial design.

Jessica Helfand
Mind the Light, Light the Mind

As I began to describe Quaker Meeting for Worship — where one sits in silence for some period of time, in a large room with any number of other congregants, and where one stands to speak, on virtually any topic, when moved to do so — I realized that this presented a compelling metaphor for blogging.

William Drenttel
Shallow Water Dictionary

A couple of years ago I stumbled across a little out-of-print tract called the Shallow Water Dictionary: A Grounding in Estuary English by John R. Stilgoe, a professor of landscape architecture at Harvard.

Jessica Helfand
Sign Language: Endangered Species or Utopian Uprising?

At turns provocative and peculiar, photographs of a new building in Birmingham, England, hint at a utopian uprising: No angles. No signs. In other words: no branding?

Creative Opportunities
  • Twitter Facebook Google+
    Tumblr Pinterest RSS

    Design Observer
    social media à la carte
  • Newsletter signup