• Architecture
  • Robinson Redux

    In Milan, down a side street I first became acquainted with architect and philosopher Sarah Robinson in 2012 when I came across her book Nesting at one of my favorite bookstores in San Francisco. After falling under the spell of Juhani Pallasmaa‘s extraordinary book, The Eyes of the Skin, I sensed immediately that Robinson was […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Ada Louise: Fierce Grace

    Ada Louise Huxtable photographed in the 1960s (Photo: Landmarks45.org) During my coming of age as an artist, Ada Louise Huxtable‘s architectural criticism informed so many of my ideas about buildings, cities, preservation, city life, aesthetics. One of the first books I read after moving to Manhattan in the early 70s was Will They Ever Finish […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Sagrada Familia

    The first time I went to Barcelona, Franco was still in power. Catalan, like the rest of Spain, was cautious and dark, well aware of the harsh boot of his repressive regime. That was 1970. My photos from that visit are buried in a box somewhere in my basement, but I remember making a pilgrimage […]

  • Aesthetics
  • The Lure of the Minimal

    John Pawson’s monastery in Bohemia The gap that exists between theory and practice is a challenge in so many pursuits, and Minimalist architecture is just one that struggles with that perennial problem. In 1908, Adolf Loos wrote a memorable essay, “Ornament and Crime,” that advocated for a more streamlined aesthetic. And yet to create that […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Cultural Dreamings

    Hans Hollein, fa├žade from Strada Novissima, The Presence of the Past, 1980. Biennale of Architecture, Venice. From the show at the Victoria & Albert Museum Reviewing a new show of architecture at the Victoria & Albert museum, Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, Guardian writer Hari Kunzru describes a movement that has its roots in the theoretical […]

  • Architecture
  • Zumthor: Essentialist of the Sensual

    The Therme Vals, by Peter Zumthor (Photo: ArchNow!) Michael Kimmelman’s New York Times piece about the architect Peter Zumthor is full of nuggets worth keeping on hand, easily accessible. I first began paying attention to Zumthor after visiting his Kolumba museum in Cologne. It was such an unexpected blend of old and new (Zumthor incorporated […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Passion Distilled: James Magee

    View of The Hill, James Magee’s masterwork in west Texas I finally received my copy of James Magee, The Hill, by Richard R. Brettell and Jed Morse. This publication accompanies a show of Magee’s work currently on exhibit at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas through November 28. The Hill is hard to describe. Yes, […]

  • Beauty
  • Architecture and Beauty, Redux

    At an outdoor temporary pavilion in the main parking lot at the Southern California Institute of Architecture are fellow architects Peter Cook, Hernan Diaz Alonso, Eric Owen Moss and Greg Lynn, where Moss is director. (Rafael Sampaio Rocha / September 26, 2010) I have had Architecture and Beauty: Conversations with Architects about a Troubled Relationship […]