08 Jul 2012
The Shard

Renzo Piano’s Shard in London. Not bad, but NOT a ‘vertical city’.

Renzo Piano’s Shard in London. Not bad, but NOT a ‘vertical city’.

The Shard. It’s a very tall building in London. Also outside London, on a clear day, given the distance from which you can see it. …

 
18 Mar 2012
Kings Cross reinvented

Vaulting Ambition: the £547 million King’s Cross station concourse.

Vaulting Ambition: the £547 million King’s Cross station concourse.

What do they call those foam-plastic latticework socks they slip over your bottles of booze at airport duty-frees? Do they even have a name? Well, …

 
15 Jan 2012
Alain de Botton's boathouse

Le Roi des Belges: the boat that’s a house on top of a London concert hall.

Le Roi des Belges: the boat that’s a house on top of a London concert hall.

Oh, you think. This is a dream, right? You’ve gone up in a lift and there, at the top, at the end of a snaking …

 
25 Nov 2011
Koolhaas's Rothschild HQ

High tea at Rothschild’s: OMA and the dynastic bank.

High tea at Rothschild’s: OMA and the dynastic bank.

I was late, very late, but that was good. The press tour round OMA’s new headquarters for merchant bank N.M. Rothschild in the financial heart …

 
11 Jul 2011
Larkin: builder poet

“After this it will be all Danish butter-factories”: Philip Larkin and the architects.

“After this it will be all Danish butter-factories”: Philip Larkin and the architects.

Philip Larkin, who with his small output of determinedly unshowy, unmodernist and intensely evocative verse became the pre-eminent poet of post-war England, was the University …

 
26 Jun 2011
Zaha on Clyde

Zaha on Clyde: and the new wave of British regional museums.

Zaha on Clyde: and the new wave of British regional museums.

Any new building by Zaha Hadid, the best-known and most successful female architect in history, is an event. I even went to Cincinnati once to …

 
22 May 2011
Chipperfield's English art museums

The straight and the skewed: Chipperfield’s two new English art museums.

The straight and the skewed: Chipperfield’s two new English art museums.

This is a rare opportunity to compare and contrast two new buildings of the same typology in the same country (north and south), by the …

 
13 Mar 2011
Scott's St. Pancras Hotel restored

The saintly and the sybaritic: restoring London’s astonishing St. Pancras hotel.

The saintly and the sybaritic: restoring London’s astonishing St. Pancras hotel.

Some buildings are more than mere buildings. They are symbols of something else. Consider the Sydney Opera House. Not great for opera, I’m told, but …

 
20 Feb 2011
Hopkins' 2012 Olympic velodrome

Skintight architecture: the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome

Skintight architecture: the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome

Back in July 2005, when London won the 2012 Olympics, I was more than a little sceptical. Much better for our nearest rival Paris to …

 
16 Jan 2011
Modern British Sculpture

Absent friends: “Modern British Sculpture” at the Royal Academy, London.

Absent friends: “Modern British Sculpture” at the Royal Academy, London.

The whole of modern British sculpture in one show? Even by the standards of Royal Academy blockbusters, that is an ambitious task. Especially as …

 
01 Dec 2010
Stirling's lost utopia

The naked and the demolished: the scandalous tale of James Stirling’s lost Utopia.

The naked and the demolished: the scandalous tale of James Stirling’s lost Utopia.

In July 1981, in the offices of the British architecture newspaper Building Design, I received a letter from James Stirling. It enclosed a clipping from …