“Climate Gentrification theory illustrates the ethical problems facing architects”

Architects must consider not just the environmental, but the social and economic repercussions of building in places at risk from climate change, urges Jesse M Keenan, co-author of a recent study into Climate Gentrification. Every designer knows what a sh%tshow is. It is that project that takes on a life of its own. You aren’t

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“Designing and writing about a building are very different processes of thought”

The Venice Biennale manifesto of Grafton Architects is proof that vapid commentary can diminish great architecture, says Owen Hatherley. “Freespace focuses on architecture’s ability to provide free and additional spatial gifts to those who use it and on its ability to address the unspoken wishes of strangers,” reads the manifesto of Venice Architecture Biennale curators Yvonne Farrell

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“Personal data could be a vital tool in designing our cities”

The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how personal data is being mistreated. But used responsibly, this information could be hugely beneficial for developing our cities, says Eleanor Jolliffe. For years we have unwittingly been giving away reams of personal data to private companies without considering the broader consequences. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, fake news, and various global elections

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“Some architects still see a website as a form of vanity publishing”

The internet offers a world of opportunities for architects, says Amanda Baillieu, but they have to learn to embrace it. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years negotiating architects’ websites and, like people who work themselves up into righteous indignation when they spot a typo, I feel a jolt of outrage when I see

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“Glasgow School of Art simply cannot be razed”

Glasgow School of Art must be rebuilt, argues Mark Cousins, not just because it’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece, but because it’s an invaluable showcase for Scottish craft skills. The role of the architect is often overly romanticised in popular culture. Think Liam Neeson in Love Actually or Gary Cooper’s portrayal of Howard Roark in The Fountainhead. Roark exemplifies the

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“Don’t create a sad replica of Glasgow School of Art”

Glasgow School of Art is gone, says Alan Dunlop, and to honour Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s legacy, we need to come up with new ideas for its replacement. In 2014, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art was assaulted by fire. The neighbourhood was evacuated, people watched in horror as flames engulfed the building. The damage was

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“Edward Burtynsky is one of the most interesting photographers of buildings”

The abstract landscapes depicted in the work of photographer Edward Burtynsky offer a frightening look at the extent of human impact on Earth, says Owen Hatherley. I’m in a gallery looking at several enormous photographs, though it isn’t clear that they are photographs, unless you look at the captions. Some look like abstract expressionist paintings, swirls of

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“Mackintosh’s wide-ranging work reminds us how specialised architecture has become”

This week marked the 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s birthday. But the Scottish architect would not be amused by the quality of Glasgow’s new architecture, says Richard Murphy. We can only marvel today at the dexterity of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s generation. The architect could turn his hand to anything. But in those years, and for some

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“Architects are not really required for the nitty gritty of actual building any more”

Sean Griffiths asks whether, on the eve of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, the era of the architect-personality finally coming to an end, and should we care? Architecture is under siege, say Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Irish studio Grafton, the curators of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, which opens this week. And of

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“Casablanca presents one of the best models of modernism”

The cohesive core of Casablanca, Morocco, is unmatched by few city centres and shows how modernism can be used to its full potential on a large scale, says recent visitor Aaron Betsky. At the corner, the white box fractures. A bay window at the base, framed with stone, in the floors above turns into an

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“Will Alsop had the balls to think differently”

The late Will Alsop wasn’t always right, nor was his work always great – but his wild imagination and generous spirit were much needed in British architecture, says Sam Jacob. It’s 4pm, at Will Alsop’s office in Battersea. Someone says “Tea?”. Then the man himself walks in: “Tea? G&T more like!”. And with that the

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“Forensic Architecture winning the Turner Prize would risk turning sensitive investigative work into insensitive entertainment”

Forensic Architecture’s Turner Prize shortlisting is a warning for architects to be vigilant of the arts world co-opting their work as grizzly entertainment, argues Phineas Harper. Here we go again. Once more an architectural collective has been nominated for the Turner Prize. Once more they stand just outside the profession with neither the organisation nor its

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“No architect today is capable of buildings like Luis Barragán’s”

The sensual and autobiographical qualities of the house Mexican architect Luis Barragán built for himself are rarely found in today’s buildings, says Aaron Betsky. If you are going to make real architecture today it better be damn real. In a world of instant images whose truth you can never ascertain, delicate structures just won’t do.

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“High-tech never went away, though many wish it had”

High-tech architecture is not on the verge of a comeback – it actually never went away, says Owen Hatherley. Every era comes back as a revival eventually. The fact that, in 2025, semi-ironically liking Make or Will Alsop buildings will be a top edgelord position is depressing, but an inevitability that it is pointless to

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“There is a desire among black people to make the world over”

The powerful imagery of afrofuturism suggests what could be possible if the ambitions of black architects and designers are realised, says Ekow Eshun. I recently started an Instagram account dedicated to afrofuturism. Even though the concept behind the term remains fairly obscure, it seemed the right time to do so. Afrofuturism refers to work that reimagines

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“Revisiting Postmodernism is a careening joyride through 20th-century architecture”

Postmodernism proponents Terry Farrell and Adam Nathaniel Furman should broaden their range of influences and definition of the style to help the controversial architecture movement remain relevant, says Aaron Betsky. Revisiting Postmodernism, a rereading of that particular movement by pomo prince Terry Farrell and young pretender Adam Nathaniel Furman is, like its subject, a strange

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“Architecture schools are the punching bags of the industry”

It’s time to stop blaming architecture schools for systemic problems like poor diversity and the mental health crisis, says Phineas Harper. The Architectural Association recently concluded its long search for a new director with an internal election. Eva Franch i Gilabert emerged triumphant with 587 of a possible 1,077 votes. In her manifesto, Franch painted

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“We don’t need to be patronised by architectural safe zones”

Drives to tackle discrimination and harassment of women, like the London Festival of Architecture’s Elephant Campaign and Dezeen’s Move the Needle initiative, are failing to increase diversity and damaging society, argues Vicky Richardson. As copycat versions of #MeToo sweep through the arts, the charity sector and property, tensions at property fair MIPIM run high with delegates wondering

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“These are not the moves of a city that is proud of its architecture”

With Coventry set to be UK City of Culture in 2021, the destruction of the city’s post-war architecture needs to stop, says Owen Hatherley. Every now and then, I go to a city that had the hell bombed out of it in the second world war, and find that what it did afterwards to replan, rehouse and reimagine

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“The girls started asking why there weren’t more women on the list of Pritzker Prize winners”

Teaching children about architecture opened Mary Tooley’s eyes to the lack of recognition given to female architects. In this letter she wrote to Dezeen in response to our Move the Needle initiative, she explains what she is doing about it. I have taught art for many years to children from preschool through middle school. About

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“It would not be surprising to see every one of architecture’s major awards presented to women this year”

As we kick off our move the needle campaign to improve gender equality, Tom Ravenscroft looks at how women architects have long been ignored by prize juries – but how 2018 could be the year this changes. It’s only the start of March but this year already has seen three major victories for women. Japanese architect Itsuko Hasegawa won the

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“Apple may be the lesser of all evils for Federation Square”

Building an Apple Store may be the best way to safeguard the civic character of Melbourne’s Federation Square, argues Michelle Tabet. It is hard to dispute that Federation Square is one of Melbourne’s most successful architectural projects ever. With its angular architecture, stepped public realm and active programming, it is a true 21st century public

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“Can modernism be explained without an architectural education?”

In the 1970s, the Open University offered a course on the history of architecture and design. Architects can learn a lot from it, says Owen Hatherley. Why don’t ordinary people understand modern architecture? It’s a question that comes up now and again in what architects like to call “the profession”. If only these people understood

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“To speak of entire communities without giving them a seat at the table reeks of myopic arrogance”

The all-white panel of architects gathered by Woods Bagot to discuss Los Angeles’ future urban development last week was embarrassingly misrepresentative of the city’s diversity and needs, argues Janelle Zara. Vast, sunny, atomised Los Angeles. Defying the practical notions of urban planning, it bypassed the formation of a city centre, opting instead to string together

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“If urban densification is inevitable, then let it be done with a material that makes us happy”

The mass-timber revolution is coming, says Clare Farrow, co-curator of the new London exhibition Timber Rising: Vertical Visions for the Cities of Tomorrow. Revolution is in the air. In this year of centenaries – remembering the end of the Russian Revolution and the success of the British suffrage movement in getting votes for women in 1918 – the

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“Will Amazon’s HQ2 actually be good for whatever city wins the race?”

North American cities are fiercely vying to secure Amazon’s second headquarters, but will the retail giant really improve the culture and infrastructure of the area it finally chooses? Aaron Betsky doesn’t think so. As the competition for the second Amazon headquarters heats up and the Republican’s war on cities intensifies, we have to wonder whether

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“In the name of place-making, architects are often complicit in social cleansing”

Place-making is a dangerous concept that has very little to do with architecture, argues Sean Griffiths. In awarding Terry Farrell its prestigious Gold Medal for 2017, the Royal Town Planning Institute cited the architect’s “outstanding impact on place-making”. Place-making, for Farrell at least, involves trying to emulate the city’s existing grain in new developments and

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“550 Madison is worthy of the greatest respect and most careful preservation”

As demolition work begins on the lobby of Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building, now known as 550 Madison, Municipal Art Society of New York chair Christy MacLear emphasises the building’s architectural significance and warns of the limitations of the city’s current preservation process. As thousands of New Yorkers go about their work days, a monument is

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“Neave Brown is now among architecture’s immortals”

Neave Brown’s extraordinary legacy reflects a progressive social agenda that is lacking in many of today’s architects, says Catherine Slessor. The architectural highlight of 2017, without doubt, was Neave Brown’s valedictory lecture in the unlikely confines of London’s Hackney Empire. As he came on stage, to rapturous applause, he gave a little shimmy to the crowd,

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“There is no need to destroy one significant cultural legacy in order to celebrate another”

The Obama Presidential Center will be presented to the Chicago City Council today. But its proposed siting in the city’s Jackson Park will both remove acres of public land and blight Fredrick Law Olmsted’s historic landscape design, argues The Cultural Landscape Foundation president Charles A Birnbaum. Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are gifted architects. Their

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“Architects are not just relaxed about cultural appropriation, we’re experts”

A movement is growing against cultural appropriation, but we mustn’t let it spell the end for historical references in architecture, says Phineas Harper. Compared to other art forms, architecture gets an easy ride in the court of public opinion. Filmmakers, pop musicians and fashion designers know, one ill-judged move and they’ll be hung out to dry by a

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“America’s hinterlands now serve as playgrounds for the few wired haves”

Globalisation isn’t killing the USA’s backwater cities and rural areas, but rather turning them into escapes for wealthy “digirati” who are pumping money into regeneration projects, says Aaron Betsky in response to a New York Times article. Big cities operate globally. Well, duh. It took the “newspaper of record”, the New York Times, only about

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“What is happening at Sewoon Sangga is, quietly, quite extraordinary”

A brutalist megastructure in Seoul is undergoing a major revamp. The result may not be photogenic, says Owen Hatherley, but it offers a promising model for regeneration without gentrification. The most interesting architectural experience I had in 2017 was a walk in Seoul. The map given out at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism included a

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“We cannot truly serve our diverse communities if we ourselves do not reflect this diversity”

If architecture firms cannot embrace gender, racial and ethnic diversity in their own workplaces, then it’s unlikely that they will be able to do so with their buildings, argues White Arkitekter director Alexandra Hagen. It was a mixture of curiosity and disappointment that I read the results of the Dezeen gender diversity survey. What I found particularly

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“Is Phoenix doomed to fall back into the ashes?”

If sprawling desert metropolises like Phoenix, Arizona, are going to survive an increasingly scorching climate, they will require a different kind of sustainable urbanism than typical cities, says Aaron Betsky. Is Phoenix doomed to fall back into the ashes? In his 2015 book, The Water Knife, the author Paolo Bacigalupi imagines a future Valley of

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“We need architects to work on ordinary briefs, for ordinary people”

The UK may be full of talented architects and designers, says Finn Williams, but not enough of them are working on the mundane buildings of our everyday environment. The UK is home to the world’s leading architects and designers. It has one of the largest design sectors in the world and boasts an architecture sector worth

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“The only living Russian architect well-known abroad is a former fantasist”

In the centenary of the Russian Revolution, Alexander Brodsky was the only national architect to offer a response. That says something about Russian architectural culture, suggests Owen Hatherley. There was a building in London this autumn, by the last Russian architect to have any name recognition whatsoever outside that country. The architect in question is Alexander

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“Can a house be beautiful simply because of what we know, not because of what we see?”

A simple house features on the cover of Reinier de Graaf’s new book, Four Walls and a Roof: The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession. In this extract, the OMA partner reveals the building’s secret, politically fuelled past. The house, a small single-story building with a square plan and a pitched roof, is nothing much to speak

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“London streets don’t need to look like a 1940s that never happened”

The sanitisation of shop signs in Walthamstow, northeast London, is a mistake that mustn’t be repeated anywhere else in the capital, argues Owen Hatherley. One of London’s great secret virtues is an ability to make a street that, in many other cities in Britain, would be a grim parade of chain stores and empty units, into an

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“Now is not the time to be indulging in postmodern revivalism”

Bringing back postmodernism, a style of architecture that thrived on irony, could be dangerous in today’s political climate, argues Sean Griffiths. “I have nothing to say and I am saying it.” These are the words of John Cage, the American composer made famous by his musical explorations of silence. In recent weeks, it has occurred to

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“Does architecture have a Harvey Weinstein hiding within its ranks?”

Architecture has a culture of quietly condoning sexist behaviour, just like Hollywood, argues Anna Winston. “To be dangerous is to be artistically daring”. In all the comment pieces I have read so far on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, this, from British playwright Lucy Prebble’s piece in the London Review of Books, stood out. This was the

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“The architecture of the Americas is not white”

The Pacific Standard Time exhibitions in Los Angeles show that arts and culture from south of the border have shaped an architectural identity for the region that is much more interesting than what’s found in the Northeast US, says Aaron Betsky. As a longtime denizen of the Southwest (if California, in addition to Arizona, counts),

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“Middle-class guilt is weaponised to keep architectural labourers from demanding reform”

A disdain for trade unions is preventing architects from challenging the industry’s low standards of workers’ rights, argues Phineas Harper. In February 2012, a mysterious website, archleaks.com appeared. Now offline, the site enabled disgruntled architects to anonymously whistle-blow on the conditions in their practices. Although the authenticity of the complaints could not be verified (neutering any

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“Chicago Biennial shows us how we might find building blocks for a new architecture”

This year’s Chicago Biennial doesn’t provide a blueprint for the future of architecture, but it does offer clues for how to create one, says Aaron Betsky. The fear of what the future might hold looms heavily over the second edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Make New History, which opened in that city on 15

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“Seoullo is no High Line, but it is of equal importance”

MVRDV’s plant-covered walkway in Seoul may look like a low-budget version of the High Line, but it’s much more than that – it’s the sign of a new frontier in city-making, says new Dezeen columnist Gerard Reinmuth. It seems every city has a disused conduit that is set to be transformed into “the new High

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“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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“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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“Astana is a metropolis of obsolescence”

Astana Expo 2017 may have aspired to a post-carbon future, but it was hard to imagine from the capital of a country made wealthy by fossil fuels, says Owen Hatherley. The thing not to say about the expo building in Astana, Kazakhstan, is that it looks like the Death Star. Designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill,

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“The more we build in areas that endanger us, the more we erect defensive systems”

Disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are inevitable when we construct cities in harm’s way, says Aaron Betsky, who believes we have designed ourselves into a Catch-22 of create and protect. It could have been worse. That is the best you can say about the twin natural catastrophes that hit Texas and Florida recently. The

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“Urban design caused the Hurricane Harvey disaster”

Houston’s poor urban planning, not climate change, is to blame for the catastrophic flooding following Hurricane Harvey, says disaster expert Ilan Kelman in this Opinion column. Hurricane Harvey was a major storm with extensive rainfall. It was not a natural disaster. The disaster was caused by human decisions to live in a hurricane zone without

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“The Garden Bridge’s cancellation provides an opportunity that mustn’t be wasted”

Now that the Heatherwick-designed Garden Bridge has been officially scrapped, its time to think again about London really needs, says Owen Hatherley. The cancellation of the Garden Bridge is one of those rare and precious moments where concerted campaigning, from a variety of groups, over several years, has managed to have a decisive effect. In the

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“The architectural world seems to be responding to Charlottesville with deafening silence”

When Neo-Nazis are marching in the streets, architects need to to step up and confront the issues surrounding colonial monuments, argues Phineas Harper. Baying Neo-Nazis grasping flaming torches on the steps of the University of Virginia’s Rotunda, designed by president-turned-architect, Thomas Jefferson in the 1820s, was the chilling prelude to the events of Saturday 12

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“We have much to learn from the ‘timber constructivists'”

Architects designing for America’s future suburbs should look back to the country’s unsung modernists, who created site-appropriate and liveable timber homes across the USA, says Aaron Betsky in this Opinion column. Drive around the suburbs that arose around most American cities immediately before and after the second world war and you can spot them immediately:

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“Designers, contractors or the local authority could all be blamed for breaching a duty to warn”

Six weeks on from the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, architects, construction firms or the council could be found liable under the “duty to warn” principle, says construction lawyer Jason Kallis. In the refurbishment of a high-rise building such as Grenfell Tower, there would have been more than one person or corporation responsible for design. Simultaneously, it

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“Rei Kawakubo is an architect of clothes”

The Met’s Comme des Garçons exhibition demonstrates how forward-thinking designers like Rei Kawakubo are using new digital crafts to manipulate both the body and architectural space, says Aaron Betsky in his latest Opinion column. There is a mix of architecture and fashion in the exhibition of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo’s work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in

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“Call us dull, call us sellouts, call us gentrifiers – just don’t call us copycats”

Architects shouldn’t be afraid to copy successful ideas like Assemble’s pop-up cinema, says Phineas Harper in his latest Opinion column. Dezeen readers, you have a dark obsession. Not an obsession with chic staircase porn, IKEA hacks or the latest gossip engulfing Bjarke Ingels, something more insidious. It is an obsession that clogs the comments section of this

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“A golden age of architectural drawing awaits”

The advent of 3D-modelling software may not spell the end for architectural drawing after all, says Owen Hopkins. Architectural drawing is in crisis, one that’s arguably been brewing since the 1980s, with the advent of the first commercially available CAD packages and the new freedoms for the screen. Yet, the real revolution came with the arrival of

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“A lethal failure of oversight, like at Grenfell Tower, was going to happen sooner or later”

The devastating fire at London’s Grenfell Tower has highlighted the widespread neglect of the UK’s residential high-rises, and the undeserved contempt held for the people that live in them, says Owen Hatherley. This column was going to be about the election of a left-wing architectural historian and housing campaigner as Member of Parliament for Kensington in the UK’s general

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“Frank Lloyd Wright remains America’s greatest architect”

Rounding off our celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday, Aaron Betsky dissects the American architect’s array of buildings to prove why his body of work remains unmatched in the USA. There are few experiences in architecture more rewarding than visiting a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. What exactly makes them so good? The

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“The Japanese House is about fear, imagination, aggression and dreams”

The Japanese House exhibition at London’s Barbican doesn’t offer solutions to the housing crisis, says Owen Hatherley, but it does show what’s possible when architects respond to extreme change and instability. In most places, certainly in Britain, the point of the private house is stability and predictability. Increasing in correlation with the rise of the house as

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“I am not a female architect. I am an architect”

We need to stop promoting “female architects” in worthy lists and exhibitions, so that women can be seen as more than second-class citizens, argues Danish architect Dorte Mandrup. I was mentioned on Dezeen’s list of 50 inspirational female architects and designers, to mark International Women’s Day back in March. While I greatly appreciated the gesture and sympathise with the idea

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“There should be no top 10 prizes for sustainable architecture”

Awards should not be bestowed on buildings that boast sustainable credentials but lack other design merits, says Aaron Betsky in this Opinion column. If a thoroughly mediocre building uses less energy and is made in ways that are more “sustainable”, should it receive an award? The American Institute of Architects (AIA) apparently thinks so. This

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“Hard to believe this is a product of one of the most admired creative partnerships of the last two decades”

By bringing together commerce and ornament, the now-defunct Foreign Office Architects has produced a shopping centre that looks like a giant black slug, says Owen Hatherley in his latest Opinion column. You remember Foreign Office Architects. The London-based firm was dissolved five years ago with the split of its main partners, Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo, but

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“To confront populism, all architects should become classicists”

If today’s architects abandoned their modern vocabulary in favour of populist traditional or classical styles, they could achieve more progressive social goals, says Phineas Harper in his latest Opinion column. As surprise election fever grips the UK, buried on YouTube you can find an obscure promotional film for the only British political party with an

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“Perhaps architects should work on Trump’s wall”

For some architects, the decision not to bid for Donald Trump’s US-Mexico border wall is easy. But Aaron Betsky questions whether working the project is as unethical as it first seems in this Opinion column. “For us it is very simple. We are a small firm and we all agree. We are not going to

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“Belarus is a place that badly needs shaking up”

With widespread protest taking place across Belarus, the design of public spaces and social legacies has become a critical project for the nation’s architects, says Owen Hatherley in his latest Opinion column. For one of the least-visited capital cities in Europe, the Belarusian capital Minsk is a city very concerned with its surfaces. In a country often

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“Why do architects dictate children’s play so stringently?”

We need to stop concentrating our energies on hazard-proofing playgrounds, and worry instead about how our buildings and environments could be better suited to children, says Phineas Harper in this Opinion column. How often have you seen a child scolded for attempting to climb up the ramp of a playground slide, rather than descending demurely down it? Take

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“MIPIM is one big performance with the purpose of speaking cities into existence”

Is it possible to speak buildings into being? The exhibitors at annual property fair MIPIM may try, but they need to come up with far more extreme fictions, says Sam Jacob in his latest Opinion column. “The beginning, as every one knows, is of supreme importance in everything, and particularly in the founding and building of a city,” so says

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“Should we resurrect dead buildings?”

In light of plans to bring the neoclassical Penn Station and Frank Lloyd Wright’s lost pavilions back to life, Aaron Betsky argues that architects should focus on renovating existing buildings rather than replacing new with old, in this Opinion column. It is a standard plot twist in science fiction films: a loved one has died,

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“RCR’s work is under the radar, yet it is stealthily evolving in scale and ambition”

Awarding the Pritzker Prize to little-known RCR Arquitectes is a quiet rebuke against the superficiality and greed that has dominated architectural culture around the world, says Catherine Slessor in this Opinion column. When it was announced that Catalan trio RCR had been awarded this year’s Pritzker Prize, the initial sentiment that engulfed the chattering conduits of social media was “Who

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