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Architecture

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A Perverse View of Architecture

Buildings, although inanimate, are often assumed to have “life.” And the architect, through the act of design, is assumed to be their conceiver and creator. But what of the “death” of buildings? What of the decay, deterioration, and destruction to which they are inevitably subject? And what might such endings mean for architecture’s sense of itself? In Buildings Must Die, Stephen Cairns and Jane Jacobs look awry at core architectural concerns.

“Public space” is a potent and contentious topic among artists, architects, and cultural producers. Public Space? Lost and Found considers the role of aesthetic practices within the construction, identification, and critique of shared territories, and how artists or architects—the “antennae of the race”—can heighten our awareness of rapidly changing formulations of public space in the age of digital media, vast ecological crises, and civic uprisings.

A Serendipitous Guide

All working architects leave behind a string of monuments to themselves in the form of buildings they have designed. But what about the final spaces that architects themselves will occupy? Are architects’ gravesites more monumental—more architectural—than others? This unique book provides an illustrated guide to more than 200 gravesites of famous architects, almost all of them in the United States.

Violence at the Threshold of Detectability

In recent years, the group Forensic Architecture began using novel research methods to undertake a series of investigations into human rights abuses. Today, the group provides crucial evidence for international courts and works with a wide range of activist groups, NGOs, Amnesty International, and the UN. Forensic Architecture has not only shed new light on human rights violations and state crimes across the globe, but has also created a new form of investigative practice that bears its name.

Frederick Kiesler and Design Research in the First Age of Robotic Culture

In 1960, the renowned architect Philip Johnson championed Frederick Kiesler, calling him “the greatest non-building architect of our time.” Kiesler’s ideas were difficult to construct, but as Johnson believed, “enormous” and “profound.” Kiesler (1890–1965) went against the grain of the accepted modern style, rejecting rectilinear glass and steel in favor of more organic forms and flexible structures that could respond to the ever-changing needs of the body in motion.

Writing around Alison and Peter Smithson

The English architects Alison Smithson (1928–1993) and Peter Smithson (1923–2003) were ringleaders of the New Brutalism, active in CIAM and Team 10, and influential in English Pop Art.

Bosworth's New Tech

At the end of the nineteenth century, MIT occupied an assortment of laboratories, classrooms, offices, and student facilities scattered across Boston’s Back Bay. In 1912, backed by some of the country’s leading financiers and industrialists, MIT officials purchased an undeveloped tract of land in Cambridge. Largely on the basis of a recommendation from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., MIT hired the École des Beaux-Arts–trained architect William Welles Bosworth to build and design a new campus.

Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream

The Las Vegas Strip has impersonated the Wild West, with saloon doors and wagon wheels; it has decked itself out in midcentury modern sleekness. It has illuminated itself with twenty-story-high neon signs, then junked them. After that came Disney-like theme parks featuring castles and pirates, followed by replicas of Venetian canals, New York skyscrapers, and the Eiffel Tower.

Neuroscience, Embodiment, and the Future of Design

Although we spend more than ninety percent of our lives inside buildings, we understand very little about how the built environment affects our behavior, thoughts, emotions, and well-being. We are biological beings whose senses and neural systems have developed over millions of years; it stands to reason that research in the life sciences, particularly neuroscience, can offer compelling insights into the ways our buildings shape our interactions with the world. This expanded understanding can help architects design buildings that support both mind and body.

"This is the most thorough architectural 'crit' of a hut ever set down, the justification for which is that the hut was the setting in which Martin Heidegger wrote phenomenological texts that became touchstones for late-twentieth-century architectural theory."
—from the foreword by Simon Sadler

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