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Architecture


04.08.14: Alexandra Lange

Lucia Eames, 1930-2014
An appreciation of Lucia Eames (1930-2014).
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03.23.14: Mark Lamster

The Astrodome and the Challenges of Preservation
The Astrodome and the future of preservation.
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03.06.14: Alexandra Lange

Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories
A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.
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03.04.14: Jennifer Kabat

Genzken and the City
A review of Isa Genzken's current retrospective on view at the MOMA.
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02.11.14: 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.
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02.01.14: Alexandra Lange

Criticism = Love
Why you have to love design to be a critic.
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01.18.14: Rob Walker

Hale County Revisited
An in-depth look at Hale County, Alabama, an accidental social-design laboratory.
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12.30.13: Alexandra Lange

Year of the Women
A year-end wrap-up of my favorite stories. The common theme? Women and the making of design.
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12.06.13: Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange

Lunch with the Critics: Fourth-Annual Year-End Awards
Our intrepid critics, Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster, celebrate (and castigate) the best and worst architecture and design of 2013.
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11.18.13: Alexandra Lange

Art On Campus
A review of the renovated Blaffer Art Museum and James Turrell's latest skyspace, "Twilight Epiphany."
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11.14.13: Steven Heller and Mirko Ilić

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

L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman
A Kickstarter for an upcming exhibition on the wotk of Deborah Sussman in Los Angeles.
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11.06.13: Mark Lamster

Can the Doomed Astrodome Save Modernism?
The Astrodome and the Future of Modern Preservation
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10.14.13: 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.
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10.06.13: John Foster

Giraffe Houses of the Ozarks
Accidental Mysteries for October 6, 2013 focuses on the giraffe houses of the Ozarks.
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09.24.13: 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.
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09.09.13: Mark Lamster

High Net Space: The New International Style
High Net Space: The New International Style
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08.30.13: 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.
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08.30.13: Mark Lamster

Architecture's Proto-Blogger
G.E. Kidder Smith, forgotten master of architectural criticism.
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08.20.13: 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?
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07.23.13: Alexandra Lange

Nevermind the Masterpiece
What's your "Masterpiece of Everyday New York"? A broken umbrella? A shirtwaist? Discarded gum?
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06.24.13: Mark Lamster

Lost Landmarks in New York and Fort Worth
Modern landmarks, in New York and Fort Worth, are destroyed before preservationist can act.
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06.21.13: Alexandra Lange

Every Little Thing
Cranbrook: A campus where the designers have thought of everything.
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06.04.13: Alexandra Lange

Praise the Partner(s)
Salute Denise Scott Brown because she deserves it, but let's not forget the other partners.
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04.24.13: Alexandra Lange

Beyond Gorgeous
Is prettiness a distraction? Yes, when it comes to taking Alexander Girard seriously.
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04.23.13: Mark Lamster

The Bush Library
A review of the Bush Library.
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04.18.13: Alexandra Lange

Architecture Without Signs
If you can't find the entrance, there's a problem with the architecture.
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04.09.13: Alexandra Lange

What It Costs (to Buy a Bench, to Extend a Curb)
Participatory budgeting lets communities put their own urban priorities in order.
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04.03.13: Alexandra Lange

Portlandia + Timelessness
No better place to consider what looks timeless now than downtown Portland.
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04.01.13: Mark Lamster

How to Design an Iconic NY Fast Food Joint
Design secrets of New York fast food icons.
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03.18.13: Alexandra Lange

Instagramming Around Australia
Lessons from contemporary Australian architecture, plus what I saw on Instagram.
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03.05.13: Mark Lamster

Inventing the Modern Library
A new exhibition of Henri Labrouste, the French architect who invented the modern library.
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02.17.13: Alexandra Lange

Patterns of Houston
How do you critique the urbanism of Houston? Look for patterns.
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02.04.13: Alexandra Lange

Why Bernadette Fox Is Scary
The heroine of Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an award-winning female architect. Don’t envy her life.
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01.21.13: Alexandra Lange

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

Kicked A Building Lately?
That question, the title of the 1976 collection of Ada Louise Huxtable’s work for the New York Times, embodies her approach to criticism.
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01.07.13: Alexandra Lange

George Nelson in Two Dimensions
Ignore the Coconuts and Marshmallows, admire George Nelson's modular graphics.
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12.10.12: Mark Lamster, Alexandra Lange

Lunch With The Critics: Third-Annual Year-End Awards
Idiosyncratic awards bestowed on architecture, design and media.
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11.27.12: 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.
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11.13.12: Alexandra Lange

Knolling Your Polling Place
Knolling your polling place: for the next election, a little spatial organization would go a long way.
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11.11.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 11.11.12
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is Tiny Houses.
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10.22.12: Mark Lamster

High (Line) Anxiety
Is the High Line above criticism?
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10.14.12: Alexandra Lange

Shopping With Sandro, and Other Tumblr Delights
Digitizing the Miller House Collection, and other museum and corporate visual archives on Tumblr.
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10.08.12: Alexandra Lange

Having Fun at the Museum
Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.
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09.27.12: Alexandra Lange

Let's Talk About Women in Architecture
A panel on Women in Design, and questions about whether such panels should exist.
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09.10.12: 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.
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08.28.12: 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!
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08.21.12: Rob Walker

The City In Your Dreams
A blog collecting stories for mapping the "collective unconscious" of NYC.
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07.28.12: 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.
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06.16.12: Rob Walker

The Built Villain
A Dallas condo dispute considered as a monster movie, starring a built villain.
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06.15.12: Alexandra Lange

The Charismatic Megafauna of Design
Identifying the "charismatic megafauna" of design and the critical uses of their popularity.
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06.09.12: Alexandra Lange

Introducing Strelka Press
On Strelka Press, a new "digital first" publisher of longform architecture and design criticism.
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05.30.12: Alexandra Lange

Dress Your Family in Formica and Faux Bois
The materials of architecture and interiors in the fashions of Schiaparelli and Prada.
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05.17.12: Alexandra Lange

The Well-Tempered Environment
Water features, old trees, food trucks. Three elements of the architecture of outdoor civic life in North Texas.
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05.11.12: 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?
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05.02.12: Alexandra Lange

Against Kickstarter Urbanism
You can Kickstart an edible spoon, but not a city.
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04.23.12: Alexandra Lange

Fixing South Street Seaport: Is New Architecture Enough?
Fighting over Ben Thompson's postmodernist landmark Pier 17 at South Street Seaport. Should it stay or should it go?
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04.17.12: Alexandra Lange

Carlo Scarpa, Quilter
Olivetti and Doges: How Carlo Scarpa updated the Venetian treasure chest.
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04.05.12: Alexandra Lange

Frank Lloyd Wright + Katniss Everdeen
On photographing architecture as sculpture and telling stories via architecture.
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03.10.12: Alexandra Lange

City of Shoes: Is Urbanism Scalable?
Can Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh scale his online shoe business into a city?
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03.09.12: 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.
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02.22.12: 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?
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02.17.12: 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.
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02.13.12: 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.
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01.17.12: Alexandra Lange

A Memorial to (Random Access) Memory
What does "RAMAC Park" mean to you?
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01.05.12: 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.
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12.22.11: Alexandra Lange

Girard the Magnificent
Is it enough to be gorgeous? If so, Todd Oldham and Keira Coffee's 15-pound Alexander Girard wins Book of the Year.
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12.05.11: Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange

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.
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11.22.11: Alexandra Lange

Decorating Brutalism: The Interiors of Kevin Roche
How do you decorate a brutalist building? For architect Kevin Roche, the answer was brown, mirrors, and trees.
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10.19.11: Alexandra Lange

TWA: Still Kicking
Not a disappointment: a first thrilling visit to Eero Saarinen's legendary flight center.
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10.12.11: Alexandra Lange

Should We Boycott the New Barnes?
More ethical quandaries about buildings and food.
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09.13.11: Alexandra Lange

Thinking in Tumblr
Don't write a book, make a Tumblr.
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08.24.11: Alexandra Lange

Up From Zero, the Novel
A post-9/11 fiction scooped by reality.
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08.10.11: Alexandra Lange

Reading in Public
A new book club with an unusual topic: architecture and design.
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08.05.11: Alexandra Lange

Welcome Back, Overbite
Albert C. Ledner's mid-century scallops and portholes have staying power.

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08.02.11: 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.
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07.06.11: Advertisement

For Sale: The Earliest Modern Studio in America
In 1931, a young American artist designed a modern studio on a mountaintop in the Berkshires in Connecticut: it would be one of the first modern houses in America, pre-dating Frank Lloyd’s Fallingwater by five years. It has been the home of Winterhouse since 1998, and is now for sale.
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06.15.11: 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.
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06.11.11: Alexandra Lange

New Apple HQ, 1957
Wouldn't it be more radical for Apple to move back to town?
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06.02.11: John Thackara

Sweat Equity Infra
The Millau Viaduct is a tourist attaction in the making. Future vistors will gawk at it and wonder: “how *did* they build that?”
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05.24.11: Mark Lamster

The Unsung Genius of Flemish Architecture
The New Flemish Architecture should not be underestimated, though it usually is.
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05.12.11: Alexandra Lange

Manhattan Museum Musical Chairs
Bye, bye Museum of American Folk Art. Hello the forward march of the Modern.
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05.04.11: Alexandra Lange

Science Gets Around to Architecture
Why are we still privileging scientific studies over visual thinking?
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04.19.11: Alexandra Lange

City Beautiful of Kazakhstan
Why is Norman Foster the go-to guy for new capitals?
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04.11.11: 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...
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03.18.11: Alexandra Lange

Bad Faith Towers
Atlantic Yards trades titanium dream for prefab reality.
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02.18.11: Nancy Levinson

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

An Empire State of Mind
Join in a running commentary on Andy Warhol's film "Empire," at MoMA.
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02.17.11: Mark Lamster

Cities from the Sky
A new exhibition of urban photographs by Sze Tsung Leong.
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02.17.11: Alexandra Lange

I Was an Unhappy Hipster
In a renovation by an architect, for a critic, the bookshelves can be a battleground.
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02.14.11: Mark Lamster

MoCA Loco
A weekend visit to MoCA, and barren downtown LA.
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02.04.11: Rob Walker

Go Figure
A recurring feature in architectural renderings: the little human figures who inhabit the rendered world.
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01.27.11: Rick Poynor

On My Shelf: Nairn's London
Inside the architecture critic Ian Nairn’s classic, idiosyncratic guide to London’s buildings and spaces.
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01.07.11: Rick Poynor

How to Chew Gum while Walking
We go round in circles but the central issue doesn’t change: what can a designer add to a project beyond fulfilling the client’s brief?
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12.24.10: Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange

Lunch With The Critics: Year-End Awards
Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange pick the best and worse moments in design for 2010.
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12.23.10: Mark Lamster

The Once & Future Whitney Museum
The Whitney: An Architectural Tour.
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12.15.10: Mark Lamster

British Incursion
Stirling, Foster, and a new association with the Architectural Review.
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12.13.10: Mark Lamster

Beauty on the Border
Stop-you-in-your-tracks beauty on the US/Canada border.
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12.01.10: Mark Lamster

The Ugliest Object I Have Ever Owned
What's the ugliest object you've ever owned (and loved)?
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11.17.10: Mark Lamster

Road Trips: Louwman Museum and Powers Field
Thinking about new(ish) projects by Michael Graves and Rafael Vinoly
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11.13.10: Mark Lamster

Design Writing: Vital Field or Museum Piece?
Is traditional architectural criticism dead?
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11.12.10: Alexandra Lange

Ornament & Time
Another loss to the digital age: the architectural clock.
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11.09.10: Mark Lamster

Glass Houses
A new blog on architecture, design, art, new york, books and sport by Mark Lamster.
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11.09.10: Alexandra Lange

Super 8
Is BIG's 8 House just another version of the 'burbs?
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11.05.10: Mark Lamster

LOMEX: Paul Rudolph’s Plan for Lower Manhattan
Does anything not look great as a model? Paul Rudolph’s proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway modeled by Cooper Union architectural students.
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11.05.10: Alexandra Lange

Keeping Faith
A church and a cemetery reawaken my faith in a higher architectural standard.
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11.05.10: Alexandra Lange

GourmetLive: The Architecture of Food
Now that we know we produce too much waste, now that aesthetics are suspect, now that we must compost or perish, how do design and architecture retool themselves for less, or better, or tastier consumption?
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11.05.10: 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.
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10.25.10: 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.
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10.22.10: Alexandra Lange

AN Friday Review: Harry Weese
I review the new book The Architecture of Harry Weese. I was dreaming of a monograph on Weese only a few months ago. Unfortunately, this book was not what I had in mind.
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10.22.10: Mark Lamster

Chased
Chase has shuttered its iconic bank branch at 43rd and Fifth, and I’m pissed and sad about it at once.
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10.21.10: 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.
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10.21.10: Andrew Blauvelt

Designer Finds History, Publishes Book
Andrew Blauvelt takes stock of the graphic design history movement that began in the 1980s.
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10.21.10: 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?
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10.20.10: Alexandra Lange

In Dwell: Platner's Opulent Modernism
I see Warren Platner as a missing link between modernism and post-modernism, and another hero of the interior ignored by architectural history.
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10.16.10: 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.
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10.15.10: 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.
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10.07.10: Alexandra Lange

Change Observer: "Small Scale" Reviewed
My review of the Museum of Modern Art's first foray into socially conscious design: Small Scale, Big Change.
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10.06.10: 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.
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10.03.10: Alexandra Lange

Not Afraid of Color
Alice Rawsthorn and I think alike on the Le Corbusier palette.
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10.02.10: 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
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09.26.10: 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.
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09.24.10: 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.
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09.21.10: 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.
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09.20.10: 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.
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09.18.10: Mark Lamster

Sukkah City
The sukkah, a (green!) temporary structure erected to celebrate the Jewish harvest festival, is an ideal form for an experimental architectural competition.
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09.13.10: Alexandra Lange

If These Walls Could Talk
On the ABC sitcom Modern Family, three different families are visually defined by their living rooms.
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09.12.10: 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.
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09.12.10: 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.
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09.11.10: 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.
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09.10.10: Alexandra Lange

Make It Bigger
Anthropologie, the latest tenant of the Design Research Headquarters, simply doesn't get it.
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09.07.10: 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.
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08.30.10: 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.
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08.24.10: 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.
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08.20.10: Mark Lamster

Eero Saarinen at 100
Eero Saarinen, who died prematurely in 1961, would have been 100 years old today.
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08.12.10: 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.
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08.12.10: 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.
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08.09.10: 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.
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08.02.10: 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?
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07.28.10: 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.
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07.27.10: Mark Lamster

Lunch with the Critics: Lincoln Center
Over on DO, Alexandra Lange and I launch our new feature, Lunch with the Critics.
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07.27.10: 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.
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07.26.10: 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.
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07.13.10: 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.
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07.12.10: Alexandra Lange

Up in the Air
For spires in New York, height doesn’t matter, style does.
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07.07.10: Alexandra Lange

Out of Love with Piano
After reading Reading Martin Filler’s review of Renzo Piano’s proposed addition to the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, I was struck again by how Piano’s critical reception seems to have curdled.
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07.06.10: 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.
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07.01.10: Mark Lamster

Philip Johnson's Plan for America
We Americans are a can-do, optimistic lot.
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07.01.10: 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.
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06.22.10: Alexandra Lange

A Return to Modern Roots
I finally got a chance to see the new North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, by Thomas Phifer & Partners, which opened this spring.
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06.21.10: Steven Heller

Fascist Seduction
A visit to Mussolini’s Esposizione Universale Roma makes evident that one can be fervently anti-fascist and still admire — indeed savor — aesthetics for their own merits. 
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06.17.10: 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.
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06.16.10: 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.
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06.16.10: Alexandra Lange

In Metropolis: Blue Sky Thinking
What’s really happening at Inland Steel?
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06.10.10: Alexandra Lange

Pomo Time Machine
I’m writing more about Warren Platner, my favorite terribly wonderful or wonderfully terrible architect.
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06.06.10: 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.
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06.04.10: Alexandra Lange

AIA Guide, Family Style
Page 627, upper right corner, of the new AIA Guide mentions my husband, Mark Dixon.
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06.03.10: 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.
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06.03.10: 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.
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06.01.10: 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.
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05.24.10: Alexandra Lange

Modernism on the Range
I was amused that the Incredibles lived in a little Marcel Breuer butterfly-roof box, one much like the 1948 House in the Museum Garden.
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05.22.10: Mark Lamster

Ballet Schooled
The latest alterations to Lincoln Center were rolled out to the press at the end of last week.
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05.14.10: 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.
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05.10.10: 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).
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05.10.10: 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.
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05.06.10: Alexandra Lange

Straw Men Redux
I can't help but compare and contrast Nicolai Ourossoff's opening sentences of his recent work.
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04.28.10: 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.
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04.27.10: 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.
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04.23.10: 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.
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04.13.10: 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.
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04.08.10: 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.
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03.31.10: Alexandra Lange

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.
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03.28.10: Alexandra Lange

My Favorite SANAA
It is thrilling that SANAA has won the 2010 Pritzker Prize for many reasons.
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03.25.10: 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.
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03.23.10: Alexandra Lange

Scarano's School for Scandal
What was so terrible about Robert Scarano’s practice is what is terrible about Scarano’s practice.
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03.21.10: 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.
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03.17.10: Alexandra Lange

Doing Addition
When I tweeted yesterday on the rumored short list for the San Francisco MoMA expansion competition, Curbed SF called me sour!
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03.14.10: 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.
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03.11.10: Alexandra Lange

Critical Mass
Not to be overly self-referential, but I have to highlight this paragraph of Places editor Nancy Levinson’s response to the comments on her response to my Nicolai Ouroussoff piece.
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03.10.10: 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.
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03.09.10: Alexandra Lange

House Upon House
There’s now much more to drool over online regarding Herzog & de Meuron’s 12 gabled VitraHaus in Weil am Rhein.
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03.01.10: Alexandra Lange

On DO: Why Ouroussoff Is Not Good Enough
Well, it took me about six month to work up to this, but here goes: If the death of the architecture critic is nigh, we really need better ones than Ouroussoff occupying the top spots.
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03.01.10: 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.
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02.26.10: 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.
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02.25.10: Mark Lamster

Three Days in Vegas
My stab at narrative travel journalism.
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02.25.10: 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.
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02.19.10: 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.
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02.18.10: Alexandra Lange

Why Nicolai Ouroussoff Is Not Good Enough
Nicolai Ouroussoff might turn out to be the last architecture critic, which makes it even more imperative to say: He is not making a good case for keeping the breed.
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02.10.10: Alexandra Lange

Beyond Bodoni & Corb
In college, it was all about Le Corbusier, though by senior year, if I had to hear “Garches” one more time I might have screamed.
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01.26.10: 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.
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01.25.10: 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.
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01.24.10: 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.
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01.21.10: Alexandra Lange

Buildings That Aren't There
Photography needs to prove itself again as an interpretive medium for architecture somewhere this side of art.
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01.20.10: 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?
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01.11.10: Sarah Williams Goldhagen

Moshe Safdie
Review of architect Moshe Safdie's Mamilla Alrov Center in Jerusalem.
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01.07.10: 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.
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01.06.10: 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.
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01.04.10: 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.
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01.01.10: 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.
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12.31.09: 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
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12.30.09: Alexandra Lange

After Buildings
Looking over the 10 Best architecture lists for this year and this decade I notice one thing: no buildings.
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12.22.09: 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.
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12.19.09: 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.
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12.14.09: Alexandra Lange

In a F.O.G.
I am thinking about adding films to my undergraduate class at NYU, namely Sketches of Frank Gehry.
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12.10.09: 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.
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12.10.09: Alexandra Lange

UN, Now and Then
On the United Nations five-year renovation, systems and sustainability upgrade and preservation effort.
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12.01.09: 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?
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12.01.09: Alexandra Lange

XL
On the High Museum of Art's tribute to John Portman, Atlanta’s ur-architect and greatest claim to urban influence.
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11.29.09: 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.
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11.28.09: Alexandra Lange

See the USA
My husband and I took a three-week modern architecture tour of the Midwest.
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11.21.09: 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.
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11.18.09: 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.
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11.17.09: 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.
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11.16.09: Alexandra Lange

Smaller Wonder: Brooklyn Children's Museum
My first encounter with the expanded Brooklyn Children’s Museum made me ask several questions.
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11.12.09: Alexandra Lange

Love & Architecture
My somewhat racy, somewhat serious take on one of the first architecture power couples, Aline and Eero Saarinen
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10.26.09: 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.
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10.24.09: 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.
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10.22.09: Alexandra Lange

Love & Architecture
When Aline met Eero in January 1953, she was the associate art editor and critic for the New York Times. A little over a year later she would become Aline B. Saarinen.
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10.16.09: 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.
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10.14.09: 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.
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10.14.09: 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.
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10.12.09: Alexandra Lange

The Wall Vanishes
Just another contemporary house in the East Village.
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10.08.09: Alexandra Lange

Home Range
I write about three contemporary houses by up-and-coming New York firms for The Architect’s Newspaper
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10.01.09: 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.
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09.24.09: 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.
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09.23.09: 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
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09.20.09: Mark Lamster

Underground Architects
The one question people often ask that I don't enjoy answering is, "Who's your favorite architect?"
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09.17.09: 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.
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09.13.09: 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.
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09.13.09: John Cantwell

The Big Screen in Big D
The brand new $1.2 billion home of the Dallas cowboys has a design feature that promises to turn football games there into a weird mashup of football and pinball.
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09.03.09: Alexandra Lange

Won't Get Fooled Again
News of the redevelopment of the Atlantic Yards keeps getting worse.
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08.30.09: 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.
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08.28.09: 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.
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08.24.09: 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.
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08.20.09: Mark Lamster

Barrington Fair
There's something romantic, eerie, and pathetic all at once about any work of abandoned architecture.
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08.18.09: 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."
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08.10.09: Alexandra Lange

Arks of Knowledge
My review of Yale University's Kroon Hall was especially fun to write.
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08.10.09: Mark Lamster

The Curious Architecture of Albert Spalding
The house that the Spaldings — of baseball fame — built for themselves was an oriental fantasy.
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07.29.09: Alexandra Lange

Waiting On the Dream
I wrote a piece on the (lack of) development in Midtown West , also known as the Hudson Yards.
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07.29.09: Owen Edwards

Remembering Julius Shulman
Looking back on an afternoon of chocolate, pastrami, and Scotch with modern architecture's iconic photographer.
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07.28.09: 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.
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07.20.09: Mark Lamster

Ezra & Julius
Julius Shulman and Ezra Stoller were the alfa and omega of American architectural photography.
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07.17.09: 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.
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07.15.09: 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.
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07.08.09: 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.
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07.06.09: 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.
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07.02.09: 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.
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06.24.09: 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.
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06.19.09: Alexandra Lange

The Beauty of a Park
My review of the High Line can now be found on Design Observer.
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06.15.09: Alexandra Lange

The Beauty of a Park
The High Line in Manhattan, whose first section opened Monday, would seem to be Olmsted’s nightmare.
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06.07.09: 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.
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06.03.09: 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
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05.25.09: Mark Lamster

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

This End Up: Renzo Piano's Modern Wing

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


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05.11.09: 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.
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05.07.09: 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.”
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04.29.09: 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.
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04.23.09: Mark Lamster

Internally Yours
Is it me, or did the New Yorker just retroactively invent a new architectural movement?
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04.15.09: 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.
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04.15.09: 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.
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04.09.09: 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.
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03.02.09: 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.
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02.26.09: 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.
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02.20.09: 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.
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01.21.09: 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?
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01.08.09: Mark Lamster

Le Corbusier: Tres Grand
"Just how much personal history do we require to truly understand an artist’s body of work?" That's the question that launched my review of Nicholas Fox Weber's biography of the architect Le Corbusier.
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01.01.09: 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.
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12.29.08: 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.
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11.19.08: 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.

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10.01.08: Alexandra Lange

JetBlue Terminal 5 (and TWA Terminal)
It feels like JetBlue has lost its sense of surprise in its middle age.
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08.11.08: 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.
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03.31.08: 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?
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02.17.08: 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.
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01.27.08: 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.
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11.27.07: 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.
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10.09.07: 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.
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07.25.07: 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.
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04.09.07: 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.
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01.05.07: 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.
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11.20.06: 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.
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10.12.06: 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
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09.13.06: 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.
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07.17.06: 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.
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07.14.06: 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.
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05.18.06: 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.
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05.14.06: Alissa Walker

Why Scientology is Good for Hollywood
If you live where I do, in the actual city of Hollywood, just a few blocks away from where the Oscars are held, you see the Church of Scientology as somewhat of a savior. Within a two-mile corridor along Hollywood Boulevard, the Church owns eight historic buildings, four of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. In a neighborhood where architectural triumphs evaporate with little remorse, Scientology is the most ardent preservationist force in town.
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04.17.06: Mark Lamster

Return of the Prodigal Son
Can Alexander Brodsky reinvent Russian architecture?
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04.06.06: 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?
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04.03.06: 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.
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03.05.06: 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.
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02.12.06: 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.
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10.13.05: 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.
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09.11.05: 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.
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07.27.05: 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.
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07.04.05: 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.
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04.18.05: 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.
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04.08.05: Lorraine Wild

The Scourge of "Tuscan"
Where whole new neighborhoods are still being constructed (i.e., Orange or Riverside counties in California) "Tuscan" is the style du jour. And now the mighty "Tuscan" encroaches at the global scale: new housing in places like Orange County, China, a recently constructed suburb near Beijing, and similar suburban developments adjacent to Bangalore echo the southern Californian template of total bogusness.
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03.13.05: 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.
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03.10.05: 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.
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02.23.05: 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.
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02.03.05: 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.
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01.08.05: Michael Bierut

Robert Polidori's Peripheral Vision
Robert Polidori's photographs depict contemporary architecture in the context of a decidedly imperfect world.
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12.16.04: Michael Bierut

The Other Rand
The Fountainhead, a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand, continues to exert its influence over generations of architects and designers.
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12.03.04: 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.
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10.21.04: 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.
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03.24.04: 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."
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01.18.04: 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?
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01.15.04: William Drenttel

Rationalizing Absence
James Turrell's influence on World Trade Tower memorial design.
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01.02.04: 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.
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12.07.03: 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.
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12.05.03: 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?
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