city & bioregion

Museum mania in China

The Chinese government intends to build 1,000 new museums across the country by 2015.A scary piece by Elizabeth Casale in The Platform, an e-zine on cultural policy, says that with approximately 100 urban areas with a population of 1 million or more, China’s place-based cultural strategy favours buildings as a symbol of cultural sophistication over […]

Posted in city & bioregion | 1 Response

Human scale architecture

Architects frequently complain to me that the architectural models they make for competitions cost them tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make. That’s curious, because one-tenth scale model of a person standing can be purchased for 75 cents – far less than the $5 it costs to buy a model car at […]

Posted in city & bioregion | 1 Response

The post-spectacular city

(This is my lecture to a conference at Westergasfabriek, in Amsterdam, called Creativity and the City, on 25 September 2003) In Rajhastan, travelling storytellers go from village to village, unannounced, and simply start a performance when they arrive. Although each story has a familiar plot – the story telling tradition dates back thousands of years […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment

Chain gangs: reinventing the Hanseatic League

In which I talk to Winy Maas about the design of webs, networks and archipelagos of cities and regions. This story was published in July 2003 In Domus magazine. Sustainable cities, working cities, are necessarily complex, heavily linked, and diverse. As the English writer Will Hutton has commented, just as local knowledge and information was […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment

Chain gangs: reinventing the Hanseatic League

(In which John Thackara talks to Winy Maas about the design of webs, networks and archipelagos of cities and regions. This was published in July 2003 in Domus magazine) Sustainable cities, working cities, are necessarily complex, heavily linked, and diverse. As the English writer Will Hutton has commented, just as local knowledge and information was […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment

Trophy buildings are over

Three developments are putting an end to the boom in landmark buildings. The first is over-supply. This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale show-cased literally hundreds of large, glamorous buildings that will be built in the next few years. But, precisely because they are conceived as spectacles, these signature buildings have started to cancel each other out. […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment

Trophy buildings are over: French turn attention to arts de la rue

Bad news for aspiring Frank Gehrys: buildings conceived as spectacles soon turn into white elephants. Mayors around the world are looking for alternative ways to develop their locality – ways that do not involve spending vast sums of money on trophy buildings designed by brand-name architects. Three developments are putting an end to the boom […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment

Architecture and flow

An introduction to flow issues for the October 2002 issue of Archis, the main media partner of Doors for its conference. What happens to public space when there are hundreds of microchips for every man, woman and child on the planet – and when most of these chips talk to each other? What are the […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment

Real-time design in the “world as spread-sheet”

In which John Thackara talks to Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos of UN Studio in an interview and article for the October 2002 edition of Domus Magazine. For thousands of years, most buildings and products were designed for a single purpose – but our task is becoming more complicated. We are confronted by the […]

Posted in city & bioregion | Leave a comment