The 2020s “will see the return of the real”, argues Aaron Betsky

As the 2020s begin, what will the next decade hold for architecture asks Aaron Betsky. Crystal balls are notoriously cloudy, tea leaves open to many interpretations, and, according to science fiction films such as Blade Runner, by now we would all be living with replicants. Future predictions are more wishful – or dreadful – scenarios, […]

“We have to do better than ugliness and incoherence. We can be woke and good designers as well”

The current way architecture is critiqued and presented at biennials and exhibitions is ugly, but it doesn’t need to be, argues Aaron Betsky. Does critical architecture have to be ugly? Must it forego form and image altogether to be effective? That would certainly seem to be the message of many recent books, exhibitions and biennial […]

“Attempts to stop terrorism at the fringes of architecture are becoming increasingly useless”

Architects and designers can’t design ways to protect mass terror attacks in America’s public spaces, but they should join the fight to eliminate the problem at its cause, argues Aaron Betsky. When you want to attack a democracy, go for its public spaces. That seems to be the tactic more and more terrorists are using. […]

“The best suburban malls were meccas with superb qualities”

As America’s suburban shopping malls are becoming ghost towns, Aaron Betsky argues that their complex architecture character means that they deserve more serious consideration. Once shopping had style. What you bought, where you bought it, and perhaps even what you wore when you bought it mattered. The stores, the stuff, and you all had to look good. […]

“What bothers many people is the sense of an alien culture”

The outrage over New York’s Hudson Yards is not really about ugly glass towers or bad urbanism – although it features both – but an unspoken disquiet that foreign ideas have overtaken a chunk of Manhattan, argues Aaron Betsky. What is wrong with glass skyscrapers? New York mayor Bill de Blasio, who is now running […]

“With IM Pei’s death, the last of the modern monument makers has passed”

With the passing of great modern architects like IM Pei and Kevin Roche, monumental architecture is becoming less relevant for today’s society, says Aaron Betsky. I heard a story a few years ago about the late IM Pei. Architect Sandi Pei, an old family friend, told me his father made a pilgrimage to Taliesin West, […]

“Coachella is a great place of experimentation that becomes a giant trash heap”

With Coachella now over, Aaron Betsky questions the value of the festival’s temporary sets and large-scale installations, and if the strain that their construction and destruction places on the planet is worth it. The Coachella Festival is a great place for experimentation, both in music and architecture. The question is whether it means anything. This year’s edition, […]

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