Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.


































































03.26.12
‘Deco Japan’ + Designing Women
The Japan Society's new exhibition
"Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945" displays the surprising globalism of this little-known period in Japanese design, when pent-up post-1923-earthquake desires for new goods and new traditions met up with a new openness to Western arts and the rise of industrialization




































































































09.28.10
Yummy!
I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition
Appetite, curated by Alexander Tochilovsky at the Herb Lubalin Center at Cooper Union, not least because it was bite-sized.




09.26.10
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.




09.24.10
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.











09.08.10
In Dwell: Hands Off the Icons
In the 
October 2010 issue of Dwell, which celebrates the magazine’s tenth anniversary by revisiting its own (generally happy) homeowners, I offer the following Argument.




09.07.10
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.





08.30.10
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.

















07.27.10
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.








07.20.10
Culture Shed: Where’s the Neighborhood?
CultureGrrl 
offers a critique of the NEA grant for Culture Shed, the Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group design for a Kunsthalle with retractable roofs over at Hudson Yards.





07.18.10
Hung Ceilings
Mad Men returns, and now it's time to speculate on the evolution of Peggy’s hair and the meaning of Betty’s dress choices




07.13.10
Time to Move On
A very nice 
house in Montauk embodies the most recent cliches in architecture: floating staircases, pocket doors, and glass floors.







07.06.10
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.




07.02.10
The Personality of Parks
Until Pier 6 at 
Brooklyn Bridge Park opened, my only experience of parks as a parent had been of neighborhood parks










06.17.10
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.







06.11.10
Op Art Eye Candy
I’m lucky that I get to live with a
Julian Stanczak painting, bought by my father-in-law in 1968, when Op Art was really something.




06.10.10
Pomo Time Machine
I’m writing more about
Warren Platner, my favorite terribly wonderful or wonderfully terrible architect.








06.02.10
Bloggers in the Archive
Geoff Manaugh’s announcement, on
BLDGBLOG, that he would be blogging from the CCA this summer irritated me, partly because the idea is not brand new.




05.27.10
The Plastics
This month’s
Vogue, which had several enraging features, is not yet fully online except for Blake Lively, bathing suits, clear plastic.






05.21.10
The Anti-Enthusiasts
Design Blogs: The Vacuum of Enthusiasm, my Design Observer manifesto on what the world of design on the internet needs, lives on in the comments.








05.14.10
It Was All Yellow
In 
Buying In, author Rob Walker avoids talking about the aesthetics of the Livestrong bracelet.




05.12.10
In Metropolis: The Visceralist
I spent a day and a half with
Peter Bohlin in deepest Pennsylvania and New York State, and was very impressed with his house projects and attitude toward design.






05.07.10
On Archpaper: Saccharine Design
My review of
Marcel Wanders’ exhibition Daydreams at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for The Architect’s Newspaper just went online and let’s just say I was not impressed.








05.02.10
What I Learned @dcritconference
The
D-Crit Conference is just a memory, so as a tribute to the afternoon presentations I saw, I offer a set of tangents.













04.15.10
All in the Execution
Ian Baldwin's review of The Grid Book calls out the coffee-table book format and it's middlebrow achievements.










04.03.10
Has the High Line Ruined Us?
I went to
Brooklyn Bridge Park on opening day in the pouring rain with stroller.






03.31.10
Moynihan on Design
At
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.




03.30.10
Texts Without Context
I keep thinking about Michiko Kakutani’s piece,
Texts Without Context, that begins the discussion of what is being lost to culture by the supremacy of the web.












03.16.10
Things of Beauty
Saul Bass matchbook covers are about the most beautiful things I have seen in some time.








03.08.10
Not A Learning Experience
The Privileges finally gives a real satire of almost-present day New York City, in which money is discussed and no one has to learn their lesson.






03.03.10
The (Architectural) Anthologist
After some digressions weird and
wonderful, the Nicholson Baker I loved from The Mezzanine and U and I and Room Temperature seems to be back, cranky and at sea and procrastinating.















02.03.10
In AN 02: As the Tide Turns
In MoMA’s 
Rising Currents exhibition, certain tropes of contemporary waterfront design immediately surfaced.

















01.13.10
The Yuck Factor
Watch
District 9 as a palate cleanser after the visual feast of Avatar.






01.07.10
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.




01.06.10
I Heart Huxtable
Ada Louise Huxtable is still the most knowledgeable, elegant, thoughtful critic out there.







12.31.09
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






12.21.09
Exciting Multi-Generational Moment
An essay and slideshow on the
design of James Joyce’s Ulysses by my mother, Martha Scotford, appears on Design Observer, where I was recently made a contributing writer.






















11.22.09
Another New York
Every time I get an issue of
New York Magazine lately I ask myself: is Adam Moss turning it into a men’s magazine?



















10.24.09
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.























































































Observed


Picture this: A photographer wins an AI Image competition with a real photo. "I wanted to show that nature can still beat the machine and that there is still merit in real work from real creatives," said Digital Artist Miles Astray before he was disqualified. 

The American artist Kehinde Wiley—whose work he describes as “shedding light on the inequities Black and Brown people face in our society,”—has been accused of sexual misconduct. Wiley has denied the charges, but two museums have canceled upcoming exhibitions of his work.

In tandem with this exhibition (on view through the end of January 2025),  a new, five-episode podcast—hosted by British design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn—traces the evolution of Gae Aulenti through the voices of friends, curators, and a range of international architects.

The Los Angeles Design Festival is looking for new board members.

The Obama Foundation is looking for a new VP of Communications.

An Idaho pub owner celebrates “Homosexual Awesomeness Month” because “Pride is too extreme.”

SCOTUS gets it right on tribal health care:  In Becerra v. San Carlos Apache Tribe, the justices ruled that the federal government will have to pay more for health care on the reservations, making it a ruling on sovereignty

Something’s going on at Baraboo High School, y’all. Wisconsin? Thoughts?

Anne H. Berry, whose work focuses on representation and diversity in design as well as ethnic and racial disparities in the field, has been selected to be the next Director of the School of Design in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at UIC Chicago.

Read about the fifty people helping to shape Chicago. (Gensler's Andre Brumfield leads the charge!)

You need a Wall Street Journal digital subscription to view this in its entirety, but the story needs to be shared whether you read it or not: high-profile school shootings, and the fear they spread, are shaping how architects design the modern American school.

Anna Gerber and Anna Holsgrove's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is a new quarterly magazine focused on the relationship between technology and an unlikely trio of influences: ancient wisdom, spiritual practices, and natural intelligence. Their first issue is expected later this summer.

Grace Jun's new book on adaptive, wearable design—Fashion, Disability, and Co-design—is,  in her own words, “a practical book on the intricacies of design with examples of the many ways people can collaboratively work together”. Jun will be speaking on May 31st at Rizzoli Bookstore at 6pm in New York City.  (She was our guest on The Design of Business | The Business of Design back in season two.)

At the Business Design Centre in London, New Designers—now in its 39th year—brings together a whopping 3,000 design graduates every year from over 100 universities. The first week (26–29 June) highlights fashion and costume, contemporary design crafts, textiles, ceramics, glass, jewelry, and precious metalwork. The second week (3–6 July 2024) showcases furniture, product design, industrial design, spatial design, graphic design, illustration,  animation, motion art, digital art, and game design.

In a shocking announcement this morning, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia announces it will cease operations effective on June 7, 2024.

In partnership with the IKEA Foundation, What Design Can Do supports creative climate solutions aimed at fostering a more circular society. The winning projects in their latest challenge—Redesign Everything–include approaches such as bio-cement reef structures that mimic oyster reefs, bead alternatives designed to eliminate microplastics, and the use of agro-industrial fruit waste to create sustainable biomaterials.

Can you taste design? Designer, researcher, and author of Why Fonts Matter Sarah Hyndman has been conducting “typosensory research” experiments into how our senses “sway our perception.” 

A Banksy museum… with no Banksys?

Three Black men are suing American Airlines for racial discrimination, alleging all Black male passengers — none of whom were traveling together — were removed from their departing flight "because a white male flight attendant had complained about an unidentified passenger's body odor.” In 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory warning Black travelers that the airline had a “corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias.” The advisory was lifted in 2018.

How do you know it’s racist if you didn’t watch it? This was largely the response from the three judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, who appeared unmoved by the accusation of a white former manager that his employer, Honeywell International, had fired him for refusing to attend a brief training session on unconscious bias. “It would be very different if your client had watched it and came in and said, ‘I found it discriminatory for the following reasons,’” Circuit Judge Amy St. Eve said to plaintiff Charles Vavra’s lawyer. Vavra sued Honeywell in 2021.

The not-so-quiet panic from climate scientists.

Donald Trump has been framing Chinese immigrants as mostly “military-age” men, here to stir trouble from within. “And it sounds like to me, are they trying to build a little army in our country? Is that what they’re trying to do?” he said in a campaign stop last month. But one immigrant who traveled through Ecuador to the U.S. border told the AP that it’s not true. “It is impossible that they would walk on foot for over one month” to organize an attack, he said. “We came here to make money.” Another, who hopes to make enough to bring his wife and children, said, “This trip is deadly. People die. The trip isn’t suitable for women — it’s not suitable for anyone.” 

“You need to kick that f***ing door down!” Vice President Kamala Harris was the guest of honor at an AAPI Heritage Month event this week and encouraged attendees to break through the barriers they still face. “We have to know that sometimes, people will open the door for you and leave it open, sometimes they won't. And then you need to kick that f***ing door down," as the audience cheered. "Excuse my language," she laughed.

This is why we can’t have nice things. An art installation project called the Dublin Portal experience, a 24/7 live cam and screen offering a real-time link between Dublin and New York City, is being ruined by “a small minority of people” doing “inappropriate things.”

More than 100 high-profile French art world figures have signed an open letter supporting the Palais de Tokyo in Paris after longtime patron Sandra Hegedüs withdrew her funding, saying, “I don’t want to be associated with the new, very political direction at the Palais de Tokyo...dictated by the defence of wokeism, anti-capitalism, pro-Palestine, etc.’” At issue was the show Past Disquiet, which focuses on four “museums in exile” and is constructed as a touring exhibit. From the response to Hegedüs: “These words and these methods, using a popular tribunal on social networks… are dangerous for the art world, for artists and for the freedom of institutions, as well as for our democracy.”

The pageant system is a toxic workplace, according to Miss USA Noelia Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava, who announced their resignations last week. Srivastava said her "personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization," and Voigt cited mental health reasons in a statement, then later accused the Miss America Organization of providing "a toxic work environment ... that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment." Miss Colorado Arianna Lemus resigned in solidarity on Friday, writing that Voigt and Srivastava's "voices have been stifled by the constraints of a contract that undermines their rights and dignity.” 

Democracy, it’s a design thing! Last March, a federal judge ruled that New Jersey’s ballot — a confusing design known as the “county line” system — was likely unconstitutional and couldn’t be used in June’s primary. One county has unveiled their new ballot design, which looks awfully familiar. 

Heading to NY Design Week? Here’s the itinerary. (It’s May 16-23.)

Ann Pizzorusso, a geologist and Renaissance art historian, says she has finally solved one of the art world’s enduring mysteries: where in the world was the Mona Lisa when she was sitting for Leonardo da Vinci? It took her dual expertise to find the clues that were there all along. “Geologists don’t look at paintings, and art historians don’t look at geology,” she says. 

Three chatbots explain themselves



Jobs | June 14