city & bioregion

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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Architecture, spectacle, performance

A chapter for the catalogue of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2002, edited by Deyan Sudjic (who was also overall Director of the event). A few years ago I met a woman in Bombay who was completing her PhD in social anthropology. She had just returned from her last field trip to Rajhastan where she had […]

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Nine surprising new job titles for facilities managers

Summary of a lecture to an international meeting of Facility Managers in 1999. How are we to design modern space? saturated with information and systems; complex but incomprehensible; an exhilarating human achievement, and a terrifying prospect, at the same time. Management of work environments, in particular, is moving centre-stage in discussions about innovation, learning, and […]

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Tokyo: Begin The Next

In 1990, Japan was at the height of its ‘bubble economy’. It popped, spectacularly, two years later.  In Tokyo, cement trucks sport the slogan, ‘Begin The Next’. Buy sellotape at the cornershop, and the bag carries a slogan: ‘Perhaps We Are At The Beginning Of A New Renaissance’. Ride Honda’s new Dio motorcycle and an entire […]

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