Planning

Andre Barnet
The Age of Wreckers and Exterminators
For many people, the sudden appearance of Carson’s and Jacobs’s brilliant and prescient books was one of those moments that seem, in retrospect, to have changed the very order of things.



Alexandra Lange
Art On Campus
A review of the renovated Blaffer Art Museum and James Turrell's latest skyspace, "Twilight Epiphany."


Alexandra Lange
Learning New Tricks
Harvard doesn't have any design courses, but I've found new friends in "material culture." What it's like for a critic to go back to school.


John Thackara
Trust Is Not An Algorithm
By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years. This impressive if unprovable fact has got many people wondering: what to do with it?


John Thackara
Healing The Metabolic Rift
John Thackara on the possibilities and issues global business leaders will face at the 2013 World Economic Forum.


Alexandra Lange
Kicked A Building Lately?
That question, the title of the 1976 collection of Ada Louise Huxtable’s work for the New York Times, embodies her approach to criticism.


Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum
Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.


John Thackara
Top Down Nature
An overview of Bordeaux 55,000: a project to explore ‘how best to transform 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres) into natural areas’.


Rob Walker
The Built Villain
A Dallas condo dispute considered as a monster movie, starring a built villain.





Alexandra Lange
Fixing South Street Seaport: Is New Architecture Enough?
Fighting over Ben Thompson's postmodernist landmark Pier 17 at South Street Seaport. Should it stay or should it go?


Alexandra Lange
Reassembling the American Dream
"Foreclosed" at the Museum of Modern Art asks what people really like about suburban living. And then, Can they do that with less?


Alexandra Lange
Who Are We Competing For?
At the "Zoning the City" conference, planners insisted cities were in competition? But why are we so focused on the people who want to leave, rather than those who want to stay?



Alexandra Lange
Architecture Research Office
Interview with Stephen Cassell and Adam Yarinsky on the occasion of their National Design Award



Fred A. Bernstein
The Next World’s Fair: A Proposal
Fred Bernstein makes a case for New York City to be the host of the next World's Fair.



Alexandra Lange
New Apple HQ, 1957
Wouldn't it be more radical for Apple to move back to town?


Alexandra Lange
The Moms Aren’t Wrong
Why planning cities for children would make them better for us all.



Alexandra Lange
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.



Jane Margolies
Renewing the Riverfront

Report on an exhibition showcasing efforts to revitalize a derelict patch of Brattleboro, Vermont.




Alexandra Lange
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.



John Thackara
Whole, Whole on the Range
As a juror on the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, John Thackara reviews the highlight.



Alexandra Lange
Jane Jacobs Is Still Watching
Despite my dislike of Jane Jacobs's beef with architects and planners, so many points seem strangely prescient.



Alexandra Lange
Welcome to Fort Brooklyn
Let us sincerely hope that the Atlantic Terminal Entrance in Brooklyn, a gateway to the LIRR and the hub’s many subways, marks the end of empty transport monumentality.



Jeff Speck
New Words on the Block
Jeff Speck reviews the Street Design Manual of the New York City Department of Transportation.



Alexandra Lange
Won't Get Fooled Again
News of the redevelopment of the Atlantic Yards keeps getting worse.



Alexandra Lange
Waiting On the Dream
I wrote a piece on the (lack of) development in Midtown West , also known as the Hudson Yards.



Mark Lamster
A Plea for Crazy in Architecture
John Beckmann of the firm Axis Mundi is promoting an alternative to the Jean Nouvel tower that looks like a half-baked amalgam of several MVRDV projects.



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 17