Calvin Po

Why architectural modernism was championed by the rulers and the ruled

My childhood in Hong Kong was shaped by a particular style of building: market halls with brise-soleils sheltering us from the glare; housing-block stairwells with perforated blockwork letting in dappled light and breeze; classrooms accessed from open-air decks, with clerestory windows cross-ventilating the stale, sticky air. In this sub-tropical ex-British colony, these features defined its

Max Jeffery, Lisa Haseldine, Christopher Howse, Philip Hensher and Calvin Po

43 min listen

This week: Max Jeffery writes from Blackpool where he says you can see the welfare crisis at its worst (01:29); Lisa Haseldine reads her interview with the wife of Vladimir Kara-Murza, whose husband is languishing in a Siberian jail (06:26); Christopher Howse tells us about the ancient synagogue under threat from developers (13:02); Philip Hensher

Will a new Labour government let architects reshape housing?

‘We make our buildings, and afterwards they make us,’ Winston Churchill said in 1924 in a speech to the Architectural Association. This was flattery of the highest order, designed to butter up the audience of budding architects and inflate their sense of how much power they had to shape society. It’s remarkable then, 100 years

Has all the charisma of Chernobyl: Manchester’s Aviva Studios reviewed

There is a (possibly apocryphal) story about William Morris, where he spends most of his time in Paris inside the Eiffel Tower’s restaurant because ‘that is the only place where you can’t see the damned thing’. Aviva Studios risks a similar fate. Designed by architects OMA as the permanent performance venue for the Manchester International

Stone is the solution to many of our architectural problems

The story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ is hammered into us all from an early age. But its moral lessons obscure its more literal advice about building: skimping on materials is a false economy. It’s a lesson learned too late for schools built with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac). Who would’ve predicted that concrete made

Policed conviviality: Serpentine Pavilion 2023 reviewed

As I sat down at this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, I overheard a curious exchange. ‘You mustn’t create art within art,’ said an invigilator frostily. He was telling off Fred Pilbrow, an architect, who had been taking in the Pavilion’s sociable atmosphere with friends and painting a watercolour of the scene. They proceeded to enter a