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Architecture

Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch

You want a glitzy new cultural centre in Backofbeyondistan? Don’t call Shigeru Ban

Architecture

Shigeru Ban is the celebrated architect who refuses to become a celebrity. Thus, at 57, his career has run opposite to the dominant trend in the profession. For a generation there has been a star system in architecture, as tacky… Read more

Louisa May Alcott, Orchard House

Bare and authentic or full and fake? The dilemma of preserving writers' houses

Architecture

Every year, tens of thousands of visitors flock to the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, in order to see where he lived and wrote. Many famous writers’ homes are preserved for visitors, some of whom are devoted readers (and… Read more

Renaissance view of the Ideal City: detail from a painting attributed to Francesco Giorgio Martini

Dear Simon Jenkins, please stop moaning about developers

Architecture

When architectural preservationists meet at the tedious conferences and grim councils of despair that feed oxygen to their nihilistic and unventilated ‘heritage’ world-view, the word ‘developer’ is spat out with contempt. It is as though they are speaking of Satan… Read more

Terminal 4, Barajas Airport, Madrid, 1997–2005, designed by Richard Rogers Partnership

Is Richard Rogers still a rebel?

Architecture

‘Lounge suit’ is normally a reliable signifier of supine gentility. But there it was on the invitation to Richard Rogers’s 80th birthday retrospective. Can this be the same architect once praised by a president of RIBA for his admirable ‘sod… Read more

La Maison Blanche: the house Le Corbusier built as a present for his parents

Le Corbusier was ashamed of the house he built

Architecture

On the outskirts of La Chaux-de-Fonds, an industrial town in the Swiss Jura, stands one of the most beautiful houses I’ve seen. Elegant and understated, La Maison Blanche is the kind of house you dream of living in. Wide windows… Read more

Detmar Blow’s painting of the east end of the chapel at King’s College, Cambridge, showing his reredos and panelling

Why Rubens should go

Architecture

The Blow family has had its disasters. There has been madness, murder and suicides. But before those mishaps there was a good man, my grandfather Detmar Blow. In the 1900s he was at his height as a young architect. His… Read more

Burghley House in Lincolnshire provides an Ancestors in the Attic audiovisual introduction to the house

Fact and fantasy

Architecture

Britain’s country houses were constantly in the news a generation ago. In 1974 The Destruction of the Country House, an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum curated by Roy Strong, Marcus Binney and John Harris, offered a dismal chronicle… Read more

Gilbert Scott’s Battersea Power Station, about to be transformed into a hotel, flats, offices and entertainment area

Building on the past

Architecture

London was an industrial city until remarkably recently. It seems extraordinary now, but Bankside Power Station was built in 1947, by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, to burn oil right on the banks of the Thames, opposite St Paul’s. What’s more,… Read more

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The art of architecture

Architecture

Leighton House, studio-home of Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830–96), is one of my favourite museums, and always a treat to visit. Leighton House, studio-home of Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830–96), is one of my favourite museums, and always a treat to visit.… Read more