Home / Architecture

Architecture

History of the Present: Belgrade

Žaklina Gligorijević meets us at a point where the city disappears. A ribbon of jogging path runs past a Brutalist pavilion boasting a triangular cantilever with views over the wide Danube and beyond, to the enduringly untenanted forest on the opposite bank. It could be a thousand years ago or this afternoon. …

Read More »

History of the Present: Havana

On a warm late summer afternoon a year ago, I sat with Mario Coyula Cowley on the jalousied terrace of the residence in Havana where he had lived for decades with his family. Mario had long been one of Cuba’s leading architects and urban planners, and he and I had …

Read More »

History of the Present: Yangon

Time and again, I spotted signs marking construction zones. Coming soon: a guesthouse; coming soon: a bank; coming soon: a hotel. It might as well have been the city’s official slogan. Yangon: coming soon. In the historic heart of the city, the Secretariat Building, the colonial seat of British Burma, sat abandoned …

Read More »

History of the Present: Mexico City

At the dawn of the Jet Age, in 1962, President John F. Kennedy strode across the red-carpeted tarmac of the Mexico City Central Airport into the arms of President Adolfo López Mateos for a traditional abrazo. It was JFK’s third state visit to Latin America, as he built support for his …

Read More »

The Corner of Lovecraft and Ballard

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in 1890; James Graham Ballard died in 2009. Together these two writers spanned the 20th century. They shared the earth for just seven years between Ballard’s birth in 1930 and Lovecraft’s death in 1937, and those years were spent on separate hemispheres. And their fiction …

Read More »

The iUrbanisms of Los Angeles

Urban design and its discontents … Count me among the latter. In the past decade and a half, at architecture schools in Los Angeles, “city talk” has gone deeply — and fruitfully — out of fashion. In advanced architecture studios at SCI-Arc, for instance, a resort to civics is often …

Read More »

Paper Architecture, Emerging Urbanism

The current economic downturn has impacted the building industry and architecture profession more severely than many other market sectors. As Scott Van Voorhis commented in the November 9, 2009 issue of Banker and Tradesman: “Amid handwringing over a national unemployment rate that is nearing 10 percent, architects are living through their …

Read More »

The Modern Urbanism of Cook’s Camden

The announcement, last fall, that the Royal Institute of British Architects was awarding the 2018 Gold Medal to Neave Brown, came as a stunning surprise. Not only had the architect, who died earlier this month, attained his greatest success decades ago, as the designer of social housing in London in …

Read More »

The Evil, Evil Grain Elevator

This last of three sequential essays on the dilemma of architectural versus sculptural presence in landscape hinges on an evil grain elevator. Most grain elevators are not evil. If you’ve lived near one — like the one in this photo — you’ll be intimate with its inexplicable neighborliness. If not, …

Read More »

The Ugly Pet

This spring I spent a few days in Munich at the Oskar von Miller Forum, which serves as a locus for interdisciplinary thinking about construction. The Forum building, designed by Thomas Herzog and funded to showcase just how elegantly the Bavarian construction industry can deliver innovative sustainable architecture, feels a …

Read More »