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Exploring Eye


Interview with Photographer Iwan Baan Subscription Required

Iwan Baan is the most sought after architectural photographer on earth. Living entirely from suitcases and hotel rooms, he is courted by architectural royalty the world over. As his new show 52 Weeks, 52 Cities opens in Herford, Germany, Baan speaks to the AR’s creative director Simon Esterson about his photography and fascination with ordinary people’s extraordinary use of space


Unsung Devotion: Gallego Martínez's cathedral of a lifetime Subscription Required

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary and fabricated from scavenged materials, this eccentric Spanish cathedral is a unique architectural bricolage that may never be complete


Japan after the storm Subscription Required

Despite being given no formal role in the recovery programme following the 2011 tsunami, Japanese architects are engaging with communities and devising strategies that respond to the aftermath and plan for the future


Ruins of Utopia Subscription Required

Built by Moisei Ginzburg in 1929 as a Constructivist machine for radical living, Moscow’s Narkomfin Building immediately fell foul of Stalinist orthodoxy and now rots in a climate of state neglect and apathy

Road back to Damascus Subscription Required

The AR’s recent Exploring Eye is essential reading for unraveling the human urban condition.

A young family walk home after a long night of ‘cultural expression’

On the trail of Orangefest Subscription Required

The 12 July celebrations in Belfast have been branded as a retail-friendly attraction by the local government, but the move belies the cultural provocation of a sectarian ritual. Essay and photographs by Declan O’Neill

Bärbel Högner documents daily life in Chandigarh, exploring how the buildings and spaces are colonised

Bärbel Högner documents daily life in Chandigarh, exploring how the buildings and spaces are colonised Subscription Required

Chandigarh’s buildings and spaces are brought vividly to life by its residents, but the city now faces a challening future as India’s economy booms. Photography by Bärbel Högner

The elevated house belonging to the chief's son utilises modern stilt construction

Jon Beswick visits Ambryn Island on the remote Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu and describes its traditions Subscription Required

On the volcanic island of ambryn in the pacific archipelago of vanuatu, local building traditions and a fascinating, primitive way of life continue to endure

Why Criticsm Matters

Critical Mass: Why Architectural Criticism Matters Subscription Required

28 May 2014

By seeing beyond the glittering novelty of form, it is criticism's role to assess and promote the positive effects architecture can bring to society and the wider world

Troubles in Theory V

Troubles in Theory V: The Brutalist Moment(s) Subscription Required

30 January 2014

From the Smithsons’ claim to have originally coined the term, to its alleged incarnation in the béton brut of Le Corbusier’s Unités, the provenance of New Brutalism, seen as a corrective to ‘soft’ Modernism, is as problematic as what it stood for: ethic or aesthetic?


Architecture Becomes Music Subscription Required

6 May 2013

As abstract art forms based on rhythm, proportion and harmony, architecture and music share a clear cultural lineage. Now, through digital expression, architecture can attain new heights of creative supremacy

Theory Carousel

Troubles in theory Part iv: The social side Subscription Required

10 April 2013

Techno-fetishists may have argued for a scientifically determined architecture in the ’60s and ’70s, but at the same time more politically engaged voices were calling for the reinterpretation of space as an arena for the lived experiences of the everyday

Typical spread from ‘Stocktaking (AR February 1960), with tradition and technology running in parallel columns

Troubles in Theory Part III: The Great Divide: Technology vs Tradition Subscription Required

24 July 2012

The great divide: technology vs tradition

From its ‘war address’ in Cheam, the AR surveys a brave new post-war world in August 1945

Troubles in Theory Part II: Picturesque to Postmodernism Subscription Required

20 December 2011

The second essay in AR’s series: Troubles in Theory

Artist Madelon Vriesendorp’s cover design for Charles Jencks’s The Story of Post-Modernism depicts some of the author’s contemporary (and perhaps unwitting) examples of the movement

Reassessing Postmodernism Subscription Required

30 October 2011

As a major exhibition opens at the V&A on the same subject, Charles Jencks has published an account of Postmodernism’s historic and unfolding story. While the author includes many recent architectural projects, these later examples emerge as antithetical to the movement’s original intent. But if the current crop of architecture is devoid of meaning, could Postmodernism find a future in the complexity of the city and a world of rapid scientific and technological transition?

Cedric Price features on the cover of Architectural Design, October 1970

Troubles In Theory Part I: The State Of The Art 1945-2000 Subscription Required

21 September 2011

Becoming a subject of interest to those beyond the profession in the late 1960s, architecture - and its theory - in turn opened up to outside influences. An anti-institutional ideology, with strong French philosophical connections - Foucault, Barthes, Derrida - served to undermine architecture’s own disciplinary focus. Key figures - Summerson, Banham, Eisenman - sought to regain the lost territory, but a unified theory of architecture remains elusive. The first of three essays outlines ...

The Autopoiesis of Architecture dissected, discussed and decoded

The Autopoiesis of Architecture dissected, discussed and decoded Subscription Required

4 March 2011

In the autopoiesis of architecture, Patrik Schumacher introduces a new unifying theory of architecture. Peter Buchanan decodes, dissects and weighs up Schumacher’s arguments

Chicago Flowering Grid

‘Ornament has always flowered in Chicago’ Subscription Required

2 September 2015

[Archive] Ornament could offer the key to a new flowering of architectural expression


White flight, red lining, block busting and panic peddling Subscription Required

13 August 2015

[Archive] Chicago’s poor make plain the social responsibilities of the architecture industry

Union Stockyards, Chicago, 1947

Chicago meatspace Subscription Required

13 August 2015

The fin-de-siècle Modernism of Chicago was determined by its secret twin city: the South Side Stock Yards and their infrastructural logic

Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, St Peter's Seminary Cardross, 1961-66

Modern monasteries Subscription Required

13 June 2015

The magnificent ruin of St Peter’s Cardross has recently been thrown a lifeline after decades of neglect, but many other significant buildings commissioned by religious orders remain under threat


How the London Playboy Club bankrolled Hef’s empire Subscription Required

7 April 2015

Playboy, that great icon of American pop culture, owed its existence for many years to gambling revenue from Blighty


The Imaginary of ‘Africanness’ in South African Architecture Subscription Required

23 March 2015

The persistent use of imagery from the ruins of Great Zimbabwe points to a universal desire to connect with atavistic cultural roots


Australian Ugliness Subscription Required

17 March 2015

Emma Letizia Jones revisits Robin Boyd’s The Australian Ugliness, and asks whether it is ever possible to give valid form to a displaced culture in an alien landscape


Queer Gothic: Architecture, gender and desire Subscription Required

20 January 2015

Through a historical study of the connections between architecture, gender and desire, Ayla Lepine reveals the invisibility and marginalisation of queer history


Part Two: British architecture after the Great War Subscription Required

30 December 2014

Alan Powers’ two-part historical essay reveals World War One’s repercussion on the maturation of Modernism and encourages us to re-evaluate, a century later, both the Modernist canon and its impact on British architecture


Part One: British architecture before the Great War Subscription Required

11 November 2014

Alan Powers’ two-part historical essay reveals World War One’s repercussion on the maturation of Modernism and encourages us to re-evaluate, a century later, both the Modernist canon and its impact on British architecture

Architecture And Photography

Shattered Glass: The history of architectural photography Subscription Required

22 December 2013

Exploring photography’s obsession with architecture as motif and metaphor, a cluster of exhibitions in Los Angeles ended by questioning the neutrality of the camera in the architectural assignment


Building Seagram: A Memoir of Mies and Modernism Subscription Required

24 September 2013

Phyllis Lambert's compelling and incisive account of the commissioning, design and construction of the Seagram Building is both a critical history and personal memoir of a pivotal moment in architecture


The Strategies of Mat-building Subscription Required

13 August 2013

Dismantling and reframing programme and composition, mat-building envisaged architecture as a dynamic, flexible armature

Beijing Modernising History

Beijing: Modernising History Subscription Required

28 August 2012

The demolition of the protected home of China’s most prominent 20th-century architect exposes the tension between preservation and progress, says Anu Leinonen


The Classical ideals of Le Corbusier Subscription Required

21 September 2011

How three weeks in Athens left a lasting impression on the father of Modernism

60 years on from the Festival of Britain

Sixty years on from the Festival of Britain – Joseph Rykwert Subscription Required

29 June 2011

Sixty years on from the Festival of Britain, the AR invites Joseph Rykwert to reconsider its role in shaping modern, post-war architecture

60 years on from the Festival of Britain

Sixty years on from the Festival of Britain – Alan Powers Subscription Required

29 June 2011

Sixty years on from the Festival of Britain, the AR invites Alan Powers, to reconsider its role in shaping modern, post-war architecture

Sixty years on from the Festival of Britain – Mary Banham Subscription Required

28 June 2011

Mary Banham was 27 when she attended the Festival of Britain. She visited the South Bank Exhibition in 1951 with her late husband, Peter Reyner Banham, who as an editor on the AR went on to write a number of critical essays on the Festival and the significance it held for post-war British modernism. 25 years later, Mary Banham co-curated the V&A’s exhibition, A Tonic to the Nation

Sixty years on from the Festival of Britain – Trevor Dannatt Subscription Required

28 June 2011

Trevor Dannatt was 28 years old when he joined the Festival Hall Design Team, headed by Leslie Martin, but working under the associate architect Peter Moro, who held special responsibility for the interiors. Sneaking off from time to time to oversee the construction of a small tea bar, he got to know the South Bank site very well, both during the Festival of Britain and afterward, and to this day turns a keen eye to the future of this popular London site. Here he recalls his 1951 experience ...

Sixty years on from the Festival of Britain – Terry Farrell Subscription Required

28 June 2011

Terry Farrell reflects on the South Bank Exhibition’s impact on London, from the opening up of the public realm, to the creation of a major riverside walkway