“Let’s save some of the Whitechapel Fatberg”

The 130-tonne “fatburg” discovered below the streets of east London earlier this month serves as a reminder of how sophisticated Victorian engineering has liberated people from having to think about waste, says Will Wiles. In 1965, American sculptor Claes Oldenburg proposed an object of quite unforgettable brute simplicity for New York City. Oldenburg may be best

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New Year’s resolutions for architecture and design in 2017

With 2016 coming to an end, Will Wiles doses out his New Year’s resolutions for architecture and design in 2017, which include resisting the hygge trend and finally taking responsibility for the climate. I suggested New Year’s Resolutions for architecture and design at the end of 2015, and the response was great. So, one year later, I’ve

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“John Pawson said children love minimalist spaces. And he’s right”

Brutalist or minimalist architecture is better suited to families with children than you might think, says Will Wiles in his latest Opinion column. I write these words through a fog of exhaustion. On the last day of September we welcomed into the world our second child. The nights since have not been peaceful or restful. But before this zombie-like

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“New Year’s resolutions for architecture and design in 2016”

Opinion: as 2015 draws to a close, Will Wiles offers five New year’s resolutions for architecture and design, ranging from less Zaha-bashing to abandoning the idea of favela chic. For my last column this year, here’s something different. Let’s call these my New Year’s Resolutions on behalf of architecture and design, the things I’d like More

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“Foster and Aravena are moving architecture out of the shallows and into deeper water”

Opinion: while many architects are designing slippery “architexture”, Norman Foster and Alejandro Aravena are unlikely allies in the pursuit of real architecture, says Will Wiles. Two architects, two different practices. One specialises in luxurious mega-projects and planetary – interplanetary! – ambition: skyscrapers, hub airports, spaceports. The other delivers modest, resourceful, community-based projects, some of which […]

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“Prison Architect is a graveyard for the utopian spirit where noble ambitions go to die”

Opinion: controversial computer game Prison Architect offers a grim lesson for real-world architects, whose good intentions often count for nothing, says Will Wiles. At the beginning of this year, the American Institute of Architects rejected a petition calling for it to censure architects who designed solitary confinement cells and death chambers for American prisons. The petition, which attracted […]

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“Creatives are mythologised as the tooth fairies of urban renewal”

Opinion: London’s creative classes are caught up in an urban renewal hamster wheel that’s affecting property prices across the capital – and there’s no way off without leaving the city entirely, says Will Wiles. London is in danger of losing its creative class, warn Barber & Osgerby. Another expired canary to fling onto the cheerful yellow heap […]

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“Who would defend the elevated urban motorway?”

Opinion: the elevated highways that cut through major cities around the world were once heralded as harbingers of modernity, but are now seen as pollution-generating, space-guzzling monsters. Will Wiles wonders if they’re really all that bad. Who would defend the elevated urban motorway? From San Francisco to Seoul, the removal of city-centre expressways is held up as an inarguable public good. […]

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urban motorway?”
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“Postmodernism was typecast as soon as it made it out of the Italian magazines”

Opinion: why did the Postmodernist design movement flounder at the end of the 1980s? Will Wiles finds the answer in popular Hollywood movies. Films are time capsules, even bad films. And from time to time something is preserved so perfectly in that capsule, it feels like it should be somehow rescued from the celluloid and […]
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