Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.


































































03.26.12
‘Deco Japan’ + Designing Women
The Japan Society's new exhibition
"Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945" displays the surprising globalism of this little-known period in Japanese design, when pent-up post-1923-earthquake desires for new goods and new traditions met up with a new openness to Western arts and the rise of industrialization




































































































09.28.10
Yummy!
I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition
Appetite, curated by Alexander Tochilovsky at the Herb Lubalin Center at Cooper Union, not least because it was bite-sized.




09.26.10
Masdar: So Many Questions
I was not planning to post anything about 
Sukkah City. It all just looked like an architecture studio: so much effort, such worked-over results, and an inability to see the forest for the trees.




09.24.10
Rendering v. Reality in Sukkah City
I was not planning to post anything about
Sukkah City. It all just looked like an architecture studio: so much effort, such worked-over results, and an inability to see the forest for the trees.











09.08.10
In Dwell: Hands Off the Icons
In the 
October 2010 issue of Dwell, which celebrates the magazine’s tenth anniversary by revisiting its own (generally happy) homeowners, I offer the following Argument.




09.07.10
Coming to the V&A: Tower of Power
It is not often that 
a museum blogs about Postmodernism, Michael Sorkin (one of the great take-downs) and credits the (female) renderer who made the AT&T Building look the best it ever has.





08.30.10
Lunch with the Critics: Park51 and 15 Penn Plaza
In my 
second critical lunch with Mark Lamster, in the creepy climes of the Hotel Pennsylvania, we discuss the urbanism, politics and skyline posturing of Park51 and 15 Penn Plaza.

















07.27.10
On DO: Lunch with the Critics
Please weigh in on 
Mark Lamster and my new Design Observer feature, "Lunch with the Critics," in which we observe the new Lincoln Center.








07.20.10
Culture Shed: Where’s the Neighborhood?
CultureGrrl 
offers a critique of the NEA grant for Culture Shed, the Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group design for a Kunsthalle with retractable roofs over at Hudson Yards.





07.18.10
Hung Ceilings
Mad Men returns, and now it's time to speculate on the evolution of Peggy’s hair and the meaning of Betty’s dress choices




07.13.10
Time to Move On
A very nice 
house in Montauk embodies the most recent cliches in architecture: floating staircases, pocket doors, and glass floors.







07.06.10
Below Black Rock
While the plaza around the 
CBS Building in Manhattan has always seemed perverse, it is now made worse with the addition of a bank.




07.02.10
The Personality of Parks
Until Pier 6 at 
Brooklyn Bridge Park opened, my only experience of parks as a parent had been of neighborhood parks










06.17.10
Diana Center & Architectural Bull----
Though rave reviews (
Architect, Metropolis, previously New York) are rolling in for Weiss/Manfredi’s Diana Center at Barnard College, every review has praised two things that I quickly dismissed as the most basic architectural bullshit: the copper glass and the street-level transparency.







06.11.10
Op Art Eye Candy
I’m lucky that I get to live with a
Julian Stanczak painting, bought by my father-in-law in 1968, when Op Art was really something.




06.10.10
Pomo Time Machine
I’m writing more about
Warren Platner, my favorite terribly wonderful or wonderfully terrible architect.








06.02.10
Bloggers in the Archive
Geoff Manaugh’s announcement, on
BLDGBLOG, that he would be blogging from the CCA this summer irritated me, partly because the idea is not brand new.




05.27.10
The Plastics
This month’s
Vogue, which had several enraging features, is not yet fully online except for Blake Lively, bathing suits, clear plastic.






05.21.10
The Anti-Enthusiasts
Design Blogs: The Vacuum of Enthusiasm, my Design Observer manifesto on what the world of design on the internet needs, lives on in the comments.








05.14.10
It Was All Yellow
In 
Buying In, author Rob Walker avoids talking about the aesthetics of the Livestrong bracelet.




05.12.10
In Metropolis: The Visceralist
I spent a day and a half with
Peter Bohlin in deepest Pennsylvania and New York State, and was very impressed with his house projects and attitude toward design.






05.07.10
On Archpaper: Saccharine Design
My review of
Marcel Wanders’ exhibition Daydreams at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for The Architect’s Newspaper just went online and let’s just say I was not impressed.








05.02.10
What I Learned @dcritconference
The
D-Crit Conference is just a memory, so as a tribute to the afternoon presentations I saw, I offer a set of tangents.













04.15.10
All in the Execution
Ian Baldwin's review of The Grid Book calls out the coffee-table book format and it's middlebrow achievements.










04.03.10
Has the High Line Ruined Us?
I went to
Brooklyn Bridge Park on opening day in the pouring rain with stroller.






03.31.10
Moynihan on Design
At
tonight’s lecture at D-Crit, Casey Jones, director of design excellence and the arts for the U.S. General Services Administration, quoted from Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture, written in 1962.




03.30.10
Texts Without Context
I keep thinking about Michiko Kakutani’s piece,
Texts Without Context, that begins the discussion of what is being lost to culture by the supremacy of the web.












03.16.10
Things of Beauty
Saul Bass matchbook covers are about the most beautiful things I have seen in some time.








03.08.10
Not A Learning Experience
The Privileges finally gives a real satire of almost-present day New York City, in which money is discussed and no one has to learn their lesson.






03.03.10
The (Architectural) Anthologist
After some digressions weird and
wonderful, the Nicholson Baker I loved from The Mezzanine and U and I and Room Temperature seems to be back, cranky and at sea and procrastinating.















02.03.10
In AN 02: As the Tide Turns
In MoMA’s 
Rising Currents exhibition, certain tropes of contemporary waterfront design immediately surfaced.

















01.13.10
The Yuck Factor
Watch
District 9 as a palate cleanser after the visual feast of Avatar.






01.07.10
On DO: Skating on the Edge of Taste
The American Restaurant in Kansas City, designed by Warren Platner, is subject of a long essay on that architect and interior designer’s career.




01.06.10
I Heart Huxtable
Ada Louise Huxtable is still the most knowledgeable, elegant, thoughtful critic out there.







12.31.09
Last Post of 2009: Interview, Casey Jones
I interviewed the GSA’s newish head of Design Excellence,
Casey Jones, earlier this month about the future of this government program to ensure better architecture for government buildings






12.21.09
Exciting Multi-Generational Moment
An essay and slideshow on the
design of James Joyce’s Ulysses by my mother, Martha Scotford, appears on Design Observer, where I was recently made a contributing writer.






















11.22.09
Another New York
Every time I get an issue of
New York Magazine lately I ask myself: is Adam Moss turning it into a men’s magazine?



















10.24.09
Petting Zoo
On Thursday I took my class on a field trip to
One Bryant Park, the sustainable skyscraper that is almost complete at the northwest corner of 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue.























































































Observed | October 08

The renaissance of the Friends logo. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | September 30

Max Hirshfeld shares his parents‘ poignant Holocaust love story through photographs, letters, and text. [BV]


Observed | September 19

Our dear friend Rob Walker has a new column, Off Brand, for the new Medium business magazine, Marker. He kicks off with which tech companies need a Black Mirror unit that focuses on how products can be misused, and design accordingly. [BV]

Watch Charles and Ray Eames put their 1969 spin on one of the world’s oldest toys. [BV]


Observed | September 18

A tribute to the dearly departed paper sports ticket. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | September 10

The blobification of the American restaurant. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | September 04

Beginning with the Dada and Surrealist movements, Paris nurtured a tradition of artists, including Ernst, Tanguy, Arp, and Léger, illustrating imaginative and important books. Designers and Books explores Paris and the Artist’s Book in the 1920s and ’30s. [BV]

What‘s the point of album covers in the post-album era? Jon Caramanica and Teddy Blanks discuss. [MB]


Observed | September 03

The history of the Roman Empire, which spans hundreds of years and multiple continents, is chronicled in statues and monuments its citizens left behind. Artsy has a list of seven ancient Roman sculptures you need to know. [BV]

Over the summer, Hyperallergic interviewed dozens of art handlers about the variable conditions of their workplaces. This week, their stories of accident and injury come to light. [BV]


Observed | September 02

KCET is back with a new season of Masters of Modern Design. Season 10 kicks off with the influence of Japanese American artists and designers—Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Isamu Noguchi, S. Neil Fujita and Gyo Obata—in postwar American art and design. (h/t Steven Heller) [LY]


Observed | August 30

We use hurricane forecast graphics to warn people. Why do we misinterpret them so often? A marvelous explanation of misreading hurricane graphics. [BV]


Observed | August 29

When your brain won’t let you recognize people, how do you navigate the world? [BV]

Pedro Bell, the artist who created Funkadelic’s cosmic album covers, died Tuesday at 69. [BV]


Observed | August 26

On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe. [BV]

Sonic branding has appliances and devices singing new tunes. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | August 23

Don‘t miss the next MITX InsideDesign event featuring Google Nest‘s Director of Design, Kate Freebairn. The event is on September 25, 8-9:30AM at Mad*Pow‘s Boston office. Get the MITX member rate on tickets using code OBSERVER. Register now [BV]


Observed | August 22

Ikea has swapped its brand typeface to Noto, a collaborative type family from Monotype and Google, after a decade of using Verdana across its visual identity. [BV]

“I’ve always had a studio in my house. I raised both of my children in my studio. I see my studio as a daily practice the way some people see yoga: it’s a sanctuary.” Jessica Helfand talks to Madame Architect. [BV]


Observed | August 19

Visual identity for Re:publica rebels against digital culture with reams of text. Fertig Design has created a visual identity for the Re:publica conference that uses lengthy passages of text and typography instead of conventional graphics to pay “homage to the written word”. [LY]

This is the world’s worst UI—and it speaks volumes about design today. The Antwerp design agency Bagaar built an impossible form for you to fill out—and it puts all your design assumptions to the test. [LY]


Observed | August 15

Roger Ballen revisits his never-before-published Woodstock photos. The internationally renowned artist was just 19 when he took his trusty Nikon to the festival. Only one was ever published—till now. [LY]

Google has a secret design library. The company’s industrial design team shares a handful of titles from its studio library, which is curated by team members. Here are 35 of its best books. [LY]

Morphosis is designing LA’s Korean American National Museum. The museum will incorporate elements of traditional Korean houses and lots of greenery. [LY]


Observed | August 14

Be water’ The Hong Kong protest mantra encourages fluidity and adaptability to any situation influences how art is designed and distributed. [LY]

London design agency OMSE has created an augmented reality campaign for cultural venue Printworks London that transforms static typography into immersive three-dimensional animations. [LY]


Observed | August 12

Why are all recreational vehicles covered in swirls and swooshes? (via James I. Bowie) [LY]


Observed | August 08

New York knows its arts organizations have a diversity problem. The city asked cultural institutions, including museums and performing arts centers, to draw up plans to make their staff and board members more diverse. [LY]

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation aims to make circular design “the new normal” by persuading 20 million designers to help transform the global economy from a linear to a circular model. [LY]


Observed | August 07

Domino’s Pizza is locked in a legal battle over the future of web design. The pizza company has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a three-year-old case that deals with whether Domino’s is legally required to make its websites and apps accessible to all users. [LY]



Jobs | October 13