• Wetter the better: Gothenburg’s bold plan to be world’s best rainy city

    Wetter the better: Gothenburg’s bold plan to be world’s best rainy city
    It rains nearly 40% of the time in the Swedish city – so why not try to make the most of it?When they wake up on a Saturday morning to find rain coursing down the windows of their Gothenburg apartment, four-year-old Enja Bäckström and her six-year-old brother Charlie often still want to go out to play.That’s because their local playground has been designed to be particularly fun when it’s wet. There are dips in the ground to make the puddles deeper and more satisfying
  • Cities of dreams: a Dutch master reimagines the metropolis – in pictures

    Cities of dreams: a Dutch master reimagines the metropolis – in pictures
    Frank van der Salm has spent 25 years turning the way we see urban surfaces upside down – from twinkling nightscapes to eerie, empty interiors Continue reading...
  • Swindon leisure centre that inspired Oasis on at-risk buildings list

    Swindon leisure centre that inspired Oasis on at-risk buildings list
    The Twentieth Century Society praises ‘fantasy structure’ as it highlights top 10 properties in dangerA space age-like leisure centre which inspired Liam Gallagher to name his band Oasis, instead of The Rain, has been placed on a top 10 list of 20th century British buildings most at risk.Oasis leisure centre in Swindon is on a list published every two years by the Twentieth Century Society, highlighting threats to more recent architectural heritage. Top of the list is Coventry’
  • Rome’s Colosseum to gain hi-tech arena floor

    Rome’s Colosseum to gain hi-tech arena floor
    Retractable floor will allow visitors to see the ‘majesty of the monument’ from its centre, says culture ministerThe floor of Rome’s Colosseum, where gladiators once fought against each other and wild animals, is set to be restored to its former glory.Milan Ingegneria, a structural engineering and architecture firm, has won an €18.5m (£16m) bid to build and install a retractable arena floor that will allow visitors “to see the majesty of the monument” fro
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  • Gio Ponti: the real charmer of Italian design

    Gio Ponti: the real charmer of Italian design
    From the graceful Pirelli tower to his classic super-light chair, the Milanese architect’s life and work are celebrated in a huge new tomeAt the dedication of Taranto Cathedral in 1970, its 79-year-old architect, Gio Ponti, gave a speech. His words are not well remembered, but his family kept a recording of what preceded it: 10 minutes of applause, like “thunder”. This was a figure who, according to some anti-modernist mythologies, was supposed not to exist – a modern arc
  • Last-ditch bid to save Derby’s postwar modernist gem from bulldozers

    Last-ditch bid to save Derby’s postwar modernist gem from bulldozers
    The Clash and Take That once played there, now the planned demolition of the empty 1970s Assembly Rooms is dividing the cityWhen Derby launched a competition for the redevelopment of its marketplace in 1970, the winning design was said to be “architecturally effective whatever the function” and praised for its “excellence of conception”.Created by the famous architectural duo Hugh Casson and Neville Conder, the Derby Assembly Rooms was at the centre of city life for decad
  • Cities are so last century | Letters

    Cities are so last century | Letters
    Thanks to the technology revolution, towns are now the best places to provide work and communityThomas Heatherwick, and his vision of the future of the city landscape (“The city will be a new kind of space”, Magazine), fails to address the question: why cities in the first place? From the agricultural revolution around Ur to the Industrial Revolution, cities have been the centre of trade and commerce and provided a magnet to more rural populations. All this has been superseded by the
  • From spaceships to sweat shops to Studio 54: the world’s greatest nightclubs

    From spaceships to sweat shops to Studio 54: the world’s greatest nightclubs
    A veg patch on the dancefloor, invites printed on cheese, $30,000 makeovers every six weeks … a new show at V&A Dundee celebrates a half-century of club culture. Is it a thing of the past?Dancers grind, twist and pump their bodies beneath a billowing parachute, while other revellers sprawl across six-metre long polyurethane silk worms, or perch on seating made from washing machine drums and refrigerator cases. A VJ mixes trippy visuals to the beat of the music, using junkyard scraps m
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  • April design news: synagogues, sheds, shirts and new studios for makers

    April design news: synagogues, sheds, shirts and new studios for makers
    An award for craftspeople, a museum to celebrate home and a beautiful building created to remember a tragedyEveryone needs their own space and this issue of design news features a number of projects that honour space in different ways. There are studio spaces on offer courtesy of a new award from Cockpit Arts and New Craftsmen gallery – two mainstays of the London craft community – for makers from underrepresented ethnic groups. The importance of a creative space is also recognised b
  • New Architects 4: young hotshots raise their sights

    New Architects 4: young hotshots raise their sights
    The latest survey of the UK’s top emerging practices reveals plenty of style and wit alongside a desire to prioritise diversity, the climate crisis and housing shortages over wealthy clients…“I am a poster child,” says David Ogunmuyiwa, “for what you get if you invest in people’s education, healthcare and homes.” The son of immigrants, he grew up on the Aylesbury estate in south London, the often-vilified place that Tony Blair visited on the morning aft
  • Prince Charles’s model village architecture? Give me brutalism any day | Hannah Jane Parkinson

    Prince Charles’s model village architecture? Give me brutalism any day | Hannah Jane Parkinson
    There is a large cohort of people who despise the look, but I am a broad church when it comes to architectureArchitecture is a divisive subject, an area in which people’s tastes are stubborn and admirers argue passionately for their favourite styles. Prince Charles, for instance, maintains a keen interest in the subject, which has resulted in the creation of his own personal project: the town of Poundbury, on land he owns in Dorset. This is particularly tragic because Prince Charles has th
  • New York deserves better than Andrew Cuomo’s towering folly Rowan Moore

    New York deserves better than Andrew Cuomo’s towering folly Rowan Moore
    The state governor seems determined to give the city’s famous skyline a lumpy revampAndrew Cuomo, the governor of New York state, is currently resisting calls to resign over allegations of sexual harassment. So what better way to prove that he is definitely not a phallocratic bully than to “ram through”, as one outlet puts it, a super-tall tower called Penn 15, and a vast development around it?It’s not just that its name reads like the personalised licence plate of an ina
  • Landmark UK department stores at risk as Covid changes city centres

    Landmark UK department stores at risk as Covid changes city centres
    Locally beloved buildings, from 1930s classics to brutalist edifices, are facing developers’ wrecking ballsCampaigners are organising themselves to prevent the destruction of historic department store buildings around the country, from fantastical brutalist structures to sleek 1930s edifices.The Twentieth Century Society is taking action against the destruction or redesign of seven sites, and has concerns about the future of another 23 threatened by the reinvention of town centres followin
  • Illuminated River: lighting up London’s bridges with skill and charm

    Illuminated River: lighting up London’s bridges with skill and charm
    A £31m plan to transform the Thames at night with ever-changing lighting of 14 of its bridges will bring out the beauty of these quirky London landmarksLight, rather obviously, is the thing that allows us to see shapes and colours. Which makes it somewhat fundamental to architecture: there wouldn’t be much point, without it, to architects troubling themselves with form and decoration. It also varies in tone, intensity, direction, contrast and colour, which means that the solid stuff
  • Rewilding our cities: beauty, biodiversity and the biophilic cities movement

    Rewilding our cities: beauty, biodiversity and the biophilic cities movement
    Buildings covered in plants do more than just make the cityscape attractive – they contribute to human wellbeing and action on climate changeOur cities are dominated by glass-faced edifices that overheat like greenhouses then guzzle energy to cool down. Instead, we could have buildings that are intimately connected to the living systems that have evolved with us, that celebrate the human-nature connection that is central to our wellbeing.As more of us in Australia live in urban areas and o
  • Re-wilding our cities: beauty, biodiversity and the biophilic cities movement

    Re-wilding our cities: beauty, biodiversity and the biophilic cities movement
    Buildings covered in plants do more than just make the cityscape attractive – they contribute to human wellbeing, biodiversity, and action on climate changeOur cities are dominated by glass-faced edifices that overheat like greenhouses then guzzle energy to cool down. Instead, we could have buildings that are intimately connected to the living systems that have evolved with us, that celebrate the human-nature connection that is central to our wellbeing.As more of us in Australia live in ur
  • The dirty secret of so-called 'fossil-fuel free' buildings

    The dirty secret of  so-called 'fossil-fuel free' buildings
    The ‘embodied carbon’ in the building of glass and steel blocks makes them anything but greenHanging plants smother the walls of a new office block proposed for Salford, giving it the look of something from an abandoned post-Covid city, reclaimed by nature. The ivy-covered tower, designed by Make Architects, has been trumpeted as “fossil-fuel free”, set to run on 100% renewable energy and reach net zero operational carbon, with tenants enjoying the “biophilic”
  • 'A parallel universe': the rickety pleasures of America's backroads - in pictures

    'A parallel universe': the rickety pleasures of America's backroads - in pictures
    From rundown churches to shuttered stores, this road trip across America offered up countless visual gems – as long as you opened your eyes to themContinue reading...
  • Row erupts over bid to revive London's historic Caribbean cultural hub

    Row erupts over bid to revive London's historic Caribbean cultural hub
    Haringey council admits neglecting the West Indian centre in north London but is locked in a dispute over who should improve itA row has broken out over the future of an important Caribbean community centre in north London which has fallen into serious disrepair after years of neglect by its landlord, the local council.Stewart Wellington, whose parents arrived in the UK from Jamaica in the 1950s as part of the Windrush generation, has drawn up multimillion-pound plans to demolish it and start ag
  • All hail our overlooked bandstands – beautiful, essential meeting places in a pandemic age | Susannah Clapp

    All hail our overlooked bandstands – beautiful, essential meeting places in a pandemic age | Susannah Clapp
    Let’s reclaim these spaces, gifts from the past, and bring our parks alive again with public performancesIn Covid walks through central London, I have found myself collecting pavilions and bandstands. And longing for them to be put to good use. They are structures unlike any others: halfway between the outside world we crave and the domestic interior to which we have been urged to retreat. They are often beautiful – flashing their finials – and often neglected, with mossy roofs
  • Soy of the Rovers: the vegan football club kickstarting a green revolution

    Soy of the Rovers: the vegan football club kickstarting a green revolution
    Led by eco-entrepreneur Dale Vince, Forest Green Rovers have become the world’s first carbon-neutral football club. Now there are plans for a Zaha Hadid Architects all-timber stadium…A player miskicks the ball – skies it – and its clatter on the metal roof is the loudest sound in the Covid-emptied stand. There’s not much by way of a corresponding stand on the other side of the pitch, mostly just advertising boards and a momentarily malfunctioning scoreboard. Behind
  • Subverted Warhol and the world's largest painting – the week in art

    Subverted Warhol and the world's largest painting – the week in art
    Art Basel explores samplings of influential contemporary artists, Tate Liverpool’s democracy show provokes, and it’s your last chance to catch Titian – all in your weekly dispatchPioneers
    Leading commercial galleries offer their samplings of influential contemporary artists from Victoria Miro’s delve into the work of British conceptualist Stephen Willats to Helly Nahmad’s presentation of Antoni Tapies. All the fun of the fair without leaving home.
    • Art Basel o
  • March Design news: ceramics, UK LGBT+ retirement homes and Stan Smiths forever

    March Design news: ceramics, UK LGBT+ retirement homes and Stan Smiths forever
    Why designer Faye Toogood is so good, designs from divided Germany and Together, a graphic novel about lockdownGood design is not only testament to human technical and creative ability, but also to what we want to achieve as a community. In this month’s Design news, you can admire the interplay between design, creativity and socio-political factors in a new exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum on German design during the Cold War years. The show looks at shared ideas as well as the ideolo
  • China's rural revolution: the architects rescuing its villages from oblivion

    China's rural revolution: the architects rescuing its villages from oblivion
    After 20 years of frantic city-building, rustic China is in a death spiral. Now architects are helping to reverse the exodus – with inspirational tofu factories, rice wine distilleries and lotus tea plantsIn the remote Chinese village of Caizhai, a series of wooden pavilions step down a slope next to a babbling brook, their pitched tiled roofs echoing the rocky peaks of the mountains behind. Through big picture windows, day-trippers look inside, watching big barrels of soya make the journe
  • Cyril Mango obituary

    Cyril Mango obituary
    Prolific scholar of the art and architecture of the Byzantine empireCyril Mango, who has died aged 92, did much to advance understanding of the history and material culture of the Eastern Roman empire and its medieval successor, the Byzantine empire, centred on the late Roman city of Constantinople. A native of what in modern-day Turkey became Istanbul, from his youth Cyril developed a great knowledge of the city’s churches and other monuments. They and their counterparts scattered through
  • 'I have picked people up on the street': the secret life of architect Alvar Aalto

    'I have picked people up on the street': the secret life of architect Alvar Aalto
    He built wild, magical buildings and furniture that is still thrilling today. But a new film suggests the celebrated Finn was also a domineering philanderer deeply indebted to his talented wivesWonky lumps of misshapen, scorched bricks burst from a block of student flats in Cambridge, Massachusetts, giving a warty look to the long wall that winds its way along the Charles River. “The lousiest bricks in the world,” is how Finnish architect Alvar Aalto described the local New England m
  • Rising from the rubble: London pub rebuilt brick by brick after illegal bulldozing

    Rising from the rubble: London pub rebuilt brick by brick after illegal bulldozing
    Carlton Tavern reopens six years after planning ruling that campaigners hope will prevent developers demolishing other sitesStanding next to the rubble of the Carlton Tavern, its patrons thought that this was just another brazen example of developers skirting the law to turn their pub into profit.Bulldozers had sheared away the wall of the 1920s west London pub, with its distinctive tiled signage, to reveal the fully stocked bar and darts trophies still on display. Related: Britain's pubs: we'll
  • Downing Street’s new press room is in an alarming shade of Nuremberg Radisson | Rowan Moore

    Downing Street’s new press room is in an alarming shade of Nuremberg Radisson | Rowan Moore
    The Tories might have been after Patriotism, Authority and Tradition, but all they got was blue, blue and more blue“It’s absolutely not something we would ever cut corners on,” said the Downing Street press secretary, Allegra Stratton, “and every refurbishment across the government estate is to the highest standard, and those standards are always met.”Sometimes, obviously, her job requires her to be not quite truthful. Because the design of the new £2.6m media
  • MoMA wants to cancel Philip Johnson – many who knew him do not | Michael Henry Adams

    MoMA wants to cancel Philip Johnson – many who knew him do not | Michael Henry Adams
    A gallery bearing the architect’s name also seeks to obliterate it. A fellow gay Ohioan, I hold his youthful outrages forgivableWhether you’re me or the Duchess of Sussex, to be Black is to always be negotiating around the bias of others. Racism is omnipresent. White supremacy is the west’s original sin. Related: This is the Fire review: Don Lemon's audacious study of racism – and love When the goal is inclusion, is a tit-for-tat banishment necessary or even useful?He kep
  • There's a simple way to make our cities greener – without a wrecking ball | Phineas Harper

    There's a simple way to make our cities greener – without a wrecking ball | Phineas Harper
    Architecture’s top prize has been awarded to a design duo who could show Britain how to bring its emissions under controlThis week the highest honour in the architecture world was awarded to a pair of Parisian designers better known for revitalising existing buildings than creating new ones. The Pritzker prize, which includes a $100,000 jackpot, went to Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, whose most impressive projects – the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, upgrading three social housing
  • Goodbye Cecil Rhodes: House renamed to lose link to British empire builder in Africa

    Goodbye Cecil Rhodes: House renamed to lose link to British empire builder in Africa
    London housing block residents choose location-led name, having rejected option to reflect black historical figuresCecil Rhodes House, which overlooks St Pancras rail station in London, is to be renamed after decades of unsuccessful attempts to rid the property of its association with the Victorian imperialist.But to the disappointment of some local historians, residents rejected renaming the building after a black historical figure, opting instead for Park View House. Related: 'Colonialism had
  • The Guardian view on urban insecurity: build a feminist city | Editorial

    The Guardian view on urban insecurity: build a feminist city | Editorial
    The design of our cities and towns must make women’s wellbeing and safety a priorityThe way our cities and towns look and work reflects political priorities. In mid-19th century Paris, when Baron Haussmann was seeking public money for building his boulevards, he told the government that wide, open avenues would make it harder to riot and build barricades. In an age of urban insurrections at the heart of the French capital, that quickly opened up the public purse.Following the killing of Sa
  • 'Sometimes the answer is to do nothing': unflashy French duo take architecture's top prize

    'Sometimes the answer is to do nothing': unflashy French duo take architecture's top prize
    The Pritzker prize, once reserved for flamboyant creators of icons, has gone to Lacaton & Vassal, whose rallying cry is: ‘Never demolish, never remove – always add, transform and reuse’When Lacaton & Vassal were commissioned to redesign a public square in Bordeaux, their response was unusual. The French architects told the client to leave it alone. They thought the square was perfectly good as it was, and that public money would be better spent elsewhere.“When you
  • How grey was my valley: forgotten Welsh architecture - in pictures

    How grey was my valley: forgotten Welsh architecture - in pictures
    A new photozine by Peter Halliday on the mid-century architecture of Wales brings attention to underappreciated Welsh buildings under threat of demolition Continue reading...
  • Inspired by a sink full of soap bubbles: how we made the Eden Project

    Inspired by a sink full of soap bubbles: how we made the Eden Project
    As the spectacular Cornish bio-domes turn 20, their creators reveal how they were inspired by a lost civilisation – and a load of washing upI had successfully turned a long-disused garden in Cornwall into the Lost Gardens of Heligan and was looking for another big project. I started thinking about an epic setting to showcase the world’s most important plants. Horticulture didn’t seem to be taken seriously, and I wanted to make people think differently about our environment and
  • Estuary Essex … exploring the grimy but lovely Thames near Tilbury

    Estuary Essex … exploring the grimy but lovely Thames near Tilbury
    The Observer’s architecture critic discovers a fascinating collision of industry, historic churches, waterfront and wildlife
    ‘And this also,” says Marlow, the narrator of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, “has been one of the dark places of the Earth.” He’s talking about the stretch of the Thames estuary near Tilbury in Essex, that is now bookended by the imposing pylons of the cable-stayed Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and the bulk liquid storage facilitie
  • A hill to climb? Oxford Street ‘mound’ aims to lure back shoppers

    A hill to climb? Oxford Street ‘mound’ aims to lure back shoppers
    Showstopper Marble Arch Hill is quick fix to undo some of damage done by Covid lockdownsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage“Build it and they will come” is the logic behind an artificial hill which, come summer, will rise at the end of the UK’s most famous shopping thoroughfare, Oxford Street in London.The 25-metre Marble Arch Hill or “mound”, inspired by nearby Hyde Park, is a showstopper designed to pull people back to a shopping are
  • Norton Juster obituary

    Norton Juster obituary
    Author who created a world of wordplay in the children’s classic The Phantom TollboothNorton Juster, who has died aged 91, wrote The Phantom Tollbooth, which became a classic for children of all ages. It tells the story of a boy named Milo, who is both bored and boring. One day he finds a package in his bedroom, from which he assembles the flat-packed eponymous tollbooth, and through which he proceeds in his toy electric car.He finds himself enmeshed in an ongoing conflict between Azaz the
  • Bright lights, big city: Hong Kong's neon at night – in pictures

    Bright lights, big city: Hong Kong's neon at night – in pictures
    When photographer Pascal Greco discovered neon, he became fascinated with how they brought poetry and magic to the city’s architecture. But now they’re fading away Continue reading...
  • Alone in a crowd: is it time to rethink the city? – in pictures

    Alone in a crowd: is it time to rethink the city? – in pictures
    With his images of commuters from São Paulo to Seoul, Lagos to London, Bas Losekoot saw populations of fragmented individualsContinue reading...
  • Big vagina energy: the return of the sheela na gig

    Big vagina energy: the return of the sheela na gig
    Some say the explicit medieval carvings were fertility symbols; others that the figures were meant to ward off evil. Now a group of Irish feminists are bringing them back – as a reminder of women’s strugglesCarved into stone, these women squat, naked, sometimes cackling, pulling open their enlarged labia: it’s no wonder Victorian clergymen attempted to destroy or hide the glorious, mysterious figures known as sheela na gigs.The carvings are found on medieval churches, castles a
  • The Art Barn review – from agricultural shed to sublime studio

    The Art Barn review – from agricultural shed to sublime studio
    Designed for the sculptor Peter Randall-Page by his architect son Thomas, this barn conversion in deepest Dartmoor is a calm, light-filled, practical space that works on every levelSometimes architecture gets called “sculptural”. It’s a loose adjective, often translating as “big, lumpy and/or oddly shaped”. It ignores the ways in which, apart from being three-dimensional and quite heavy, buildings are not like sculptures: they are usually made for use, for a start,
  • Eco-homes become hot property in UK's zero-carbon ‘paradigm shift’

    Eco-homes become hot property in UK's zero-carbon ‘paradigm shift’
    Smart, low-carbon homes were once the preserve of one-off grand designs – now there are up to 30,000 projects in the pipeline
    Instead of parking spaces, it’s flowerbeds and vegetable planters that line the car-free street of Solar Avenue in Leeds, where rows of 60 low-energy homes form a little oasis along a bend in the River Aire, a short walk from the city centre.Built in a factory across the road, these terrace houses are made from super-airtight timber panels stuffed full of wood
  • Stunning staycations, digital breathing and whirlwind LA – the week in art

    Stunning staycations, digital breathing and whirlwind LA – the week in art
    Armchair getaways from Jon Tonks, a glimpse inside 80 LA galleries, and a chat with Gilbert and George about their haunting response to the pandemic – all in your weekly dispatchJon TonksRomantic photographs of remote British landscapes that offer images of getaways and ideas for adventurous staycations.• James Hyman Gallery, London, online until 21 March.Continue reading...
  • Celebrating houses that were built by heroes, for heroes | Letter

    Celebrating houses that were built by heroes, for heroes | Letter
    David Eddershaw on living in a house developed by a far-sighted council in 1921Dagenham is rightly proud of its Becontree estate and is far from alone in celebrating a hundred years of such developments (Becontree centenary: residents mark century of London estate, 1 March). The 1919 Housing Act made Lloyd George’s promise of “homes fit for heroes” a reality – unlike recent government promises – by backing it with real money, enabling local authorities to build the
  • How can architecture help rather than harm blackness?

    How can architecture help rather than harm blackness?
    In a new exhibition, the damaging impact architecture has often had on communities of colour is explored along with ideas of how to move forwardOne of the most defining images in the history of architecture is a 1972 photograph of frozen, mid-demolition debris clouds rising out of the crumbling remains of Minoru Yamasaki’s Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex in St Louis. This moment has been seared into our memories as the day “modern architecture died”, a phrase central to Char
  • 10 virtual tours of spectacular buildings around the world

    10 virtual tours of spectacular buildings around the world
    Mughal palaces, Egyptian tombs and modernist masterpieces can be experienced in VR tours that depart from your sofaWhile our lives have mostly shrunk to our own four walls – besides the sneak peek of others’ homes glimpsed via Zoom – we can still step into other worlds virtually. Stately homes and fortresses, from Blenheim Palace to Bran Castle (of Dracula fame) have opened digital portals allowing anyone with a laptop the chance to snoop around, without getting off the sofa. H
  • Pleas to save historic ‘Versailles of Wales’ before it falls into ruin

    Pleas to save historic  ‘Versailles of Wales’ before it falls into ruin
    Campaigners will ‘shame’ mansion’s offshore owners into fully restoring national treasure or selling it onA vast architectural gem, often nicknamed “the Welsh Versailles”, is crumbling into ruin, despite its Grade-I heritage status and several unique claims to fame, much to the distress of the building’s many fans.Now the sad state of Kinmel Hall, a mansion near Rhyl in Conwy and the largest surviving country house in Wales, has prompted the launch of a campai
  • Will the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of pelota bounce back as a centre of Spanish culture?

    Will the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of pelota bounce back as a centre of Spanish culture?
    Campaigners call for historic sports venue in Madrid to become a world heritage site after its €38m restorationBeneath a pale-blue late-winter sky, and behind an elegant but unassuming facade, one of Madrid’s great unsung survivors sits waiting, once more, for news of the latest in a long and improbable series of metamorphoses.Since its inauguration 127 years ago, the Frontón Beti-Jai, built at the height of the Spanish capital’s love affair with the Basque game of pelota
  • The ‘Sistine Chapel’ of pelota bounces back as a centre of Spanish culture

    The  ‘Sistine Chapel’ of pelota bounces back as a centre of Spanish culture
    Campaigners call for historic sports venue in Madrid to become a world heritage site after its €38m restorationBeneath a pale-blue late-winter sky, and behind an elegant but unassuming facade, one of Madrid’s great unsung survivors sits waiting, once more, for news of the latest in a long and improbable series of metamorphoses.Since its inauguration 127 years ago, the Frontón Beti-Jai, built at the height of the Spanish capital’s love affair with the Basque game of pelota

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