“Whoever wins the general election will bring radical change for better, or worse”

The leading parties manifestos contain bold pledges that will change Britain’s cities for generations, says Phineas Harper. He takes a look at the architecture and housing policies ahead of the UK’s general election. Not for generations have the British faced such a profound political crossroads as the choice they must make on 12 December. Of the […]

“We must recognise the workers who make museum-going a smooth architectural experience”

Following protests about working conditions at well-known museums – like the Marciano Art Foundation and MoMA – Mimi Zeiger says it’s time to address architecture’s relationship to unfair labour practices. A symbol of the Freemasons – the architecturally familiar square and compass – decorate the facade of the hastily shuttered Marciano Art Foundation, formerly the […]

“Cybertruck represents a highly conservative continuation of the status quo”

Tesla’s electric Cybertruck is billed as a radical redefinition of the car, but in fact draws on old-fashioned ideas of escape, argues Elizabeth Bisley, co-curator of the V&A museum’s new exhibition about car design. The prototype for Elon Musk’s Cybertruck was launched in LA just over a week ago at a testosterone-fuelled event in Tesla’s […]

“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 […]

“The creative industries are misreading the public”

With Brexit the British people have shown a greater appetite for risk than the creative sector, which needs to take the public more seriously or risk becoming irrelevant, says Martyn Perks of the Dissenters Design Network. A general election has been called. No one knows exactly what the UK public will do, but they will […]

“High-tech is ever edging away from its ecological and humanistic roots”

High-tech architecture has strayed far from its environmentally conscientious beginnings, but could rise again if it returns to them, writes Phineas Harper. The Sainsbury Centre in Norwich weighs 5,618.6 tons. We know this because, when its architect, Norman Foster, took his former mentor Richard Buckminster Fuller to visit the project, the internationally-celebrated inventor and godfather […]

“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. […]

“To end plastic pollution, we first need to eliminate language pollution”

Designers’ efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their products are being hampered by confusion over terminology and rampant greenwashing, writes Marcus Fairs. Greenwashing is back. As concern about climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and species extinction rises, so too are spurious claims about saving the planet. Terms like “sustainable”, “biodegradable”, “compostable” and “circular” increasingly […]

“Goldsmith Street offers a roadmap for precisely the type of housing the UK needs”

At a time when everything in the UK looks bleak, an environmentally conscious social housing scheme winning the Stirling Prize is a rare moment of hope, writes Piers Taylor. Most people inside and outside the United Kingdom will know that it’s a pretty rubbish place to live at the moment. The country is in turmoil, and completely divided. […]

“Facial recognition is a fundamental threat to society”

The use of facial recognition in Hong Kong and London’s King’s Cross demonstrates the need to control access to the technology in the same way other dangerous items are regulated, says Owen Hopkins. For the past few months I’ve been transfixed by the protests taking place in Hong Kong, and the way, as so often happens, […]

“Our dependency on growth, like on concrete, must be abolished”

The pursuit of infinite economic growth is driving climate breakdown and producing ecologically toxic architecture, argues Phineas Harper, one of the chief curators of the Oslo Architecture Triennale. Shipwrecked in a storm, you might avoid a watery grave if by chance the top of a mahogany grand piano came floating past. Clambering aboard this improvised […]

“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. […]

“Should architects design provocatively ugly architecture that does not conform to Instagram’s aesthetic conventions?”

Instagram has had a huge impact on the architecture of our cities and perhaps it is time that this changed, says Will Jennings. In just nine years, Instagram has risen from a fun photo-sharing app to a central element of contemporary culture. Instagrammable is now a recognised word, and as a verb “to Instagram” is […]

“The rapid deterioration of Earth’s biodiversity could be reversed equally quickly if we find new ways to design our cities”

Architects must act quickly and cooperatively to change cities and make their environmental good intentions reality, says Doug Voigt, urban design and planning partner at SOM. As the alarm bells have grown louder and more insistent with each new scientific report, organisations including the RIBA and the American Institute of Architects have added their voices to […]

“The basic foolishness is compounded by a screamingly patronising name – Whey Aye”

As Europe’s largest Ferris wheel is set to be built in Newcastle, Owen Hatherley questions why the giant wheels are still being built in cities across the world. Another Ferris wheel has just won planning permission, this time for a site on the Newcastle quayside. It provides an occasion to think about why there has been […]

“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 […]

“It is emphatically not the job of architecture education to mimic practice”

People who say that architecture education isn’t fit for purpose are ignoring the many educators and students addressing very real issues, says Sean Griffiths in defence of the current system. Architecture education is once again under attack. Patrik Schumacher condemns its “art school” model as ill-suited to the production of practice-ready architects. Meanwhile, others decry […]

“What could Foster bring to social housing today?”

The fact that Norman Foster wants to start building social housing again after 40 years is a sign that a lot of it may be about to be built, says Owen Hatherley. In the 1970s Foster designed a council estate for the first and last time. Bean Hill, in Milton Keynes, was devised in the early 1970s […]

“Design can’t solve all our problems, so stop pretending it can”

Designers may not be able to save the world by themselves, but they must help avert societal problems and the looming climate crisis, says Christine Murray. Designers, you know what your problem is? You just don’t know when to stop. You just have to design bloody everything. You get a piece of city to masterplan […]

“Jony Ive’s legacy as the most important designer of the last two decades is assured”

Jony Ive became the world’s most influential designer at Apple, says Owen Hopkins. His revolutionary products rescued the company from its decline and have ensured his legacy. According to Apple there are currently something in the region of 1.4 billion active users of its devices. There’s a good chance that you are reading this article […]

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