Herbert Wright on

Architecture and Cities

- selected online stories


Moments of Compression

Stanton Williams create new spaces for tranquillity and interaction at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The Young’s Court Development takes it name from Emmanuel alumnus Thomas Young, whose 1801 experiment revealed light to be waves. I review the buildings and wonder if we, as people, are like particles or waves.

blog in English French version in Chroniques d'architecture July 2024



In The Revolution will be Laminated I write about mass timber in architecture. I also look at projects in Australia, Sweden, Singapore, US and China, and interview some of the architects including Toyo Ito.

c3 no.432 ($) July 2024



The Line meets the sea - NEOM

Dreaming  of  Extended  Length

What is it about really long buildings? Why is The Line no longer 170km long? Have linear cities reached the end of the line? 

Blog in English

+ French version in Chroniques d'architecture

June 2024



Celebrating Making at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition 2024

The two architectural rooms curated by Assemble are fantastic ... and have much more than architecture

wallpaper* - June 2024 




All You Need Is Museums

Liverpool has the best museums in England outside London. Their architecture tells stories, some are still unfolding. Includes the Liverpool Beatles Museum!


In English

In French, published in Chroniques d'architecture

May 2024



Let's Work Together

In c3 I explore how academic architecture can design in collaboration, and interview architects Stanton Williams about their huge new Marshgate UCL E in London

And lots more in c3 no.431 ($) May 2024



12 Years After London's Olympics

The Lower Lea Valley continues its transformation. Did the 2012 masterplan work?

In English blog

In French, published in Chroniques d'Architecture

April 2024




Dior Geneva. Photo Jonathan Taylor

Christian de Portzamparc’s Dior Geneva flagship store dazzles and flows ... and weaves in references to fashion legend Christian Dior, as de Portzamparc himself explains!

wallpaper* - March 2024



In c3 my essay Walking a Kilometer of Water considers Junya Ishigami's new Zaishui Art Museum at a Chinese lake.  I also  write about Manchester's new Aviva Studios and interview Ellen van Loon of OMA about this big dynamic cultural venue

And lots more in...  c3 no.430 ($) March 2024



God Can Wait 

The Towner Gallery's experiment with Eastbourne continues. 

blog (also in French in Chroniques d'Architecture) March 2024



A New Twist in the DNA of Light Industrial Architecture - Barking Industria designed by HaworthTompkins

blog (also in French in Chroniques 'd'Architecture) February 2024




Contemplating Gibraltar Photo © Herbert Wright 2023

Report from neither Spain nor England

I loved exploring Gibraltar. A brief look at the psychogeography of its town. 

In English, blog

In French, published in Chroniques d'Architecture

January 2024



In c3 I write about Slow Time for Art, about new artspaces, including iterview with SO-IL about their Amant Art Campus in a busy, noisy neighbourhood in Brooklyn, NY. I also interview my favourite architects in China, Urbanus, about their transformation of the Kingway Brewery in Shenzhen 

And lots more in...  c3 no.429 ($) January 2024



Almshouses for the 21st Century 

What can architecture do as society gets older? In London, a 900-year-old housing solution just got updated

In English: Falling onto a Bouncy Castle 

French version in Chroniques d'architecture

November 2023


C3 includes my texts and  interview with Morphosis about the new complex for Italian energy giant eni - and yes, I question their fossil fuel business! 

And lots more in... c3 no.428 ($) November 2023


The pinnacle of urban spectacle? 

New platforms in the sky keep appearing over London to lure people who want to get high. Here's my overview:

In English: London's High Pavilions

In French as '... platformes panoramiques, proche du ciel, loin du paradis' in Chroniques d'architecture

October 2023



On the UK Housing Crisis

In French as 'Lavenir: une kitchette et un cagibi perché dans le ciel' in Chroniques d'architecture

In original English  (minor modifications), blogged as 'The UK Housing Crisis: Do We Need a Revolution?'

September 2023



In C3 magazine: I interview Lina Gotmeh about this year's Serpentine Pavilion and its 'à table!' call + interview Taiwanese architect Kris Yao about his Han Pao-Teh Memorial Museum. My essay Closing the Circle with Fujimoto considers the Japanese architect's newest spectacle in Haikou, Hainan, and I also make the case for local markets with the essay Fresh Today...Our Future 

All this and more in C3 no.427 ($) Sep 2023



Is the City a Conscious Entity? 

Applying some contemporary ideas about life and consciousness to the urban phenomenon...

Medium July 2023

Originally published in French as La ville est-elle une entité consciente?

Chroniques d'architecture, juillet 2023 



In C3 magazine: I interview the brilliant Jeanne Gang about the Richard Gilder Center at New York's American Museum of Natural History ... and I talked with Mexican architect Mauricio Rocha about his extension of Anahuacalli and working with the legacy of legendary Mexican political artist Diego Rivera.

I introduce four repurposing projects from Portugal to Guangzhou with the essay Factories that Make Place, Warehouses that Store Memory 

All this and more in C3 no.426 ($) July 2023



Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance creates transparency with stone

A look at, and into, the building which HQA (Israel) and HWKN (NY) designed to unleash the chaos of creativity

Wallpaper May 2023





Stable Diffusion generated with prompt 'architectural building Mies van der Rohe nostalgic in the future with crowd New York morning rush' by Silvio Carta

AI and Architecture: Are we going to be out of work? 

Everyone's talking generative AI, and yes, it's changing our world. Silvio Carta of the University of Hertfordshire and I discuss what it means for architecture.


Contextualizing the Community Library

Four new local libraries remind us that a sense of place, as well as access to knowledge, benefits communities.


Ishigami Takes a Heavy Turn

Junya Ishigami's designs have stretched ephemeralness and structure. Now he's gone underground with a cave-like project in Ube.

These 3 works in C3 no.425 ($) May 2023




In a Relationship - Museums and the Land

A global sample of outstanding new museums (and interviews including SANAA)

Essay+interviews C3 no.424($) March 2023


Living with Trees in the Sky

Vertical vegetated residential projects are on the up, and of course this coverage includes a Stefano Boeri project (and interview about it)

Essay + interview C3 no.423($) Jan 2023 


How Urban Agriculture can Transform Cities

Grow food where the people are! The idea has a trail from Agnes Denes' Wheatfield in Manhattan (1982) to contemporary pathfinder projects in Europe and Taiwan 

Essay C3 no.421 ($) Sep 2022




Sarah Lucas' Sandwich - photo © Herbert Wright 2022

New Solidifications of Collective Memory in The City

blog (in English) July 2022 

Originally published (in French) as: Du devenir des sculptures dans l'espace public

Chroniques d'architecture July 2022



Small Station Identity - Architecture has it Covered

Stations for rail, bus and ferry with canopies that make them great- includes interview with Max Dudler about his new Berlin U-bahn station

Essay + interview C3 no.420 ($) July 2022 



Theaster Gates' Serpentine Pavilion 

Two narratives... two languages! 

In English:

When the Church Bell Rings

CoBo Social July 2022

In French: 

Du Chicago South Side au jardin royale; herbe verte, spiritualité noire

Chroniques d'architecture June 2022




Queen Elizabeth Planetarium (L) 1960, photo - Edmonton City Archives, (R) 2020, after restoration, photo - Steven Hope, Zebra Society

Elizabeth's Fantastic Architectural Voyage

From a colonial hospital in Malawi to the Elizabeth line under London- an epic journey through architecture (and geopolitics) 

blog May 2022 

Original in French at chroniques d'architecture



Power, Water and Heat as Urban Neighbours

How urban infrastructure can fit into the city - examples from London to Toronto via Finland

Essay C3 no 419 ($), May 2022




F51, Folkestone. Photo Hufton & Crow

Why a new UK Skatepark may be perfect for Hong Kong

Skateboarding is booming in Asia, but land scarcity and weather make building facilities a challenge. The new F51 skatepark in Folkestone could offer the solution

South China Morning Post, 5 May 2022 


The new Baoan Performing Arts Centre in Shenzhen has some DNA from Hong Kong projects by Rocco Yim

South China Morning Post March 2022




Beyond the Spectacle: Dubai Expo Signals Sustainability

Decoding EXPO 2020 Dubai (which Covid-19 had delayed), with pavilion examples and an eye on Expo history

Feature special C3 no.418 ($), March 2022




(L) Idea Factory by MVRDV 修副本 拷贝 (R) Brixton House by Foster Wilson Size, photo Hufton + Crow

New projects in vibrant old neighbourhoods - gentrification?

Two new creative hubs...

>> Brixton House in Brixton, London

A new theatre by Foster Wilson Size invites community into the foyer and commercial tenants into its crown

ICON 25 Feb 2022 

>> Idea Factory in a Shenzhen urban village

Once it made clothes, now it's reborn for creatives. And it's embedded in an urban village. Winy Maas of MVRDV explains.

South China Morning Post 22 Feb 2022



OPEN Architecture’s Chapel of Sound. Photo Jonathan Leijonhufvud

OPEN Architecture's Chapel of Sound

Near the Great Wall of China, an auditorium like a cave lies inside what looks like a giant sliced boulder

South China Morning Post, 22 Dec 2021


Big Digital Boxes Come Out of Hiding

Data Centres were architecture's biggest secret typology. Not any more. As Internet expansion continues to supernova, architects are coming up with new ideas...

This blog is in English, first published in French published as De l'évolution des monstreux centres de données in Chroniques d'Architecture Dec 2021


Two Beijing-based architects bringing ‘human survival wisdom’ messages

As the 'Business of Design Week 2021' gets underway in Hong Kong I interview Zhu Pei and Luo Yujie

South China Morning Post, 29 Nov 2021




Do Androids Dream of Leonidov? (2021) by Simon Tyszko, courtesy of the artist

Heaven or Hell?

Regarding the Metaverse, crypto-transactions, fantasy architecture and our planet.

Blogged in original English Nov 2021

First published in Chroniques d'architecture column in French as Enfer ou Paradis 



Design District - London's new creative village - hello to Variety, Colour, Human Scale and Surprise!

CoBo Social, November 2021



My lead editorial 'Earth, Water, Air, Fire and COP26' (available $2.50)

C3 magazine no 415, September 2021



Miton Keynes, Modernist Glade and Mushrooms

in FRENCH Chroniques d'Architecture Oct 2021

Brexit, architecture's UK-EU connection and Jay-Z  

in FRENCH Chroniques d'Architecture Sept 2021


Manchester, from Valette to Vertical City with Visions for the Future

Original English version

First published in French as Manchester, pour les architectes, un théâtre des reves in Chroniques d'architecture July 2021


Thresholds between Landscape and Architecture

A survey of projects from the Arizona desert to China explores how form interacts with landscape

Essay C3 no.414 ($), July 2021



Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 

There's a lot to survey online!

CoBo Social June 2021


Illuminated River.. it just got longer

American artist Leo Villareal reveals his path from early 'Frankenstein' works to gently  transforming the Thames

CoBo Social June 2021




Not Being There... Venice and the Architecture Biennale

Original English version

(First published in French as Biennale de Venise, comme si vous n’y étiez pas in Chroniques d'architecture June 2021)


Idée Lumineuse? Bright Idea? Light pollution, a brief history of light in architecture, and London's Illuminated River IN FRENCH

Chroniques d'architecture May 2021


Togetherness is Here To Stay

A call for post-Covid 'Emotionalist' architecture, and a call for joy! IN FRENCH 

Chroniques d'architecture April 2021


Qu’est-ce que d’être un critique d’architecture? What is to be an architecture critic? IN FRENCH 

Chroniques d'architecture Feb 2021

.... now blogged iENGLISH as... 

Confessions of an Architecture Critic

(email me for English texts that aren't here)




The Corporate Drive to be in Good Shape

Examples from Paris and Berlin to Korea show the corporate HQ changing. And a Norwegian bank shows a future - in wood

Essay C3 no.412 ($), March 2021



Elephant World – Cultural Courtyard and Boonserm Premthada. Courtesy of Boonserm Premthada. Photos by Spaceshift Studio

Elephant World: Designing spaces good for companions bigger than us.

A project for species coexistence + interview with architect Boonserm Premthada.

(Scroll the German text to find the English!)

journal A, Feb 2021



Community Markets: Links in Civilisation

Local markets link people and food, and town and country. As contemporary retail transforms, architecture can save them.

Essay C3 no.410 ($), Nov 2020 



Existential Threats vs Togetherness

During lockdowns, we were under seige. But covid was not an existential threat, like climate change ... or immersion in an immersive digital environment. To counter these, I call on architects to design a world based on Togetherness

Lead feature C3 no.409 ($), Sep 2020   




Three Interesting English houses

Undercover Modernity - Surbiton cool? Surman Weston echo Mock-Tudor

Abitare Jan 2021 

A Countryside Vortex - Swirling geometries by architects Featherstone Young

Abitare Oct 2020

Cones of Clay - an oasts-like Kent house by ACME Studio 

Abitare June 2020




Garages into workshops at Poplar Works, London. Photo Anthony Coleman

Garage Fashion

Adams and Sutherland have transformed two strips of lock-up garages by a gritty East London highway into a hip, colourful fashion workshop and training complex that reaches out to local talent

designcurial May 2020 




The City of the Singularity

Speculations about machine intelligence in complete control of the city and its citizens. The technical feasibility of this sci-fi scenario could come soon. We are sleepwalking into a digitally immersive future.

Part 1: You See Us

Superintelligent urban control has political, philosophical and existential dimensions

blog November 2019

Part 2:

Missions Too Important to Jeopardise

What mission would an AI city control system have? One is good for the planet and us. 

blog January 2020

 Part 3: Hello, Bomb?

Is the COVID-19 pandemic bringing us closer to the digital matrix? How do we share society with intelligent digital beings?

blog May 2020




Genoa new bridge, Renzo Piano photos Herbert Wright

A Bridge over Troubled Water

Renzo Piano talks about his new Genoa bridge to replace the Morandi Bridge which fatally collapsed in 2018. The design is epic, sustainable, robust, and smart. I visited the fast-track construction site, and explored the working-class district scarred by the disaster, set to be transformed with trees and red steel in a plan led by Stefano Boeri.

From Blueprint 368 Jan 2020, posted as blog April 2020

The Centre de Conservation du Louvre 

at Lens, France, designed by RSHP - a fortress to defend culture!

Blueprint Nov 1019/ designcurial Jan 2020




Walker's Court, Soho, with Boulevard Theatre by Studio SODA. Photo: Herbert Wright

A Bulge in a Tight Alley

Studio SODA take a stand against the sanitation of Soho, London, in their new Walker's Court complex containing the Boulevard Theatre, offices and flats. Classic neon is just part of the glamour and hints of illicit pleasures.

 (Was published as 'Showtime in Soho' in Blueprint and 'Neon, Leather and Drama' at designcurial --both good titles! But my original title is above)
Blueprint/designcurial Nov/Dec 2019



A Chipperfield Off The Old Block

The James-Simon-Galerie, Berlin -  David Chipperfield's new museum updates the ideas of Prussian masters Schinkel and Stüler about columns and urban topography.  

Blueprint/designcurial October 2019




László Rajk photo courtesy of László Rajk

László Rajk 1949-2019

An extraordinary Hungarian architect, set-designer and dissident has died. 

I have posted a brief personal tribute.

Designcurial Sep 2019



Modelling Manchester, with Hodder and Partners' St Michael's Tower at centre

Ay Up, Manchester

A residential housing boom is completely transforming central Manchester. It's not all buy-to-let high-rise, and does it address the city's needs anyway? And will Brexit kill the boom? I survey the city. Includes interviews with Stephen Hodder and Ian Simpson.
Blueprint 365/designcurial July/Aug 2019



MK Gallery by 6a Architects
The weirdly subdued new town Milton Keynes gets some fun and energy in this re-invented gallery, and boy does it need it

Blueprint 349/ designcurial June 2019



A New Sort of Work/Live Hub in Berlin

Frizz23 sandwiches a creative hub between mini-flats and a vocational training centre, all in one block. 

Blueprint/designcurial March/May 2019



Vibrant Hong Kong Arrival

West Kowloon Station by Andrew Bromberg at Aedas- a vast 3D adventure  from artificial climbing trails to deep high-speed train platforms

designcurial March 2019



A student watches Open University, 1971. Photo by Peter Trulock © Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Challenging Traditional Teaching

The University Is Now On Air is a show about the first TV architecture course - the Open University/BBC's A305, in 1975. There's still a lot to lean from it in 2019.

designcurial March 2019



A Small Palace in Lisbon

A classy refurb and extension by Barbos Lopes Arquitectos

Blueprint/designcurial Jan/March 2019



Battersea Arts Centre Grand Hall, photo Fred Howarth

The Walls Have Years

HaworthTompkins bring experiment and exposure to their radical resurrections of Battersea Arts Centre's Great Hall and the Bristol Old Vic

Blueprint 361/ designcurial February 2019



Street Life

London social townhouses- Ordnance Road, Enfield by Peter Barber Architects

Blueprint/designcurial Jan 2019



National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in WeiWuYing Park, Kaohsiung. Photo © Iwan Baan

Breeze Block

The Mecanoo-designed National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in Taiwan delivers world-class auditoria, a new sort of public realm, and scale!

Blueprint/designcurial Nov/Jan 2018/19




Amos Rex- a skylight frames the projectionist's stairs photo © Herbert Wright 2018

Moonbase Helsinki

The new Amos Rex museum by JKMM architects

Blueprint 361/designcurial Nov/Dec 2018



Stacking Students in the Sky

The Atlas in London by Fielden Clegg Bradley is a great new example of the trending typology of high-rise college dorms

Blueprint 360 Sep/designcurial Oct 2018 



Shanghai Surprise
Heatherwick Studio and Foster+Partners teamed up on The Bund Finance Centre. This jewelbox is a cultural centre... within kinetic curtains

Abitare October 2018 



Looking up in Marina One. Photo Ingenhoven/HG Esch

The Jungle Block

Something lush grows in the massive Marina One in Singapore by Ingenhoven Architects with Gustaf Porter+Bowman

Blueprint/designcurial July/August 2018



Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 - (almost) the Whole Thing

I open the Blueprint review and with Francesca Perry, Ruth Lang and Johnnny Tucker, digest this impossible offering which seems 'oblivious to the problems of the real world'. Five pages online. 

Blueprint 359/ designcurial July 2018



Musée de la Romanité, Nimes (photo Paul Raftery)

Reflecting the Romans

Elizabeth de Portzamparc's Musée de la Romanté in Nimes

Blueprint358 coverstory/designcurial May/June 2018



Finding the Truth Where It Hurts

Forensic Architecture is a research group that seeks the truth about some of the darkest events of our time. A show at the ICA, London reveals some of their work

Journal of Wild Culture April 2018 



Gasholders in 1955 (from The Ladykillers, photo Studiocanal Films) and 2018 (photo Wilkinson Eyre)

It's Alright Now, In Fact it's a Gas

The Ladykillers hijacked a lorryload of loot in the shadow of the Gasholders, Kings Cross. 63 years later, Wilkinson Eyre have made the Gasholders into unique flats

Blueprint 357/designcurial April 2018



US Embassy - photo US Embassy in London

Billion Dollar Cube

Trump tweeted that he'd steer clear of the new US Embassy in London by Kieran Timberlake - but I checked the outpost out

Blueprint/designcurial March 2018 



A Knight's Move: Rathbone Square

London's new secret garden by Make Architects and Gustafson Porter + Bowman

designcurial March 2018



Bloomberg HQ London. Photo Nigel Young/Foster+Partners

It's Bronzed and Breathing 

...and it cost a Billion: The Bloomberg HQ, London by Foster+Partners

Blueprint/ designcurial Jan/Feb 2018




Nantou, Shenzhen. Photo courtesy UABB Organising Committee, 2017

A spotlight on Shenzhen's Urban Villages - and the future of cities

Unexpected lessons from UABB 2017 and the world's miraculous not-so-instant megacity

blog February 2018    ... and see article below...

Meng Yan of Urbanus and co-curator of UABB 2017 photo Herbert Wright

Talking of Shenzhen's Urban Villages ... interview with Meng Yan of Urbanus, co-curator of UABB Shenzhen 2017

CoBo Social January 2018

Note: Blueprint published full review of UABB SZ  in March - print only. 



Chicago Architecture Biennial '17: Architecture enjoying itself, but...

The theme was Make New History, the highlight was a replay of old skyscraper style wars. The actual big new history that Trump is making was hard to find.
Blueprint / designcurial Dec 2017




SCI-Arc, Los Angeles, photo © Herbert Wright

I Was a Juror at SCI-Arc's Graduate Thesis Weekend

Does top Los Angeles architecture school SCI-Arc still have the radical edge of its past? In September, I was invited to judge graduate projects and see for myself.  

Blog October 2017

Note: This blog was edited and re-re-published as

 California Dreaming: Exploring the Visions of SCI-Arc Graduates 

designcurial November 2017



Raw, robust industrial chic

AHMM's new White Collar Factory at London's Old Street Roundabout

Blueprint 354, designcurial Sep/Nov 2017



Centro Botín in Santander photo © Paul Raftery

Ready for the Rain:

Renzo Piano's Centro Botín

The futuristic new art centre in Santander, Spain, is shaped like two lungs in porcelain,  floating over the waterside 

Blueprint 354/ designcurial Sep/Oct 2017




Inside vGGG, photo by Thomas Meyer Ostkreuz

The vGGG house, Berlin Mitte

Between a power station and legendary clubs, a new block by Gonzalez Haase has an internal and external dialogue with Berlin

Blueprint 354/designcurial Sep/Oct 2017




An oculus cuts into the V&A's new porcelain courtyard photo © Paul Raftery

Buried Treasure

The world's first porcelain courtyard marks the spot in Amada Levete's V&A extension -- beneath is a vast new gallery

Blueprint 353/designcurial July/Aug 2017



Angel Court photo © Edmund Sumner

An Oasis of Calm in The City

An ephemeral skyscraper, a calm urban lane and gardens in London's changing roofscape- Angel Court by Fletcher Priest

Blueprint 353/designcurial July/Sep 2017




Warsaw Rising: Libeskind's Złota 44

Daniel Libeskind’s luxury tower challenges Stalin on Warsaw's skyline. I couldn't resist asking his thoughts on social high-rise too.

Blueprint 353/designcurial July/Sep 2017



Museum of World War Two - photo Paul Raftery

The War in Poland

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk is masterful architecture by Kwadrat with a brilliant display under Paweł Machcewicz's direction. The architecture stands but the Polish government is at war with what's inside it.

Blueprint 352/designcurial May/July 2017

... see also:

Professor Pawel Machcewicz's Last Interview as Director of the Museum of the Second-World War

dated 31 March 2017, blog For The Record



The Mansion House Sq model, (L to R) Mies’ tower, Midland Bank (Edwin Lutyens, 1939), 1 Princes St (Edwin Cooper, 1932), a giant woman, Mansion House (George Dance, 1752), Bucklersbury House (Owen Campbell-Jones, 1958, demolished). Photo RIBA

Mies and Stirling at RIBA

I review the excellent show about their designs for the City site by the Bank of England, adding some overlooked facts!

(Sorry about repeated para near the end)
Blueprint 352/DesignCurial May/June 2017




The Curve, Slough UK. Photo Hufton+Crow

The Curve, Slough - bblur architecture, CZWG and Colorminium's sweeping riposte to Shakespeare, Betjeman and David Brent 

Blueprint352 March/designcurial May 2017



Europa photo EU courtesy Philippe Samyn & Partners

Frame Work

The Europa Building is the new European Commission HQ. Within a huge box made of window frames, a curvaceous form floats like a captured moon. And architect Philippe Samyn builds in many more surprises

Blueprint 351/designcurial March/Apr 2017



Imagine Moscow at the Design Museum  How the show was designed, and the heroic unbuilt Soviet architectural visions from Leonidov, Iofan etc 

Blueprint 351/ designcurial March 2017



model for a house by Peter Märkli

Finding the Meaning of Peter Märkli

The Swiss architect with a cult following displays drawings and models in London

FAD magazine March 2017



Elbphilharmonie - photo: Maxim Schultz

Waving not Drowning- Elbphilharmonie

Herzog and de Meuron's amazing new wavy crystal fantasy in Hamburg, pregnant with a vast concert hall 

Blueprint 350/designcurial Jan/Feb 2017



MAAT's new curvy form in Lisbon photo Paul Raftery MAAT's new curves in Lisbon photo Paul Raftery

New Wave

Deliciously curvy new gallery building at MAAT in Lisbon, by Amanada Levete Architects - includes interview

Blueprint/ designcurial Nov/Dec 2016



One Canada Square photo Herbert Wright

The Shining Obelisk

London's One Canada Square is 25 years old. This behemoth personified global capitalism - how is it doing now? Full story from dockland desolation to fintech startups

Blueprint Sep/designcurial Nov 2016



Lisbon & Oslo

Architecture Triennales 2016

The unique comparitive review!

Blueprint Nov/designcurial Dec 2016

... see also:

 Lisbon Architecture Triennale - Strangely, it's about Architecture review

COBO (Hong Kong) November 2016



Christian de Portzamparc in New York, 2016 Photo Herbert Wright

Irregular French Rise

In 1966 Pritzker Prize winner Christian de Portzamparc plunged into New York’s alternative underground scene. 50 years later, his third Manhattan skyscraper opens. What was he doing there then and now?

Blueprint 348 Sept/designcurial Oct 2016




Next Tokyo 2045 image courtesy KPF

A Brief History of Tokyo Bay Plans

The latest Big Plan to build on Tokyo Bay is from KPF. It follows visionary solutions by many, including the Metabolists and Norman Foster. But vision and reality are different things, as Tokyo's development shows.

The Global Urbanist August 2016



RSHP move into their own skyscraper

The Richard Rogers-founded practice relocate to the heart of the City of London, high up in the Cheesegrater

Blueprint July/designcurial September 2016



Big Switch

Tate Modern Switch House - adventures in geometry, movement and materiality. And a game of stairs. Includes interview with Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

Blueprint 347 July/designcurial Aug 2016



Alejandro Aravena, Venice photo Herbert Wright 2016

Venice Architecture Bienalle 2016

Curator Alejandro Aravena's theme is Reporting from the Front, but what's the Big Message? Where is architecture going? Cate St Hill and I also offer the best pavilions and exhibitions + photography by Paul Raftery.

Blueprint 347 July/ designcurial Aug 2016



Big Mac

The longest building in Paris just had a €1-billion makeover. The new Entrepôt Macdonald is a collaboration with 15 architects including Christian de Portzamparc and Kengo Kuma. It's an off-the-beat grand projet, but does this monster megastructure work?

Blueprint/designcurial May/June 2016



Montage of Tokyo photos by Lisa Anne Wilson

A letter from Tokyo

The most advanced city on Earth isn't just shaped by earthquakes and economics – animes and architects shape dreams there too. I seek the big picture from above, and the future beyond the futuristic

Blueprint 346 May 2016 + blog



Zaha Hadid photo by Giovanna Silva

Zaha Hadid 1950-2016

My tribute to her for Blueprint magazine

designcurial 1st April 2016


Photo: Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing

All the Wood's A Stage

The beautiful Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois by Studio Gang

Blueprint/ designcurial March/May 2016



All Change: Arnhem Centraal station - the curviest transit hub ever. Ben van Berkel of UNStudio showed me round and round.

Blueprint 344 January (cover story) /designcurial March 2016



Diogo Seixas Lopes in 2011 photo Herbert Wright

Diogo Seixas Lopes 1972-2016

In memoriam of the Portuguese architect, writer and curator. Includes Diogo's page for Blueprint written with fellow Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2016 curator André Tavares

designcurial February 2016



Shenzhen UABB 2015 reviewed
What is this Aaron Betsky-curated exhibition in China's original boom megacity? And what's the big message?
Blueprint/designcurial Jan/Feb 2016
.... and see story below

Floating Fields by Thomas Chung of the Chinese University of Hong Kong photo courtesy UABB

All Tomorrow's Cities
In a city with hardly a yesterday, clues to tomorrow's cities are revealed. Shenzhen's UABB 2015 examines powerful ideas for an urbanising planet
Journal of Wild Culture January 2016



The Woo Building?

Howarth Tomkin's new Woo Building for the Royal College of Arts in Battersea, London
Blueprint/designcurial Jan/March 2016



Mohamed Alabbar and Aleksandar Vucić unveil Belgrade Waterfront, photo by Petar Pavlovic

Belgrade Waterfront: an unlikely place for Gulf petrodollars to land
A €3.5 billion project underway in the Serbian capital has divided opinion. There's more to it than just an ambitious plan bringing shining towers and updated urbanism to Belgrade- it's exposing political faultlines and encroaching on Savamala, the ground zero of the new Belgrade cool.

The Guardian online December 2015




Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015: Fresh Breezes in a Windy City

Does the first Chicago Architecture Biennial  restore Chicago to centre-stage of architecture?
Blueprint / designcurial Nov/Dec 2015



The Great Workroom at Racine, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Wax Works

Frank Lloyd Wright's fantastic buildings at SJ Johnson in Racine, Wisconsin
Uncube blog, November 2015



Barbican photos © Tom Medwell

Return to the Barbican
(text in English & French)
L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui 409, Nov 2015

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photo Hufton + Crow

A Cut Above: Zaha Hadid's Messner Mountain Museum

Half-buried in a mountain peak - the Messner Mountain Museum bridges a Zaha Hadid's early design with her most recent. Includes interview with ZHA director Patrik Schumachar

Blueprint Sep / designcurial Oct 2015


I chaired a Design Museum Super Talk, with designers and the GLA Regeneration Team. The theme: Migrating Studios? The Future of Creative Spaces. And I raised... questions about regeneration.
blog September 2015



A Letter from Copenhagen

Denmark’s global design presence goes back to great modernist Arne Jacobsen, designer of Fritz Hansen furniture and architectural icons. In this bastion of urban cool, who's now colouring the world’s favourite chair? I meet artist Tal R and his giant dog

Blueprint Sep/ designcurial Oct 2015



Skyscraper Comments go international in metro newspapers
Interviewed for an 'expert's opinion' by Daniel García Casillas for Metro World News.
The interview (original English here) is now surfacing in García Casillas' article published in various Metro newspapers.
Here in Spanish (from Santiago, Chile)
In French (from Montreal, Canada)


Strata and Surprises in Sauerbruch Hutton's latest building, in the French Rhineland

designcurial August 2015



Cité de la Musique et de la Danse, Soissons. Photo Antonio Martinelli ©2015

A Distant Echo of Gothic

Henri Gaudin's last building in France- a conservatoire echoing an abandoned abbey. I travel to Soissons to see the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse, and track down the veteran architect in his Paris.

Blueprint July 2015, designcurial Sep 2015



photo of San Cataldo © Nuno Cera

Melancholy and Architecture
A review of the book by Diogo Seixas Lopes, about Italian architect Aldo Rossi and his San Cataldo Cemetery

Bluprint July 2015 (posted online 2018)



La Grande Motte; le temple du soleil © Patrizia Mussa

Visions from the Temple of the Sun
A critical look at photographer Patrizia Mussa's vision of Jean Balladur's strange resort, La Grande Motte
designcurial July 2015



The Colonel's Recipe
Centre Point and King's Reach Tower by Colonel Richard Seifert, London's no.1 commercial architect of the 60s, are both going residential. Includes interview with fashion pattern übermeisters Eley Kishimoto

Blueprint/designcurial July 2015





Charles Correa photo Barbara Doux ©2013

Charles Correa (1930-2015)

A personal memory of the man, and Blueprint's profile of the life and work of perhaps India's greatest architect
designcurial June 2015 (includes archive from Blueprint August 2013)



visualisation © Jeddah Economic Company/Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture

Jeddah's Kingdon Tower; how much higher can skyscrapers go?

The Chicago-designed one-kilometre skyscraper going up in Saudi Arabia is the finale of The Guardian's History of Cities in 50 Buildings

The Guardian online June 2015 



Russia Pavilion Milan Expo 2015 photo © Paul Raftery

Expo Milan 2015- The Pavilions from Beyond Europe

Blueprint's 'Best of the Rest': I choose 7 of the 10 selected, including Chile, Russia, Turkmenistan, UAE and USA. Other contributions from Veronica Simpson and Johnny Tucker
Blueprint/ designcurial May/June 2015



photo © Takuji Shimmura

Living on the Edge in Paris
New housing bridges a social chasm- a look with Jean-Christophe of Hamonic + Masson
designcurial April 2015



ECB photo Herbert Wright, Wolf Prix by Paul Raftery

The (St)ability of T(h)rust & (€)motion
The European Central Bank's new Frankfurt headquarters, and a mad interview with its architect, the great deconstructivist, Wolf Prix of Coop Himmel(b)lau

Blueprint/ designcurial March 2015



Whitworth Gallery photo © Paul Raftery

Rather Not Go Blind
MUMA's extension of Manchester's Whitworth Gallery brings the park into the building, and the building into the park.
Blueprint/ designcurial March 2015



Mies van der Rohe's design for Commerzbank, 1968 © 2014 MoMA NY, photo Florenz Scala

Storming Heaven- review of DAM (Deutsche Architekturmuseum)'s exhibition charting the story of high-rise in Frankfurt.
Blueprint/designcurial March 2015



London's First Tower Block was...

(selected in designcurial's UK Top Ten)
designcurial Feb 2015



Moscow River revitalised, © Project Meganom

Moscow Urban Forum 2015

Winter is a crazily cold time to host an international urban convention in Moscow. What is the city up to, and what about the just-breaking economic crisis? I report...

DesignCurial/ Blueprint Feb/Jan 2015



Jumping the Tracks

The railway divided Portuguese town Vila Franca. Miguel Arruda re-unites them with a best amongst new European libraries

Blueprint/designcurial Jan/Feb 2015



Inclined to Agree
Going up London's Cheesegrater with Richard Rogers, and what this skyscraper is all about- legibility, modularity, pubic realm... 
Blueprint 337/ designcurial Nov/Dec 2014



Fondation Pathé. Photo © 2014 Paul Raftery

La Belle et la Bête:

The secret metallic animal housing the Fondation Pathé, Paris + interview with Renzo Piano, including exclusive photo of his secret hideaway thinking room!
Blueprint 336/ designcurial September 2014


Lisbon: Vibrant, Historic and Contemporary
First of three reflections on Portugal for homeland , the newspaper of Portugal at the Venice Architecture Biennale
homeland Aug/Sept 2014



National Library of Latvia, inset Gunnar Birkets portrait, photos © Janis Dripe 2014

The new National Library of Latvia the largest new library in Europe, and interview with legendary Latvian-American architect Gunnar Birkerts
designcurial/Blueprint August 2014



Soviet Exhibition at Earls Court (EC&O Venue Archive)

Amazing Earls Court- it looks like the last month to save this vast London venue- here's why we should

blog August 2014



more in RIBA Journal ...

A brighter shade of pale - colour in the city. It's the end of my residency as Le Flaneur columnist, with apologies for no recipes for cooking flans

RIBA Journal August 2014

Hurra! Four Librarys... - SUPER-WIZZ bildings for swots inc the Latvian job and why the Francais have to call them Biblioteques!

RIBA Journal July 2014



Gods of Homebase © Herbert Wright 2014

Eternity evades Egyptian Deities in Kensington
The twilight of a truly fantastic wall of Egyptian Gods, one of the last remnants of PoMo genius Ian Pollard's design that made London fun
blog/gallery July 2014




A cunning airport proposal with everything, perhaps including legs, and how to make a 5.5km runway for the SKYLON spaceplane!

Flaneur column, RIBA Journal July 2014



Venice not the Biennale. Photo © Herbert Wright

Sandwiches and Water
Not being at the Venice Biennale- Pros and Cons (with musings on Canaletto v Guardi, psycho-deaths and sandwiches)

Flaneur column RIBA Journal June 2014



Panic in the Streets of London!
The skyscraper debate: a look at the NLA show 'London's Growing Up!' and some straight talk about the real problem
designcurial/Blueprint magazine May 2014



Museu des Coches photo © Fernando Guerra

Paolo Mendes da Rocha's Museum of Coaches in Lisbon
Brazil's greatest living architect has designed an extraordinary building with New World form and vision, and a humanistic approach to public realm. It won't open until 2015 but I'm there.
designcurial / Blueprint April 2014

Paolo Mendes da Rocha

Paolo Mendes da Rocha speaks
Brazil's greatest living architect and Pritzker winner, interviewed about the Museum of Coaches
designcurial / Blueprint April 2014



Bad Timing

The Flaneur considers time.

Site Unseen

The Flaneur looks for Invisible Buildings

RIBA Journal April and March 2014



Photo: Phillipe Ruault/FRAC Dunkerque

Two-of-a-Kind: FRAC Dunkirk by Lacaton & Vassal
A spectacular new art centre at France's northern-most city recycles a vast ship-repair shed and doubles it with an exciting new translucent volume
designcurial / Blueprint magazine Feb 2014



photo: Hufton+Crow

Zaha Hadid's Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan
This fantastic curvy cultural icon is the most free and dynamic expression of Hadid's total fluidity yet ... it's also an engineering tour-de-force, and it echoes forgotten masters of thin-shell design, particularly Félix Candela. Cover story, includes Q&A with Ms Hadid.
Blueprint 332, January 2014

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The Past is an English Country
2013 was English Heritage's centenary... or was it? Interview with chief executive Simon Thurley + works by Caruso St John (Chiswick House Café), Terry Brown ex GMW (City projects) Bennetts (Royal Shakespeare Theatre) and Denton Corker Marshall (Stonehenge Visitor Centre)
designcurial / Blueprint magazine Jan 2014



From Le Flaneur column, RIBA Journal

Power  Surge - Baku, fossil fuel boomtowns, man camps and an ingenious plan for the Thames tideway Tunnel...

 January 2014

Out of this World - Mars, vernacular architecture, Dr Strangelove and OMA...
December 2013

Going Up the Wall - George Harrison, Stirling Prize, Oslo and the new Berlin Wall
Nov 2013



Werner Sobek Responds
The great German architect and engineer says 'it's a mistake to assume that high-tech and low-tech are mutually exclusive'
DesignCurial December 2013



Maggie's Centre Aberdeen: A Gentle Retreat in a Hard Town
Snøhetta's beautiful haven conjures up architectural references from Kubrik to penguin pools
Arkitektur N (Norway) November 2013



Oslo Architecture Triennale 2013: Behind the Green Door reviewed
The Rotor-curated Triennale and green initiatives in the hip northern metropolis spell out that difficult word Sustainability
Blueprint 331 November 2013

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photo: Paul Raftery

Mecanoo's Library of Birmingham
Blueprint 330, September 2013
and in French, below...

Mecanoo au coeur de Birmingham, pour les siècles des siècles: Library of Birmingham

(Sans photographie de l'interieur. Traduit)
Le Courrier de l'Architecte Octobre 2013



Birmingham Discography
Is there a Secret Protocol to make Birmingham's architecture go round in circles?
 Le Flaneur column, RIBA Journal Oct 2013



Zhang Yue photo by Mika Mattila

Between Heaven and Earth + Chairman Zhang's Brave New World
Report from CTUBH Conference 2012- what's happening with high-rise?
including... EXCLUSIVE Interview with Zhang Yue, BROAD Group Chairman and developer of Sky City, the most Utopian vision of urban living since le Corbusier
Blueprint 330 September 2013

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One Waverton Street
A pub in London's Mayfair is now a luxury townhouse by Squire and Partners
Blueprint 330, designcurial Sep 2013


Checking Out at the Check-in
Considering hotels, cockroaches, and rooms that change while you sleep...

(The first of a year's residency with Le Flaneur column in...)

RIBA Journal September 2013



Charles Correa photo Barbara Doux ©2013

Charles Correa
A profile of the giant of Indian architecture.  I say it: by comparison, his timeless legacy leaves many Pritzker winners' works looking 'trivial, parochial or dated in comparison'

Blueprint August 2013

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Álvaro Siza
Philip Jodidio's big new book by is a visual feast, but the author's missed some things

Blueprint August 2013
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Sweets- an exhibition about Amsterdam's Bridge-houses by Space & Matter
Blueprint August 2013

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(portrait by Telmo Ferreira)

On The Eighth Day... Eduardo Souto de Moura
Portugal's second Pritzker-winning architect and disciple of Siza is interviewed

Blueprint July 2013

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photo at Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels by Chris Taylor

Texas Tech University's Land Arts Program
Blueprint July 2013
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Getting it Rijk

Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum restored and refreshed by Cruz y Ortiz

Blueprint June  2013

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photo © Tabitha Ensorcell

If You Build It, Will They Come?
Report on Architecture Foundation's discussion at Tate Modern about big cultural projects in Abu Dhabi, Kong Kong and St Petersburg, and asking if the Bilbao Effect is still relevant

Blueprint (previous website) April 2013

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Note: the pdf says 2012- this should be 2013!


Photo © Herbert Wright 2013

Motioning A Table

Up with the construction crew on London's RSHP-designed Leadenhall Building (aka Cheesegrater) to see the installation of a Yellow Table. Skyscrapers go modular. Warning: vertiginous photography!

Blueprint/designcurial April/Nov 2013


Thanks for the View, Mr Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit book review
Blueprint April 2013

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Liz Diller photo © Herbert Wright

Lining Up: The High Line Effect
Major feature about urban linear parks- interview with its architects Liz Diller of RS+F, and a look at projects in Seoul, Birmingham, Madrid, London and Rotterdam
Blueprint March 2013
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Special K: Théâtre St Nazaire
Karine Herman of Paris-based K-architectures has brought a lyrical approach to the French seaside town's new theatre, with it's almost billboard-facade finish and classical theatrical flourishes
Blueprint January 2013

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Renzo Piano's Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo
Light-harvesting glass and Norwegian wood make the crisp, gentle drama of Oslo's new contemporary art gallery.
Blueprint December 2012

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Zaha Hadid's PierresVives
A look at the huge sci-fi civic building beamed into the South of France, and Ms Hadid's thoughts about it
Blueprint November 2012

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As curatorial consultant to the launch edition of Lisbon Open House, I am happy to report that it was a phenomenal success! Here's how my Saturday went.
Blog October 2012


Teatro Thalia- after 150 years, a magical theatre ruin in Lisbon is brought back to life, in an an extraordinary remodelling by the legendary Gonçalo Byrne, with Patricia Barbas and Diogo Lopes
Blueprint October 2012

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The Novium- the new city museum by Keith Williams is a cool, considered addition to the tight ancient townscape of Chichester
Blueprint October 2012

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Renzo Piano and Shard model, photo ©Herbert Wright

Renzo Piano and The Shard

The history and anatomy of the new tallest skyscraper in the EU, and...

Renzo Piano talks about The Shard, Ronchamp, Centre Pompidou, the Pritzkers... and his 'fuck' moment

Blueprint June 2012

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Genex Tower, Belgrade photo Kristina Rapacki 2012

Expedition to the Genex Tower
At Belgrade's Western Gate stands perhaps the world's most fantastic Brutalist high-rise
Blog June 2012



Gare du Nord photo © Herbert Wright 2012

Paris Stalingrad to the Peripherique
A Paris off the beaten track, behind the grand railway termini in the north
Blog April 2012


Terry Farrell and KK100, photo © Jo Farrell

Terry Farrel's KK100 in Shenzhen: "100 bloody storeys!" 
A giant of post-modernism talks about his work, influences and new skyscraper, the world's 9th tallest. Includes Rowan Moore's 1986 article on Farrell.
Blueprint February 2012



Touring the near and the elsewhere
Following my touring talk with curator Gaia Persico of a major show of urban photography and art
Blog February 2012




Chunking Mansions. Photo © Herbert Wright 2011

Long Live Chungking Mansions!

Hong Kong's legendary epicentre of the world

Blog January 2012



Shenzhen roofs 2011. Photo © Herbert Wright

Sampling the Urban Future in Shenzhen

The instant mega-city that may be defining the 21st century

Blog December 2011



Rebuilding Tatlin's Tower

Vladimir Tatlin never got to build his 400m-high Tower to the Third International in St Petersburg, but in London, Jeremy Dixon has just built a (slightly smaller) one- again!
Blueprint December 2011

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Heathrow has a Third Runway and it's almost Ready for Take-Off!
Blog November 2011


Vegas © Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates 1966

Postmodernism: What is the V&A's take?
It's all GoGo with PoMo these days- a major show at the Victoria & Albert Museum says... what?
Blog September 2011


Grayson Perry vs Charles Jencks, photo © Herbert Wright 2011

Post Modernism debate at ICA originally posted by Blueprint September 2011

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Trinity Buoy Wharf is London's odd secret art quarter, and home to Michael Farraday's experiments and James Douglass' Experimental Lighthouse (1863)
le cool May 2011



Mill Lands Mumbai. Photo © Herbert Wright 2011

Mumbai's Skyline- Going Up?

What's up in Mumbai? Who are these tycoons reaching for the sky? Where's the planning and infrastructure?

blog March 2011



Charles Holden's Piccadilly Circus
A huge, dreamy structure, invisible from the street yet bang in the centre of London'
le cool February 2011


Escher at Home
A Surrealistic Astroturf house in Austria by Albert Otis and Reinhold Weichlbacher

Wired March 2011


Three Gorges Dam- what a Stator
Wired September 2010


Taipei 101's massed tune damper
Wired (UK) June 2010


photo SZR Skyline 2008 © Herbert Wright

Comment: Time to re-assess the clichés about Dubai!
Blueprint March 2009
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Slit House by Eastern Design Office in Shiga, Japan, challenges the idea of inside and outside
Contemporary 21, 2008/9

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photo still from Rear Window, 1954

The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock
A review of the book by Steven Jacobs
Blueprint April 2008
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László Rajk- profiling Hungarian master of deconstruvist architecture and author of the outrageously eclectic Lehel Market, Budapest

Blueprint January 2007

Return to the Barbican
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A Pretty Picturehouse
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Skyline Palimpsest
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UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015
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the Shard
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Zaha Hadid's Heydar Aliyev Center
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Caruso St John's intervention at Tate Britain
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On the Drawing Board: National Graphene Centre
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Oslo Architecture Triennale 2013: Behind the Green Door reviewed
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Between Heaven and Earth + Chairman Zhang's Brave New World
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A Skyline That Never Sleeps
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Charles Correa
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Álvaro Siza
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Sweets- Amsterdam's Bridge-houses
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On The Eighth Day... Eduardo Souto de Moura
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Texas Tech University's Land Arts Program
Adobe Acrobat document [931.5 KB]
Getting it Rijk
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Alex Haw of atmos studio
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If You Build It, Will They Come?
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Thanks for the View, Mr Mies
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Lining Up: The High Line Effect
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Cinema Étoile, Paris
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Special K: Théâtre St Nazaire
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The Renzo Piano-designed Astrup Fearnley Museum
Adobe Acrobat document [2.5 MB]
Zaha Hadid's PierresVives
Adobe Acrobat document [2.5 MB]
Teatro Thalia
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The Novium
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Renzo Piano and The Shard
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Terry Farrel and his Shenzhen skyscraper KK100
Adobe Acrobat document [7.5 MB]
Rebuilding Tatlin's Tower
Adobe Acrobat document [3.6 MB]
Edgar Martin's Time Machine reviewed
Adobe Acrobat document [1.8 MB]
Time to re-assess the clichés about Dubai!
Adobe Acrobat document [440.8 KB]
Slit House by Eastern Design Office
Adobe Acrobat document [286.8 KB]
The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock
Adobe Acrobat document [2.8 MB]
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