Frank Lloyd Wright

Is Thomas Heatherwick the best person to preach about modern architecture?

It needs a big personality to answer a big question: why is so much new building so very bad; why are our cities so ugly? Thomas Heatherwick is that big personality. He is the Jamie Oliver of architecture and design: personable, blokeish, smart, tele-genic, extremely successful, nearly demented with ambition, and, one suspects, inclined to petulance if crossed. He is a visionary with several blind spots. To extend the Oliver comparison, there are times when Heatherwick serves up a delicious dish with his thumbs stuck in the bowl. His flair comes with flaws. As a designer, his Boris Bus for London was charming, but functional problems led to its withdrawal

Click bait: confessions of a Lego addict

The empire of Lego has many dominions and protectorates, with every year, it seems, new territories to conquer. There are theme parks; there are films of excruciatingly ironic sophistication; there are competitions to make bizarre tableaux that grip nations; there are highly controlled TV documentaries about life at the heart of Lego in Denmark. I don’t feel my life will be complete until I’ve spent a week constructing Hagia Sophia out of plastic bricks It is an astonishingly powerful brand and its growth has been extraordinary to watch. Many years ago, it was just one building toy among many, like Meccano or Fischer Technik. Now, it is supreme. Some tremors

Architecture for all occasions

Architecture is a public art, but public intellectuals tend to engage with more abstract stuff. The style-wars ructions excited by our new King nearly 40 years ago have been settled by gravity, but intelligent discussion about what makes a great building is still a rarity, especially in the Ministry of Levelling Up, where there is muddle. On the one hand, ‘generic’ is anathematised; on the other, ‘design codes’ and building regulations which stifle the original thinking necessary to good design are encouraged. Perhaps the Ministry should put in a therapeutic bulk order for Hugh Pearman’s About Architecture. ‘If these be the times, then this must be the man,’ as Andrew