Author Archives: cosmopolitanscum

About cosmopolitanscum

Journalist, writer, commentator, blogging about architecture, urbanism and design from a humanist perspective.

First as Farce, then as Farce Again: Boris, the tower and the bridge.

This is a version of a Comment piece I wrote in Blueprint that must’ve been published in early 2010 about the design competition which led to the Arcelor Mittal Orbit and in which Boris Johnson, then mayor had a major … Continue reading

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REVIEW OF THE YEAR: 2016

Reviews of the year may seem arbitrary, particularly when it comes to architecture, which by its nature takes years to gestate before it is completed. Yet they have their uses. And not simply because they give harassed editors a no-brainer … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Limits of Europe, Urbanism | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Anarchy on Wall Street

On 16 September 1920, a wagonload containing 45 kilos of explosives and 230 kilos of lead weights placed outside the JP Morgan bank at 23 Wall Street in New York was detonated, killing 38 people and injuring many more. The … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Design, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Picking Holes In The Pritzker. Or You’re Aravena Laugh.

In his article announcing Alejandrao Aravena as the Pritzker winner Ed Heathcote suggests that handing the prize to the young Chilean architect offers hope to the architecture profession racked with self-doubt over its lack of purpose. “The award is a … Continue reading

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An interview I did with Christopher Lee in a different life.

Although he surely wouldn’t approve, it seems only right and proper to begin a Christopher Lee story with a Dracula anecdote. Actually, it is just over 25 years since Lee took the decision – as he puts it in his autobiography … Continue reading

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Architects: it isn’t always about you

The shortlisting of the architecture collective Assemble for the Turner Prize has been a surprise to most commentators in the architectural world. Largely because their story seems rather familiar. Here are a group of young trainee architects and their friends … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Art | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Some Very Shallow Observations Of The Milan Expo

I am currently writing an article which tries to answer the question what is an Expo for? following my recent trip to to Milan. And I’m realising, it is very hard to talk about the Expo from a completely objective … Continue reading

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The Dream of the 80s is Alive in Portland. Just.

A week before the death of Michael Graves, Portland City Council was locked in complex discussions in how to fund the refurbishment of his most famous work, The Portland Building. Home to a fair chunk of the city’s municipal administration, … Continue reading

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You’re The Only Star in Heaven

Jan Kaplicky’s drawings for NASA of the International Space Station are a triumph of that period in history in which our most expansive, ambitious infrastructure, the one that slipped the surly bonds of earth into space, was first conceived by … Continue reading

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Chipperfield is wrong about Berlin

It is tempting to see David Chipperfield’s eulogy to Berlin – in opposition to London and other cities – as sour grapes. The English architect is after all engaged in two particularly protracted protests from heritage groups regarding his plans for the … Continue reading

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