wed 24/04/2019

architecture

My Enemy's Cherry Tree: Wang Ting-Kuo review - a masterpiece from Taiwan

Early every evening, Miss Baixiu comes to sit in an isolated café. She is the daughter of Luo Yiming, the respected employee of a successful commercial bank in charge of loans throughout central Taiwan. As a rich man, an aesthete and a...

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Pitzhanger Manor review - letting the light back in

When in 1800 the architect Sir John Soane bought Pitzhanger Manor for £4,500, he did so under the spell of optimism, energy and hope. The son of a bricklayer, Soane had – through a combination of talent, hard work and luck – risen through...

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Fiona MacCarthy: Walter Gropius review - a master of modernism

The centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus (literally, “Building House”) art school is on us, prompting publications and exhibitions worldwide. Subtitled “Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus”, Fiona MacCarthy’s revelatory biography of the figure...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Columbus

The director of this deeply charming debut feature is the Korean-American film critic who writes under the pseudonym Kogonada; one of his principle interests over the years has been the great Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, and there’s something of...

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Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill review - a brave attempt to recreate an important collection

It took 24 days to sell off the 4,000 items which Horace Walpole had amassed during 50 years of avid collecting. He bought a modest property beside the Thames in Twickenham in 1749 and, by 1790, had extended and transformed it into a fairy tale...

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Elmgreen & Dragset, Whitechapel Gallery review – when is a door not a door ?

A whiff of chlorine hits you as you open the door of the Whitechapel Gallery. Its the smell of public baths, and inside is a derelict swimming pool with nothing in it but dead leaves and piles of brick dust. Damp walls, peeling paint and cracked...

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DVD: New Town Utopia

You come to Christopher Ian Smith’s New Town Utopia expecting a damning indictment of post-war British planning. But while there are melancholy moments, this is mostly an upbeat documentary. Smith manages, without the use of CGI, to make the much-...

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Katharine Kilalea: OK, Mr Field review - architecture and alienation on the Cape Town coast

Modern novels with an architectural theme have, to say the least, a mixed pedigree. At their finest, as in Thomas Bernhard’s Correction, the fluidity and ambiguity of prose fiction mitigates, even undermines, the obsessive planner’s or designer’s...

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The London Mastaba, Serpentine Galleries review - good news for ducks?

It’s not as immersive as New York’s The Gates, 2005, nor as magnificent as Floating Piers, 2016, in Italy’s Lake Iseo – it has also, according to Hyde Park regular Kay, “scared away the ducks,” – but superstar artist Christo’s...

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The New Royal Academy and Tacita Dean, Landscape review - a brave beginning to a new era

This weekend the Royal Academy (R.A) celebrates its 250th anniversary with the opening of 6 Burlington Gardens (main picture), duly refurbished for the occasion. When it was dirty the Palladian facade felt coldly overbearing, but cleaning it has...

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Civilisations, BBC Two review - no shocks from Schama

Lord Clark –  “of Civilisation”, as he was nicknamed, not necessarily affectionately – presented the 13 episodes of the eponymous series commissioned by David Attenborough for BBC Two in 1969; it was subtitled “A Personal View”, and encompassed...

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Roma Agrawal: Built review - solid love

"I've been known to stroke concrete," writes self-professed geek Roma Agrawal – and from the very beginning of her memoir-cum-introduction to structural engineering, Built, where she describes her awe as a toddler at the glass and steel canyon of...

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