Places

About
Foundation
Partner Schools
Print Archive
Peer Review
Submissions
Donate
Contact


Departments

Critique
Essays
Gallery
Interviews
Multimedia
Partner News
Peer Reviewed
Poetry & Fiction
Projects


Topics

Architecture
Art
Books
Cities + Places
Community
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Film + Video
Food
Geography
Health + Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Infrastructure
Landscape
Photography
Planning
Politics + Policy
Preservation
Public + Private
Reputations
Sustainability
Technology
Transportation
Urbanism
Water



Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Culture


06.09.14: Shannon Mattern

Library as Infrastructure
On Places, Shannon Mattern considers the many faces of the public library, from social service center to innovation lab, and asks just how far we can stretch the library’s program.
READ MORE

05.19.14: Alec Soth & Brad Zellar; intro by Eric William Carroll

“I struggle when I know the words to a place by heart”
On Places, a selection of photographs from LBM Dispatch, an irregular broadsheet newspaper reporting the stories of a strange and perhaps broken world.
READ MORE

03.03.14: Richard Campanella

Hating Bourbon Street
On Places, Richard Campanella upbraids the Bourbon Street haters and scrutinizes the politics of authenticity in New Orleans.
READ MORE

02.18.14: Sasha Bezzubov & Aaron Rothman

Landscape Forensics
On Places, photographs by Sasha Bezzubov examine invisible phenomena underlying contemporary landscapes, including climate change and politically disputed claims on land and resources.
READ MORE

02.10.14: Pedro Levi Bismarck

Architecture and the Aestheticization of Politics
On Places, Pedro Levi Bismarck deciphers the Turkish government plan to transform the vital public space of Taksim Gezi Park into a shopping mall with a nostalgic Ottoman facade.
READ MORE

01.27.14: Joseph Redwood-Martinez

A Necessary Incompleteness
On Places, Joseph Redwood-Martinez shares photographs and anecdotes from a research project investigating examples of incomplete architecture around the world.
READ MORE

01.21.14: Simon Sadler

TEDification versus Edification
On Places, Simon Sadler explores the magical thinking and many contradictions of the TED Talks.
READ MORE

01.13.14: Belmont Freeman

"The moment for something to happen"
On Places, Belmont Freeman reviews The Making of an Avant-Garde, Diana Agrest's new documentary on the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, from its 1970s heyday to its brilliant legacy.
READ MORE

12.18.13: Bernheimer Architecture with Kate Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: The Juniper Tree
On Places, a design by Bernheimer Architecture for the Grimm Brothers’ “The Juniper Tree,” the tenth in our ongoing series of architectural fairy tales.
READ MORE

12.17.13: studio SUMO with Kate Bernheimer & Andrew Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky
On Places, a design by studio SUMO for the Nigerian folk tale “Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky,” the ninth in our ongoing series of architectural fairy tales.
READ MORE

12.16.13: Rice+Lipka with Kate Bernheimer & Andrew Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: The Library of Babel
On Places, a design by Rice+Lipka for the Jorge Luis Borges story “The Library of Babel,” the eighth in our ongoing series of architectural fairy tales.
READ MORE

11.21.13: Dennis DeHart

Heavy Metal
On Places, photographer Dennis DeHart traces the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes through one of the world's largest and most contaminated historic mining districts.
READ MORE

11.18.13: Jim Williamson

Dallas Is a Story I Tell
On Places, Jim Williamson remembers growing up in Dallas, and explores the oddity of memory, the blurring of shared national tragedy with the personal and ordinary.
READ MORE

11.05.13: Shannon Mattern

Methodolatry and the Art of Measure
On Places, Shannon Mattern surveys the new wave of urban data science projects and argues that practitioners are trending toward an obsession with data-for-data’s-sake and an idolization of method.
READ MORE

10.29.13: Keith Eggener

When Buildings Kill
On Places, Keith Eggener takes us on a tour of evil architecture in book and movies — just in time for Halloween.
READ MORE

10.22.13: Dan Hancox

The Village Against the World
On Places, Dan Hancox tells the story of a village in Andalusia that for the past three decades has been working — successfully — to create a communist utopia.
READ MORE

10.01.13: Nancy Levinson

Print and Pixel
On Places, Nancy Levinson explores the challenges of moving from a print-centric to digital-dominant world — in particular the difficulty of sustaining ambitious journalism and serious literature.
READ MORE

07.22.13: Max Hirsh

Techno-Pastoral Fantasies at Hong Kong International
On Places, Max Hirsh explores the surprisingly diverse landscape around the new Hong Kong International Airport, from a giant new pop-concert arena to an ancient fishing village.
READ MORE

07.15.13: Mark Klett

Camino del Diablo
On Places, photographer Mark Klett journeys along the Camino del Diablo in the Sonoran Desert, much of which is now a bombing range, and finds a landscape of forbidding danger and compelling beauty.
READ MORE

07.08.13: Joe Day

Corrections and Collections
On Places, Joe Day examines American prison and museum design and compares how the two institutional architectures have responded to cultural movements from Minimalism to post-Millenialism.
READ MORE

05.20.13: Daniel A. Barber

Hubbert’s Peak, Eneropa, and the Visualization of Renewable Energy
On Places, Daniel Barber traces the energy debates back to the postwar era, when leading scientists argued that shifting from fossil fuels to renewables was not just technically feasible but also ethically necessary.
READ MORE

04.29.13: Naomi Stead

Child’s Play
On Places, Naomi Stead examines the cultural perception of architecture as not simply a creative profession but also a kind of child's play — an uber-kindergarten legitimated for academic credit and professional reputation.
READ MORE

01.31.13: Kristi Dykema Cheramie & Michael Pasquier

The Lost Graves of the Morganza Floodway
On Places, Kristi Dykema Cheramie and Michael Pasquier tell the story of a small Louisiana church relocated by Mississippi River engineers so the area could be designated as floodable territory.
READ MORE

01.24.13: Reinhold Martin

Public and Common(s)
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores the philosophical understandings of the terms public and commons, from the 20th-century treatises of Arendt and Habermas to recent books by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
READ MORE

01.14.13: Shannon Mattern

Paju Bookcity: The Next Chapter
On Places, Shannon Mattern visits Paju Bookcity in South Korea— a special economic zone dedicated to books —and high-style architecture — now being remade for the digital era.
READ MORE

12.19.12: SO-IL with Kate Bernheimer & Andrew Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: Monkey King
On Places, a design by Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL) for the Chinese fairy tale “Monkey King,” the seventh in our ongoing series of architectural fairy tales.
READ MORE

12.18.12: Bernheimer Architecture with Kate Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: The Little Match Girl
On Places, a design by Bernheimer Architecture for Hans Christian Andersen's “The Little Match Girl,” the sixth in our ongoing series of architectural fairy tales.
READ MORE

12.17.12: Abruzzo Bodziak with Kate Bernheimer & Andrew Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: Snowflake
On Places, a design by Abruzzo Bodziak for the Russian story “Snowflake,” the fifth in our ongoing series of architectural fairy tales.
READ MORE

12.11.12: Naomi Stead

Writ Small
On Places, Naomi Stead explores the presentation of architecture in children's literature, with a special focus on stories about houses and the meaning of home.
READ MORE

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.
READ MORE

10.31.12: Bernheimer Architecture with Kate Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: Halloween Edition
On Places, a design by Bernheimer Architecture for the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “The Boy Who Set Forth to Learn What Fear Was,” in this special Halloween edition of our ongoing series of architectural fairy tales.
READ MORE

10.17.12: David Bacher

Far North
On Places, photographer David Bacher documents the semi-nomadic Laevas Sami community of northern Scandinavia, which now moves fluidly between tradition and modernity.
READ MORE

09.06.12: Daniel Kariko & Aaron Rothman

Storm Season
On Places, a portfolio by photographer Daniel Kariko records the fragile and changing landscapes of the barrier islands of southern Louisiana.
READ MORE

07.23.12: 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.
READ MORE

07.09.12: Rudabeh Pakravan

Territory Jam: Tehran
On Places, Rudabeh Pakravan analyzes the rise of illegal satellite TV in Tehran, which allows residents to watch state-banned shows — and which has made the private home "the true public realm" in the Iranian capital.
READ MORE

07.02.12: Martin Hogue

Kampground, America
On Places, a slideshow drawn from a visual survey of all KOA campgrounds in the United States.
READ MORE

05.29.12: Rolf Potts

Tourist Snapshots
On Places, as the summer season starts, writer Rolf Potts recollects scenes from his life as a traveler with a camera, from a 9th-grade civics class trip  to Washington to later journeys around the world.
READ MORE

05.22.12: Shannon Mattern

Marginalia: Little Libraries in the Urban Margins
On Places, Shannon Mattern surveys the rise of the little library, of the myriad pop-up, guerrilla and ad-hoc libraries that build on the DIY energy and political edge of tactical urbanism. 
READ MORE

03.27.12: Mimi Zeiger

The Interventionist’s Toolkit: Project, Map, Occupy
On Places, Mimi Zeiger explores the unfolding dynamic — and tension — between the grassroots tactics of activist designers and the institutional strategies of New York's cultural leaders.
READ MORE

03.19.12: Gabrielle Esperdy

Banham's America
On Places, Gabrielle Esperdy traces the American journeys of Reyner Banham, and views the British historian in the lively tradition of European travelers who tell us Americans something important about ourselves.
READ MORE

03.06.12: Giovanna Borasi & Mirko Zardini

Demedicalize Architecture
On Places, Canadian Centre for Architecture curators Mirko Zardini and Giovanna Borasi explore the changing social and political concepts of “healthy” buildings and cities.
READ MORE

03.01.12: Alexandra Lange

How to Be an Architecture Critic
So you want to learn how to talk about buildings? Alexandra Lange suggests starting with “Sometimes We Do It Right,” Ada Louise Huxtable's classic review of the Marine Midland Bank Building in New York.
READ MORE

02.02.12: Mitchell Schwarzer

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?
READ MORE

01.30.12: Deborah Gans

Hospitality Begins at Home
On Places, Deborah Gans visits a digital installation by Israeli artist Maya Zack and the In-House Festival in Jerusalem, and is inspired to explore the spatio-political dimensions of homeland.
READ MORE

01.03.12: Michael P. Branch

The Hills Are Alive
On Places, Michael Branch reflects on how deeply photography and film shape our landscape aesthetics (and how much he detests the Alpine-worshipping The Sound of Music).
READ MORE

12.22.11: Guy Nordenson with Kate Bernheimer & Andrew Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: Rapunzel
On Places, in the third of an ongoing series of architectural fairy tales, Guy Nordenson and Associates re-engineer the tower in "Rapunzel."
READ MORE

12.21.11: Leven Betts with Kate Bernheimer & Andrew Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: Jack and the Beanstalk
On Places, in the second of three architectural fairy tales, architects David Leven and Stella Betts reimagine "Jack and the Beanstalk."
READ MORE

12.20.11: Bernheimer Architecture with Kate Bernheimer

Fairy Tale Architecture: The House on Chicken Feet
On Places, the first in an ongoing series of architectural fairy tales exploring magical homes; part one, by New York architect Andrew Bernheimer, reimagines the hut of the Russian witch Baba Yaga.
READ MORE

10.10.11: Enrique Ramirez

I Watch Slacker to Read Austin in the Original
On Places, architectural historian and Texas native Enrique Ramirez assesses Richard Linklater's Slacker and recalls Austin in an earlier and less self-conscious era.
READ MORE

09.16.11: Barry Bergdoll

The Art of Advocacy: The Museum as Design Laboratory
On Places, MoMA's curator of architecture and design, Barry Bergdoll, describes his efforts to expand the museum's role to support experimentation and advocacy.
READ MORE

09.12.11: Mimi Zeiger

The Interventionist’s Toolkit: Our Cities, Ourselves
On Places, the latest installment of Mimi Zeiger's ongoing series The Interventionist's Toolkit, which explores diverse tactics and projects in DIY urbanism.
READ MORE

08.02.11: Richard Powers

What Does Fiction Know?
On Places, novelist Richard Powers grapples with Berlin's history in this meditation on place and narrative.
READ MORE

07.21.11: Bobby C. Rogers

Paper Anniversary
On Places, a poem by Bobby C. Rogers about the names of things.
READ MORE

07.02.11: D.H. Tracy

To England
On Places, a poem by D.H. Tracy, a salute to England on Independence Day.
READ MORE

06.13.11: Despina Stratigakos

What I Learned from Architect Barbie
Why can't architects wear pink? On Places, Despina Stratigakos describes the feminist politics that inspired Architect Barbie.
READ MORE

06.09.11: Adelheid Fischer

A Home Before the End of the World
On Places, Adelheid Fischer explores our startling ignorance of the natural world — and wonders whether this is enabling the degradation of the environment.
READ MORE

05.31.11: Martin Hogue

A Short History of the Campsite
On Places, Martin Hogue traces a history of the campsite, from early 20th-century wilderness camps to today's domesticated campgrounds, where the amenities include day spas and wi-fi.
READ MORE

03.14.11: Mimi Zeiger

The Interventionist's Toolkit: Posters, Pamphlets and Guides
On Places, in the second of her series on The Interventionist's Toolkit, Mimi Zeiger reports on the ingenious use of print media to spur urban activism — and even revolution.
READ MORE

03.07.11: Beth Weinstein

The Collaborative Legacy of Merce Cunningham
On Places, architect Beth Weinstein highlights a real though often unrecognized architectural type: the diverse collaborations between major choreographers and eminent architects.
READ MORE

03.03.11: Justin Partyka

Black Fen
On Places, a portfolio by photographer Justin Partyka focusing on the fenlands of eastern England and a vanishing way of life.
READ MORE

02.17.11: David Clements & Douglas Haller

Writing on the Wall
On Places, a portfolio of photographs by Detroit local David Clements, of some of the many hand-painted signs and murals found throughout the Motor City.
READ MORE

01.31.11: Mimi Zeiger

The Interventionist's Toolkit
On Places, Mimi Zeiger reports on what she calls "the interventionist's toolkit" — architects' and urbanists' creative responses to the economic slump.
READ MORE

01.13.11: Nick Sowers

Soundscapes: Burning Man
On Places, a selection of soundscapes — ranging from dust storms to diesel generators — recorded by architect Nick Sowers at the latest Burning Man.
READ MORE

01.10.11: Nate Berg

Burning Man and the Metropolis
On Places, Nate Berg looks at Burning Man, and how a beach party in San Francisco mushroomed into a week-long temporary city of 50,000 out in the Nevada desert.
READ MORE

10.12.10: Quilian Riano

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.
READ MORE

09.13.10: Keith Eggener

Size Matters: Small Towns with Big Things
From the Burj Khalifa to the world's biggest ball of twine, size matters. On Places, architectural historian Keith Eggener takes an expansive look at largeness, especially "big things in small towns."
READ MORE

08.18.10: Martin Hogue

Land, Speed and Bonneville
On Places — coinciding with Speed Week at Bonneville — a gallery created by architect Martin Hogue documents decades of land speed racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats of western Utah.
READ MORE

06.09.10: Mitchell Schwarzer

A Sense of Place, A World of Augmented Reality: Part 2
On Places, in the second installment of his two-part essay, architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer argues that augmented reality, combined with social networking, is bringing about "nothing less than a new epoch of social relations."
READ MORE

06.08.10: Mitchell Schwarzer

A Sense of Place, A World of Augmented Reality: Part 1
On Places, in the first of two-part essay, architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer argues that digital technology, especially the real-time, mediating imageries of augmented reality, are revolutionizing how we perceive and inhabit place.
READ MORE

04.26.10: Barbara Penner

The Wedding at Cana: A Vision by Peter Greenaway
On Places, architectural historian Barbara Penner explores Peter Greenaway's digital video installation of Veronese's The Wedding at Cana, the latest in the series "Nine Classic Paintings Revisited," shown at the recent Venice Biennale.
READ MORE

03.15.10: Frank Gohlke

Grain Elevators
On Places, a slideshow of photographs from Frank Gohlke's series on grain elevators in the American Midwest and Great Plains.
READ MORE

03.06.10: Nancy Levinson

Critical Beats
On Places, Nancy Levinson argues that the fundamental dilemma of architecture criticism is the rise of the global beat — dateline: placeless.
READ MORE

11.15.09: Mimi Zeiger

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.
READ MORE

11.05.09: Jan Otakar Fischer

Berlin: The Art of Reunification
On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, architect and writer Jan Otakar Fischer describes the failed competition to create a reunification memorial — and explores the thorny questions of German memory and identity.
READ MORE

11.03.09: Frieder Schnock & Renata Stih

Open Space: Berlin After Reunification
Berlin-based artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock curate an online gallery to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
READ MORE

09.11.09: Keith Eggener

Hometown, America
Architectural historian Keith Eggener visits the boyhood homes of Mark Twain and Walt Disney, and finds in each an all-American mix of historic fact, popular fantasy and commercial exploitation.
READ MORE

07.15.95: Thomas J. Campanella

Splendid China
A tour of Splendid China, the "world's largest miniature scenic spot."
READ MORE

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS