• New York's twin towers – the 'filing cabinets' that became icons of America: a history of cities in 50 buildings, day 40

    New York's twin towers – the 'filing cabinets' that became icons of America: a history of cities in 50 buildings, day 40
    In their absence, the towers of the original World Trade Center remain extraordinarily powerful symbols of the city of New York – and America’s unbridled capitalist ambitionIn the depths of the emotional underworld at Ground Zero, an eerie place of crushed fire engines on plinths and dramatically lit scorched steel columns, is a fascinating site of architectural archaeology.Marching in a mute line around the exhibition halls of the 9/11 Memorial Museum stand the original foundation pads of N
  • Share your memories of the BT Tower

    We want to hear people’s memories of the BT Tower following the news that it will be converted into a hotel. Did you visit the restaurant or work there?The BT Tower is to be converted into an upmarket hotel. The telecom company has agreed to sell the building for £275m to MCR hotels, a company which owns some of New York’s most luxurious and well known hotels.BT Group said the deal with MCR Hotels would still preserve the Grade II-listed building for the future. Continue readin
  • From the archive: Penthouses and poor doors: how Europe’s ‘biggest regeneration project’ fell flat – podcast

    From the archive: Penthouses and poor doors: how Europe’s ‘biggest regeneration project’ fell flat – podcast
    We are raiding the Guardian Long Read archives to bring you some classic pieces from years past, with new introductions from the authors.This week, from 2021: Few places have seen such turbocharged luxury development as Nine Elms in London. So why are prices tumbling, investors melting away and promises turning to dust? By Oliver Wainwright Continue reading...
  • ‘You can change the view’: rotating house goes up for sale in New Zealand

    ‘You can change the view’: rotating house goes up for sale in New Zealand
    Engineer Don Dunick took years to conceptualise and build ‘the lighthouse’, which can turn 360 degrees to offer views of the sea or native bushlandA house in New Zealand that can rotate continuously like a carousel has been listed for sale for the first time since its owner designed and built it 35 years ago.The building, nicknamed ‘the lighthouse’, perches on Auckland’s coastal Maraetai hillside atop a two metre-wide cylindrical steel base and is believed to be the
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  • Nifty shades of grey: the fashion college where students inject the colour

    Nifty shades of grey: the fashion college where students inject the colour
    It is a love letter to the wonders of needlework, a multi-storey mill for the 21st century. Our writer enters an orange peel lobby and ascends some Harry Potter stairs at the new London College of FashionIt must be the ironing board with the best view in the capital. On the top floor of the new London College of Fashion, in a prime corner of the kind usually reserved for a boardroom, a student is busy pressing their garments in front of a rolling panorama of the Olympic Park and the towers of th
  • Is up the only way for Manchester?

    Is up the only way for Manchester?
    Tower blocks and skyscrapers are rising all over Manchester, hailed by some as signs of a thriving metropolis, slammed by others as out of all proportion to the character of the city. But there is a middle ground…On Oldham Road in Manchester there’s a new 12-storey block of 144 flats to rent, called Poplin, designed by local 19-year-old practice Tim Groom Architects. It has character and presence, with vertical rhythms of brick pillars and horizontal concrete bands every other store
  • LA ‘glass church’ designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son shuts amid landslide fears

    LA ‘glass church’ designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son shuts amid landslide fears
    The Wayfarers Chapel, designed by eldest son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was completed in 1951 and hosted star weddingsThe Wayfarers Chapel, a glass-walled, mid-century marvel that sits beneath a canopy of redwoods in Los Angeles, has closed indefinitely due to “accelerated land movement” in the area.Known locally as the “glass church”, the building was designed by architect Lloyd Wright and designated a national historic landmark just two months ago. But the structu
  • Bryan Thomas obituary

    Bryan Thomas obituary
    My stepfather, Bryan Thomas, who has died aged 95, was an architect and designer who was responsible for the design of many houses in north-east Essex during his long career.Bryan’s practice also designed schools, churches, community centres, a Quaker meeting room and buildings at Essex University. The largest of his churches stands in Alresford, Essex, where he also designed and built two “upside-down” houses in the 1970s. There, bedrooms on the ground floor and living rooms o
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  • Skyscrapers are wrong on so many levels

    Skyscrapers are wrong on so many levels
    High-rise buildings | Brexit tackles | Evictions | Keir Starmer | Dear prudenceI hope Frank DM Wilson was joking in recommending the building of a 500-metre-high tower in Waterloo and the replacement of the current South Bank buildings on a similar scale (Letters, 13 February). I live further upstream on the Thames at Vauxhall, and the jumble of high‑rises between here and Battersea is a solid reminder of how such developments are the very opposite of “inspiring” and
  • Build a 500-metre tower in London as a backdrop to ‘the Slab’ on the South Bank | Letters

    Build a 500-metre tower in London as a backdrop to ‘the Slab’ on the South Bank | Letters
    Bringing Europe’s tallest building back to London would be an inspiring and visionary project, says Frank DM Wilson, while Francis Bown says ‘the Slab’ will further blight the cityscapeLondon’s South Bank area is desperately in need of rejuvenation. While I agree with Simon Jenkins that the proposed “pile of boxes” is somewhat unimaginative, I disagree with his dislike of its size (Expensive and loathed, ‘the Slab’ will be a terrible monument. It&r
  • The skylights? They’re from fighter jets! The anarchic architect who transformed Belgium

    The skylights? They’re from fighter jets! The anarchic architect who transformed Belgium
    Derided by the architectural establishment, Marcel Raymaekers used salvaged materials from ships, planes and slaughterhouses – to create riotous buildings that made people rethink their livesShimmering skylights bulge from the pitched roof of a house in rural Belgium, like an army of slugs slithering up the terracotta tiles. It turns out that these bulbous glass cupolas once served as the cockpits of Lockheed fighter jets, but they’re now bringing light into this astonishing, pyramid
  • Art deco density: what we learned from Australia’s first apartment boom

    Art deco density: what we learned from Australia’s first apartment boom
    Originally demonised, early 20th-century apartments in Australia’s capitals are now considered heritage treasuresSign up for a weekly email featuring our best readsAlmost 100 years ago Sydney was in dire peril from “the ravages of barbarians” – or so the newspaper reports would have had you believe.The perceived danger was one that echoes the current debate raging over density, as Australia’s capital cities struggle to reconcile competing demands for affordable hous
  • Churches must diversify and adapt to stop the rot | Letters

    Churches must diversify and adapt to stop the rot | Letters
    Readers respond to an editorial on crumbling churches and reveal how they can better serve communities todayYour editorial (2 February) was right to highlight the importance of using churches as “local anchor institutions” and to praise the National Churches Trust report calling for an expansion of the secular uses of church buildings.In Droxford, a small Hampshire village, we have rescued our Grade I Norman church from the brink of ruin to become a thriving community hub.
  • ‘We always dreamed of building our own house – so we did’

    ‘We always dreamed of building our own house – so we did’
    How architect duo Surman Weston created a striking family home – complete with a greenhouse on the roofA striking red-brick cube stands on a backstreet corner in Peckham, south London, its walls appearing to dissolve as they rise towards the top, where trailing plants spill through the brickwork, their dangling foliage giving it the air of an overgrown ruin.Part monolithic block, part gossamer screen, this arresting house is the work of Surman Weston, a pair of young ar
  • A cultural manifesto to breathe new life into our dying high streets | Letter

    A cultural manifesto to breathe new life into our dying high streets | Letter
    Flexible auditoriums and art displays from museums could help to revive urban community spaces, says Peter HigginsEs Devlin’s provocation opens a fascinating debate on large, empty retail sites (‘Engage their curiosity’: immersive art can boost UK high streets, says artist, 28 January) . The deal breaker is, of course, about a funding model: the financial imperative of landlords and managing agents, and the demise of local authority support are critical blockages. We need to in
  • Expensive and loathed, ‘the Slab’ will be a terrible monument. It’s being called Gove Towers and he deserves it | Simon Jenkins

    Expensive and loathed, ‘the Slab’ will be a terrible monument. It’s being called Gove Towers and he deserves it | Simon Jenkins
    The London megabuilding given the go-ahead this week is a giant symbol of profit over communityThe Slab is to rise after all. What is clearly intended as the most prominent office block in central London will dominate the bend in the River Thames directly opposite Somerset House and the Temple. Two glass and concrete slabs, one rising 20 storeys, will replace the London Studios tower between the National Theatre and the Oxo Tower. They will form the fulcrum of every view between St Paul’s
  • Baroque’s off: my mission to seek out Vienna’s modernist masterpieces

    Baroque’s off: my mission to seek out Vienna’s modernist masterpieces
    Vienna’s art nouveau movement inspired buildings – from villas to underground stations – that should receive as many plaudits as its imperial palacesThe 20th century was unkind to Vienna. The capital of the Habsburg empire until 1918, it was, by early 1989, a bleak and battered outpost within touching distance of the iron curtain. Now that the city has undeniably recaptured its glory of old (symbolically, its population grew to two million last year, its pre-first world war imp
  • Michael Gove approves ‘derided’ £400m development on London’s South Bank

    Michael Gove approves ‘derided’ £400m development on London’s South Bank
    Office complex nicknamed the Slab given go-ahead despite fierce opposition from green and modernist architecture campaigners A £400m office complex nicknamed “the Slab” has been given the go-ahead to replace ITV’s former headquarters on London’s South Bank despite fierce opposition from green campaigners and modernist architecture fans.Opponents said the proposals ofthe 72 Upper Ground scheme would generate more carbon emissions in its construction than if the 4,000
  • Attacked by an ice-cream scoop? The story of London’s ‘gouged’ building

    Attacked by an ice-cream scoop? The story of London’s ‘gouged’ building
    In a rare instance of love-thy-neighbour design, a new building enables people to enjoy the view of a nearby church window. No wonder it’s been stopping passersby in their tracksLurking down a side street, in the tangled maze of lanes and railway viaducts south of the River Thames, stands one of the strangest new sights in the capital. Look up on the corner of Union Street and O’Meara Street, and you will see a white brick building with a great furrow gouged out of its facade, as if
  • ‘Everything beautiful has been destroyed’: Palestinians mourn a city in tatters

    ‘Everything beautiful has been destroyed’: Palestinians mourn a city in tatters
    More than 200 buildings of cultural and historical significance have been reduced to rubble in Gaza, including mosques, cemeteries and museumsIts walls collapsed and its minaret cut short, Gaza’s Omari mosque remains standing but vastly diminished. Around it, the historic old city is also in tatters. The 7th-century mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Gaza, was Gaza’s most famous and its surroundings a focal point of the Palestinian enclave’s history and culture, but the
  • ‘Time caught up with his visions’: Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s New Zealand legacy

    ‘Time caught up with his visions’: Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s New Zealand legacy
    A series of unfortunate events led to muted coverage of the architect’s eye-opening gallery in regional New Zealand. But 24 years after his death, Hundertwasser’s work is more prescient than everFrom a distance, the building looks like a toddler’s birthday cake: bright, clashing colours crowned by a golden cupola that sparkles in the sun. Up close, its curvaceous form, detailed tile work and joyful colour choices are instantly recognisable as the work of the late Friedensreich
  • Lovingly reconstructed miniatures of Tokyo houses – in pictures

    Lovingly reconstructed miniatures of Tokyo houses – in pictures
    The Swedish artist Christopher Robin Nordström had wanted to visit Tokyo since he was a child and, when he finally went in 2018, he loved it. “If you like Star Wars and Blade Runner, Tokyo is as close as you get,” he says, “but I was really struck by how small the city felt, especially the houses with not more than 40 sq metres of living space.” At the time he was looking for a “kitchen-table hobby”. So he decided to recreate Tokyo’s houses in intri
  • The Guardian view on crumbling churches: a social vocation can save them for the nation | Editorial

    The Guardian view on crumbling churches: a social vocation can save them for the nation | Editorial
    A vital part of Britain’s architectural heritage is at risk. But the future need not be one of terminal declineIn The Voices of Morebath, a groundbreaking study of the life of a 16th-century West Country parish, the eminent historian Prof Eamon Duffy vividly evokes the fundraising “ales” which helped pay for building upkeep in churches across the country.Home-brewed beer and music from travelling minstrels were frequently on offer at these raucous occasions, which were “a
  • ‘I’m devastated it’s closing’: London shoppers say farewell to Fenwick

    ‘I’m devastated it’s closing’: London shoppers say farewell to Fenwick
    Department store on New Bond Street, which opened in 1890s, closes its doors this weekendMore than 130 years after it opened, the London flagship Fenwick department store will close its doors for the last time on Saturday.The four-storey shop in New Bond Street, Mayfair, is shutting after the retailer – which is owned by more than 40 descendants of John James Fenwick, who founded the company with a single store in Newcastle in 1882 – sold the property to developers for £430m. C
  • A ‘vertical community’: Le Corbusier’s project at Marseille – archive, 2 Feb 1949

    A ‘vertical community’: Le Corbusier’s project at Marseille – archive, 2 Feb 1949
    2 February 1949: Cité Radieuse will be more like a town than an apartment building, says the Swiss-French architectIn France today, Le Corbusier, professionally speaking, is having the time of his life. His new housing project at Marseille has probably aroused more determined opposition than anything he has built, or tried to build before. He is not the man to shrink from public controversy, nor has he conceived his latest and, in some ways, his most daring designs in order to allay his c
  • Home truths: TV’s Kevin McCloud thinks Australia should stop building such big houses

    Home truths: TV’s Kevin McCloud thinks Australia should stop building such big houses
    The Grand Designs presenter on how the yimby mantra and infill development can solve the housing shortageKevin McCloud has a message for Australians – stop building such big houses.The nation’s love affair with large homes – especially unimaginative McMansions that defy their environmental surroundings – means size is coming at the expense of exciting architecture, affordable and well-built housing supply, and ultimately the liveability of our cities, the British host of
  • The £20m renovation of Rochdale town hall – in pictures

    The £20m renovation of Rochdale town hall – in pictures
    Rochdale town hall in Greater Manchester will open to the public on Sunday 3 March after a four-year renovation project. Some of the most dramatic changes were in the Great Hall, where specialists painstakingly restored the 350 panels that cover the room’s hammerbeam ceiling Continue reading...
  • ‘We just held hands and jumped!’ How one of Britain’s happiest, healthiest communes was built

    ‘We just held hands and jumped!’ How one of Britain’s happiest, healthiest communes was built
    It took 13 years of dreaming, peril and hard graft before the first residents moved into Cannock Mill – an eco-village that tackles both the climate crisis and loneliness‘Look at this – can you see what it is?” The architect Anne Thorne is showing me around Cannock Mill, the eco-village on the outskirts of Colchester, Essex, that she designed in collaboration with a group of her friends who had grown tired of London life. We are standing behind a terrace of terracotta and
  • Sex scenes and feasibility studies: architect and racy novelist Lesley Lokko wins RIBA gold medal

    The unstoppable Ghanaian Scot, who shook up the Venice Biennale with a focus on the scars of postcolonial Africa, has now made history by winning architecture’s prestigious award Among the names of mostly white men and a few women that have been carved into the marble walls of the Royal Institute of British Architects since 1848, this year will see a first. Lesley Lokko, a Ghanaian-Scottish architect and academic, has been announced as the winner of RIBA’s gold medal, becoming the fi
  • Look at this beautiful Japanese toilet and tell me – why is Britain so useless at public loos? | Alberte Lauridsen

    Our once vast network of civic lavatories has been abandoned or sold, leaving gaping holes in basic sanitary provisionAlberte Lauridsen is an architect and co-founder of the feminist architecture practice EditAs an architect, I often attend community consultation meetings to hear what members of the public feel that their neighbourhoods lack. One frustration is always bitterly clear: why are there no public toilets any more?There are few issues more emblematic of the deterioration of civic infra

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