Please Save Modernism from the Modern
On Places, David Heymann makes the case for why the Folk Art Museum is a great modernist
building — and why the Museum of Modern Art should reverse its decision to tear it down.
Motor City Breakdown
On Places, Jerry Herron looks at the troubled portrait of Detroit — and its spectacular decline — in recent books and films.
Illuminating the Petrochemical Landscape
On Places, Mark Feldman reviews collaborative projects that blend photography with environmental activism, including Petrochemical America
and Arctic Voices
Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer
Client and Architect
On Places, a republication of Mariana Van Rensselaer's 1890 essay on the architect and the client, and the need for the "reciprocal loyalty from which alone can grow a truly national art."
After the Storm: Climate Change and Public Works
On Places, Nancy Levinson argues that the accelerating crisis of climate change suggests a newly intensified political agenda for design activism.
11.08.12: Josh Wallaert
State of the Commons
On Places, Josh Wallaert reviews the Wiki Loves Monuments USA photography contest — and highlights the increasing privatization of our infrastructure of public information.
William L. Fox
On the Road Home
On Places, William Fox reviews The Prehistory of Home
, by anthropologist Jerry Moore — and explores what it means to be home
06.25.12: Reinhold Martin, Raphael Sperry, Amit C. Price Patel, Liz Ogbu & Tom Angotti
The Housing Question
On Places, a debate inspired by the MoMA exhibition Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream
, organized by the Buell Center and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility.
Rolling to a Stop
On Places, Ian Baldwin reviews ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking
and Reinventing the Automobile.
Building After Auschwitz
On Places, Mitchell Schwarzer reviews Building After Auschwitz,
the new book by historian Gabriel Rosenfeld that asks a thorny question: Is there a Jewish architecture?
Occupy: The Day After
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores how Occupy Wall Street might challenge the structural inequities of finance capitalism, and how architects and urbanists can contribute to the next phase of the movement
Occupy: What Architecture Can Do
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores the role of architecture in the Occupy Wall Street movement — and in the larger challenges of constructing a better and more equitable society.
10.03.11: Alexandra Lange & Mark Lamster
Lunch with the Critics: Supertall
On Places, Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster debate the merits of Supertall!
, the latest exhibition at New York City's Skycraper Museum.
06.02.11: Alexandra Lange & Mark Lamster
Lunch with the Critics: Cronocaos
On Places, Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange analyze "Cronocaos," the new exhibition on preservation at the New Museum in New York, curated by OMA/Rem Koolhaas.
The Architecture of Harry Weese
On Places, Ian Baldwin reviews The Architecture of Harry Weese
, and finds an overlooked modernist whose work was "highly original and often stunning."
Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment
On Places, Belmont Freeman reviews Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment
, and finds much to admire in a long career that has lately been overlooked.
Donald Judd and the Blooming of Reality
On Places, architect Adam Yarinsky reviews Donald Judd
, by David Raskin, and Chinati: The Vision of Donald Judd
, by Marianne Stockebrand, et al.
On Places, Alexandra Lange argues that the new monograph from Studio Gang is a version of the anti-monograph: an effort to feed the star machinery and resist it at the same time.
In Motion: The Experience of Travel
On Places, Ray Gastil reviews In Motion: The Experience of Travel
, the latest book by Tony Hiss.
On Places, Sandy Isenstadt reviews Alice Friedman's American Glamour and the Evolution of Modern Architecture
12.20.10: Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange
Lunch with the Critics: Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University
For this installment of Lunch with the Critics, Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange visit the Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University.
Relearning the Social: Architecture and Change
On Places, architect Quilian Riano reviews the Museum of Modern Art's new exhibition Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement.
On Places, Mimi Zeiger reviews Street Value
, the new book about Downtown Brooklyn and the dynamic interplay of shopping and planning, of politics and race and class.
08.30.10: Alexandra Lange & Mark Lamster
Lunch with the Critics: Park51 & 15 Penn
"Lunch with the Critics," a new feature on Design Observer: Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange travel to midtown to visit the Hotel Pennsylvania, across from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.
What's Cooking in Kitchen Design?
The modern American kitchen has transformed from the servant's domain to the social epicenter of the home.
William L. Fox
Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture
Can buildings makes us happy? On Places, William L. Fox explores this possibility in his review of Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture
, by Leon van Schaik.
07.26.10: Alexandra Lange & Mark Lamster
Lunch with the Critics: The New Lincoln Center
"Lunch with the Critics," a new feature on Design Observer, begins with Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster's visit to the recently revamped Lincoln Center.
Shanghai's Avenue Queue
On Places, MIT urban historian Lawrence Vale reports on the Shanghai Expo, from the national pavilions to the media restrictions to the record-breaking queues.
Postopolis: Urban Portraiture
On Places, Cassim Shepard describes five days of lively communal conversation about art, design, music, architecture and urbanism at the recent Postópolis!DF in Mexico.
Architect Beth Weinstein reviews Self-Fab House
, a compilation of the results of a competition sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.
Havana: Nostalgia Is a Dangerous Business
On Places, New York architect Belmont Freeman reviews the recent literature on Havana architecture and urbanism, including Havana Revisited: An Architectural Heritage
On Places, urban planning professor Timothy Beatley, author of Green Urbanism
, reviews Green Metropolis
, by David Owen, which argues that Manhattan is the greenest city in the U.S.
As curator and subject in his own exhibition, “Marcel Wanders: Daydreams at the Philadelphia,” the designer manages to diminish his appeal.
Two Feet High and Rising: On Optimism, Speculation and Oysters
On Places, Mimi Zeiger reviews MoMA's ambitious new architecture and urban design show, Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfron
t, which explores how New York Harbor might be adapted in the face of rising sea levels.
Words and Pictures
On Places, architect Robert Taylor reviews Fumihiko Maki's collected essays and Shigeru Ban's latest monograph.
On Places, Nancy Levinson argues that the fundamental dilemma of architecture criticism is the rise of the global beat — dateline: placeless.
Frank Gohlke: Thoughts on Landscape
On Places, Brian Rosa reviews Frank Gohlke's Thoughts on Landscape
, a volume of collected writings which shows that this leading American photographer is as eloquent with words as with images.
On Places, architect Ian Baldwin reviews Paul Rudolph: Writings on Architecture
, and makes a compelling case for looking anew at several important but neglected projects.
Architect, Park Thyself
The auto-urban relationship, writes Ian Baldwin, is "fumbling, overheated, unsatisfying for both parties." Baldwin reviews House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage
, currently on exhibit at the National Building Museum, and The Architecture of Parking
, by Simon Henley.
The Public Works
Why isn't the Great Recession inspiring a new New Deal? The essential dilemma, argues Places editor Nancy Levinson, is that we no longer believe in public sector solutions — or even in the public itself.
The City's End
Architect Beth Weinstein reviews The City's End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears and Premonitions of New York's Destruction,
by architectural historian Max Page — just in time for the season premiere of 24
, which finds Jack Bauer and his fellow counter-terrorists relocated to NYC.
Our Design Decade
Mimi Zeiger reviews Design USA
, which opened last month at the Cooper-Hewitt, marking ten years of the National Design Awards program.
it is what it is
Gavin Browning reviews it is what is is
, the 1,000-page monograph of the work of the New York-based multidisciplinary design firm 2x4.
William L. Fox
Writer and critic William L. Fox reviews Las Vegas
, by Nicole Huber and Ralph Stern, probing the improbable success of the gambling-entertainment world-city constructed in the midst of the Mojave.
New Orleans-based writer Dorothy Ball reviews Richard Campanella's Bienville's Dilemma
, a panoramic study of the history and geography of New Orleans that spans from the early 16th century to Hurricane Katrina and its troubled aftermath.
Mind the Map
The new map of the London Underground tried to de-clutter the diagram by removing the River Thames; architect Ian Baldwin analyzes the error.
Niagara: It Has It All
Architectural historian Barbara Penner reviews Inventing Niagara
, by Ginger Strand, drawing out the contradictory mix of reverence and exploitation inspired by the famous falls.
The Past Is Promenade: On the High Line
Architect Ian Baldwin contemplates the High Line and sees in New York's newest park a rare and valuable form of urban place: a slow corridor.
Crystal and Arabesque
Sandy Isenstadt reviews Jonathan Massey's Crystal and Arabesque
, which retrieves the life and work of the long-neglected early 20th-century architect Claude Bragdon.
The Infrastructural City
Los Angeles depends upon vast infrastructural systems that are breathtakingly powerful, yet vulnerable to disruption, even disaster. Landscape architect Chris Reed reviews The Infrastructural City
Photographer Mark Klett reviews Placing Memory
, which juxtaposes contemporary color photos of abandoned Japanese-American internment camps, by photographer Todd Stewart, with government-commissioned period images, to haunting effect.
The New U.S. Embassy in Berlin
In creating a new U.S. embassy in Berlin, architectural design is just one of the challenges.
Will Miss Brooklyn Bow Out?
The redevelopment of the Atlantic Yards was based on a false assumption of Brooklyn's inferiority complex.
When Buildings Became Pin-Ups
Though the 80 images on display are a fraction of the 500,000 photographs acquired by the Chicago Historical Society, "Building Images" offers a rare opportunity to see the work of America's first great architectural-photography firm.