“Architecture as intellectual inquiry needs to take more risks”

The second Chicago Architecture Biennial tackles the broad and tempestuous topic of history, but plays it too safe, says Mimi Zeiger in this Opinion column. I’m not going to define history. No matter how heavily that word weighs on the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which opened last weekend. Neither will artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark

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“Design strategies robust enough to resist this new political climate have yet to emerge”

US architects disillusioned by the AIA’s post-election sentiment should use critical speculation to help reimagine the country’s built environment and remain hopeful, suggests Mimi Zeiger in this Opinion column. It’s hard to believe that it was only last month that Robert Ivy, executive vice president and CEO of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), pledged

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“Building cannot be separated from the economics that drive construction”

Both Amanda Levete’s MAAT museum and the Lisbon Architecture Triennale opened in the Portuguese capital earlier this month. Together they prove that architecture is physically shaped by its fiscal situation, says Mimi Zeiger in this week’s Opinion. PR logistics sometimes brings together strange bedfellows. This was the case in Lisbon, where the opening of the nearly complete

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“Architecture can feel like a paltry gesture in times like ours”

Opinion: meaningful architectural reactions to crises may take time, but quick temporary structures can be just as effective, and both are far preferable to not responding at all says Mimi Zeiger. I admit it; I’ve retreated. In the midst of a scorching summer of bigotry and violence, where every day serves up another horror at More

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“Is architecture really as guileless as Aravena’s Biennale suggests?”

Venice Architecture Biennale 2016: Alejandro Aravena’s Reporting from the Front-themed Venice Biennale is filled with good intentions, but can architects ever really be honest about architecture, asks Mimi Zeiger. Alejandro Aravena opens his Reporting from the Front with a backhand lob. “ARCHITECTURE IS” greets Biennale visitors entering the Arsenale, the first of his exhibition’s two main More

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“Creative office space is the dominant aesthetic of our time”

Opinion: the conversion of old industrial buildings into “creative office space” has proven so successful in LA, even galleries like Hauser Wirth & Schimmel are getting in on the act, says Mimi Zeiger. “If all possible old building stock in Los Angeles was converted to creative office space, that still wouldn’t meet the demand for More

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“What to do with old houses?”

Opinion: LACMA’s newly inherited Sheats-Goldstein House could place classic mid-century houses at the heart of Los Angeles’ cultural revival, says Mimi Zeiger. Last month, LACMA announced that James Goldstein — an eccentric personage familiar courtside at Lakers games — had promised his iconic John Lautner–designed home to the museum. The gift, which includes $17 million More

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“The Petersen isn’t a good building, it’s a western-town front posing as architecture”

Opinion: KPF’s attempt to recreate the allure of a red Porsche on the facade of Los Angeles automotive museum has left us with an eyesore, says Mimi Zeiger. But can it teach us anything about our architectural now? The Petersen Automotive Museum only reopened yesterday, but connoisseurs of Wilshire Boulevard architecture have been jawing about […]

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“Architecture is finally moving beyond a homogeneous status quo”

Opinion: the Chicago Architecture Biennial’s diverse range of participants and mediums offers hope for the future of the discipline, despite protestations from self-appointed “gatekeepers” of the profession like Patrik Schumacher, says Mimi Zeiger. There is a letter in a drawer in Chicago’s Graham Foundation library; a sheet of Orange Coast College stationary dated 8 April 1980. The letter is from […]

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“These initiatives represent an opportunistic desire to play with extreme conditions”

Opinion: architects’ proposals for pre-empting and adapting to the natural crises brought about by climate change aren’t necessarily as superficial and politically correct as they may seem, says Mimi Zeiger. I couldn’t sleep last night. LA was having another heatwave and rather than lay awake I read a back issue of The New Yorker, catching […]

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“The insidious return of hippie architecture”

Opinion: Google’s techno-utopian campus design by BIG and Heatherwick is part of a new wave of interest in surprisingly self-centred “hippie architecture”, says Mimi Zeiger. Let’s talk about the insidious return of hippie architecture. Over the past year, as trend-watchers tracked the disciplinary resurrection of Postmodernism and the painful deconstruction of Brutalism, a shaggier architecture […]

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“An object lesson for designers caught on the hamster wheel of producing interestingness”

Opinion: Diller, Scofidio + Renfro’s The Broad museum in Los Angeles is an elegant exercise in mundanity, says Mimi Zeiger. When news of the demolition of sci-fi master Ray Bradbury’s former home by none other than Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne hit the internet last month, literary fans, preservationists, and even LA Times architecture critic […]
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