Diplomacy by Design

September 5, 2014
A new generation of architects is using rail lines, shopping centers, and football fields to keep the peace from Belfast to Baghdad.

On a single day in July, when ambient tensions escalated, Palestinian militants fired more than 180 rockets into Israel, and the Israelis launched airstrikes against towns throughout the Gaza Strip. Dozens of Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed. The order of daily urban life was disrupted, yet again, by warfare.

Urban Infrastructure: What Would Nature Do?

January 29, 2013
When urban infrastructure meets nature’s designers, amazing things can happen

We humans are problem solvers. We’re doers. We encounter challenges and complicated situations and we find ways to surmount them—crafting tools, erecting bridges, programming computers. We’ve innovated and designed our way out of countless predicaments and, dammit, we will forevermore.

We are also hopelessly arrogant.

See, we humans sometimes forget that we are not the only innovators and designers out there. We’re not the only ones able to creatively adapt our way through tricky or threatening conditions. We forget about nature.

Frank Gehry on City Building

January 9, 2012
Excerpts from a Q&A with the architect.

Last summer, I was commissioned by Wallpaper magazine to interview architect Frank Gehry. The occasion was the magazine’s 15th anniversary, and part of the idea behind the interview was to look at how Gehry’s career has changed over the last 15 years. His most famous work, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, opened (that’s right!) 15 years ago.

Construction Cinema

December 16, 2009
Once bare-bones and utilitarian, architectural animation is becoming more nuanced and experiential. In part, this development can be credited to advances in 3-D technology, but at the same time architects have embraced the art of filmmaking -- not only to create more interactive presentations for clients, but also to leverage as a tool in the design process.

It’s easy to think of architecture as an interdisciplinary field. At its most basic level, art and science combine to create buildings that are both beautiful and functional. In much the same way, architects are now relying on a broad spectrum of professional fields for sharing their work. From film to video games to documentary photography, architects are stretching beyond their own circles to present and explain their projects in new and even entertaining ways.

Zaha Hadid: A Brilliant Legacy in Buildings

March 31, 2016
The death of Zaha Hadid has robbed architecture of one of its most famous and controversial figures. Her buildings and influence means Hadid leaves a vibrant legacy.

The death of Zaha Hadid, one of the world's most famous and influential architects, at 65, came as a shock. She leaves a notable legacy.

Hadid, the Iraqi-born British architect whose work has been celebrated by the top prizes in architecture, including the Pritzker Prize in 2004 and the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal in 2016, died suddenly in Miami early Thursday, according to a statement released by her office, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Unfinished Architecture: This Was Almost New York’s Tallest Building

March 26, 2016
Even though it ended up being significantly shorter than originally planned, the Metropolitan Life North Building has become a New York City architectural landmark.

On Madison Avenue, at the edge of Madison Square Park, in the dense crush of skyscrapers that fill the middle of Manhattan, the Metropolitan Life North Building, one of New York City’s earliest tall buildings, stands out from its surroundings.

In an elegant counterbalance to today’s gleaming glass and steel super-tall towers that are rapidly redrawing the skyline, it is clad in beige limestone and decorated in the art deco style, with vertical flutes running up its sides and intricate details at its roofline.

Unfinished Architecture: Inside Rome's Ghost Stadium

March 20, 2016
Rome’s unfinished grand swimming stadium was neither a victim of hubris or bad construction—but rather simple economics. It may even have a chance of Olympics life.

By the side of a highway on the outskirts of Rome, a mountain of white steel pops out of the landscape. Curved and climbing to a peak like a rigid circus tent, its gridded, geodesic framing appears from a distance to be some sort of humpback dinosaur's skeleton.

And it is a skeleton, in a way.

This white steel structure is the half-built shell of one building of the Città dello Sport, or Sports City, a complex of sporting facilities for the University of Rome Tor Vergata, master-planned in 2005 by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

Getting the Most Out of the Research and Development Tax Credit

March 17, 2016
The 35-year-old credit is now a permanent part of the tax code, with looser limits on what kinds of businesses and work can qualify.

The phrase “research and development” (R&D) may bring to mind white lab coats and Silicon Valley brainstorms, but new provisions in the federal tax code could turn workaday architecture firms into R&D hubs. The Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, also known as the R&D Tax Credit, offers up to $10 billion in credits to businesses each tax year. In December, Congress extended and made the 35-year-old credit permanent while changing its scope to allow more small and midsize businesses to participate.

Architect Ric Abramson

March 15, 2016
The Man Who Deftly Negotiates West Hollywood’s Complex and Contentious Development Process

Ric Abramson may be the developmental conscience of West Hollywood. A longtime resident, Abramson has been almost hyperactively involved in shaping the city’s urban form and function, holding volunteer positions on the General Plan Advisory Committee, the Green Building Committee, the Environmental Task Force, the Sustainable City Committee, the Public Facilities Commission and the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation Board, all on top of running Workplays, his West Hollywood-based architecture firm.

Unfinished Architecture: Las Vegas' Incredible Shrinking Tower

February 27, 2016
The plan for Las Vegas’ 49-story Harmon tower sounded, and looked, grand. But it was literally cut down in its prime.

The unfinished architecture of the world comes in many varieties, with many reasons for their halted development.

Some buildings, like cathedrals, remain unfinished, to some eyes, because they can take centuries to build. Some buildings are never completed because, whether due to poor judgment or the hubris of their builders, they’re simply bad ideas. And some buildings are never finished because they can’t be.