“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 […]

“Locals in Venice are feeling increasingly left out of the conversation”

As David Chipperfield begins the next stage of the restoration of the Procuratie Vecchie on Piazza San Marco in Venice, James Imam asks if architects can save cities straining to deal with increasing tourist numbers. David Chipperfield’s restoration of the Procuratie Vecchie is a declaration of solidarity with Venice’s residents. The city is besieged by hordes of […]

“We’re seeing an unprecedented mobilisation of architects in the fight against climate change”

With architects changing their ways in response to global warming, Phineas Harper asks: what does radical architecture look like in the era of climate change? A whole host of Stirling Prize-winning architecture practices have declared an emergency in response to accelerating climate change. Calling for a “paradigm shift”, they unveiled 11 pledges to bring architectural practice […]

“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, […]

“Architects are learning lessons from the start-up culture of the tech industry”

Architects are not natural disruptors, says Amanda Baillieu, but they are slowly learning how to invest their time and money on innovating their businesses. For years I have been calling for architects to behave more like startups, and it looks like the idea is finally catching on. Arriving for a meeting at the RIBA recently, […]

“The beheading of culture is irrevocable”

Celebrities attending the Met Gala not only misunderstood the concept of camp, but showed levels of waste that will lead to a backlash against displays of decadence, says Li Edelkoort. With growing unease I witnessed the spectacle at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the temple of culture as we once knew it. The displayed extravaganza, […]

“We couldn’t stop Balfron Tower from being privatised, in fact we probably helped it along”

We’re all to blame for the gentrification of Erno Goldfinger’s brutalist Balfron Tower, says Owen Hatherley, so stop getting angry at the architects. What is it about modernist architecture that people want to preserve? There have been increasing efforts in recent years by bored critics and historians to treat, say, brutalism as an architecture like any other, […]

“Viollet-le-Duc would not hesitate to build a new roof and spire”

Eugène Viollet-le-Duc’s Notre-Dame spire was much loved, but it was a fake. A modern replacement could become just as revered, says Tom Ravenscroft. Notre-Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt. French president Emmanuel Macron has promised as much and the unprecedented donations, which stand at around €850 million, means that the will and the funds are in […]

“The internet is broken and technology alone won’t be enough to fix it”

Stop worrying about the privatisation of public spaces, says Owen Hopkins, because the biggest threat to our democracy is the internet. It’s hard to believe the web is still just 30 years old. Despite the extraordinary ways it and the world have changed over that time, there’s one early adage that still holds firm. Conceived by […]

“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, […]

“Waterloo Garden Bridge is better than the Garden Bridge” says Christine Murray

The Extinction Rebellion protest in London deleted the cars from Waterloo Bridge and with little effort created a public space that the Garden Bridge would never have been, says Christine Murray. London finally got its garden bridge last week. No designer was involved and it didn’t cost a penny of public money. It happened, briefly, when Extinction Rebellion shut down […]

“The vision of the home as a tranquil respite from labour is a patriarchal fantasy”

Is the nuclear family home an architectural tool of repression and social control? asks Phineas Harper. The nuclear family house is one of the most successful architectural inventions ever. It has, spread across the world and is now the default template around which the vast majority of domestic architecture is designed and planning policies written. […]

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