Mark’s House

“Mark’s House,” by the firm Two Islands, is the winning entry in the Flint, Michigan Flat Lot Competition. The architects’ submission included seductive renderings of the proposed design: a mirrored,…

Reading of Proposal for a Museum

What type of “reading” is appropriate for this type of image, encountered on the website Archive of Affinities, nearly devoid of context? Cursory formal analysis yields minimal results: a tower…

Objects and Subjects

Architecture, as a way of thinking, requires something outside of itself. It requires something to think about. The point is simple enough, though it seems that, because of the incessant…

On Crate Digging

“Crate diggers” are a peculiar species of modern consumer, endlessly and omnivorously searching for the obscure, the unusual, and the overlooked. They exhibit incredible patience, a keen eye, and an…

BIG Joke

With what framework can one evaluate the projects of Bjarke Ingels Group? They seem too casual, too whimsical for serious criticism. Their design process puts such great emphasis on the…

Interiors I (Nutcracker)

Most of the way down the chronologically ordered spiral of Choices, the John Chamberlain retrospective now on view at the Guggenheim, you might find yourself leaning against the white balustrade…

A Brief Theory of the Architectural B-side

An architectural B-side is, clearly, not an architectural hit. While an architectural B-side is surely architectural, its placement within the discipline may not be quite familiar or easily classified.  Such…

Stranger Than Fiction

“The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.” Blaise Pascal, Pensées An empty space can feel foreboding, unsettling. When a plaza, a space typically of the people, is found…

Architecture Will Make You Go Blind

Section. Sex-tion. Sex can be projected onto nearly anything, even (maybe especially) architecture. And this is not simply a product of perpetually having our minds in the gutter; often the…

Milstein Hall as ‘Miracle Box’

While Rem Koolhaas, in the essay “Junkspace,” compares contemporary architects’ understanding of the significance of modernism to “reading a footnote under a microscope hoping it [will] turn into a novel,”…

Estrangement

Perhaps more than any other transformation exerted by the computer, the immediate coordination of orthographic projections (plan, section, elevation, axonometric, etc.) has had the greatest effect on architecture. Building Information…

Architecture Untreated

Architecture is crazy. Not wild or awesome or amazing crazy, but I’m-afraid-to-introduce-you-to-my-mother, you’re-suffering-from-a-diagnosable-disorder crazy. As a discipline architecture has committed itself to engaging all-at-once with three-dimensional reality and two-dimensional abstraction…

Appearing Adaptable

Kenzo Tange’s metabolist icon, the Yamanashi Press and Broadcasting Building, stands tall in the low-lying valley town of Kofu, Japan. Unlike many metabolist projects that have struggled to adapt to changing…

Against Smoothness

This is not ‘Michael Bay Finally Made An Art Movie, Part Two.’ But once again, the technical virtuosity of Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon leaves us with something…

Mutations

Amidst the vast quantities of anonymous and unremarkable modernist architecture—especially large-scale housing—that are distributed throughout the twentieth-century city, there appear occasional exceptions, aberrations, and mutations that, despite the obscurity of…

Opaqueness

At least since Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky’s “Transparency” essays, for which a conspicuously unmentioned precedent can be found in Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, architects have understood that…