• Jun 13, 2016

    Dungeness has a concentrated group of middle-class dwellings that face the sea. The shore is lined with colorful beach cabanas. Just a short walk from here are more single-family homes, the lighthouse, a playground, and the nuclear power stations, creating a sublime mash-up of styles and functions.

  • May 24, 2016

    Architect John Wood the Younger designed the Royal Crescent, which was built between 1767 and 1774; it was a very modern way of creating harmony with the design of a consistent sweeping façade that then let individuals create their own designs with the architect of their choice.

  • May 16, 2016

    The Dallas Museum of Art is the centerpiece of the city’s art district, and it laid the groundwork for what was to follow. Architect Edward Larrabee Barnes designed the building in the early 1980s, and, like Dallas itself, it’s big. One of its most striking components is a barrel-vault ceiling, added in 1993, that glows above the entrance.

  • Apr 29, 2016

    48 modern masters transformed a bombed-out Berlin neighborhood into a gleaming vision of post–World War II utopian life that remains an inspiring example for contemporary designers

  • Apr 25, 2016

    In 1937 the city of Aarhus, Denmark, declared a proposal by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller the winner of a competition to design its new city hall. Comprising three massing blocks and a clock tower, the structure is an exquisite example of regional modernism and a testament to two men’s passion for detail.

  • Mar 31, 2016

    Lake Como, the 56-square-mile, Y-shaped jewel in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, has been a summer destination since ancient Roman times, luring nobles, church leaders, politicians, and, lately, celebrities of every stripe.

  • Mar 10, 2016

    The Dan Flavin Art Institute is housed in a former fire station in Bridgehampton, New York, a few miles from where the artist once owned a home. Run by the Dia Art Foundation, the space hosts rotating exhibitions—past examples include shows of work by John Chamberlain and Carl Andre. On the second floor there is a permanent installation of neon pieces by Flavin, installed by the artist himself.

  • Feb 22, 2016

    Finnish architect Alvar Aalto created buildings that even in the darkest days of Scandinavian winter managed to celebrate light and nature and instill a sense of joy. A perfect example is his Finlandia Hall, a conference and event space located in the center of Helsinki

  • Feb 10, 2016

    Albert Frey is often described as one of the founding architects of Palm Springs, California, and indeed it would be hard to imagine the desert city without the numerous masterpieces he designed there over his long, productive career.

  • Jan 28, 2016

    Of all the styles of architecture that have emerged since the beginning of the 20th century, Brutalism may be one of the most divisive. This stark, concrete-centric offshoot of earlier forms of modernism became popular in England and the rest of Europe after World War II in part because it provided a sense of security in areas that had been devastated during bombings.

  • Jan 11, 2016

    Château de Malmaison, located a few miles west of Paris, was once home to Josephine and Napoléon Bonaparte, and, briefly, the seat of the French government. Josephine purchased the venerable property in 1799 while her husband was off fighting in Egypt.

  • Jan 1, 2016

    Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Louis Kahn's 1965 masterwork integrates architecture, landscape, and science.

  • Dec 22, 2015

    When I was a student, I was lucky enough to study abroad, and while I loved the experience, I could have never imagined back then how it would influence the rest of my life. Today, travel has become a vital part of my creative process—not to mention my understanding of other cultures and traditions. Seeing and photographing things firsthand and learning the history of places from the people who live there stimulates a deep curiosity—about art, music, theater, dance, and, of course, architecture.

  • Dec 14, 2015

    World-class architecture and cutting-edge fashion meet in the buildings that house top brands in Japan’s sprawling capital city

  • Nov 20, 2015

    Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus school in 1919 with the intent of reimagining the material world by integrating all of the arts. The guiding principle of combining, say, architecture, furniture, and typography with new technologies was, in his words, “that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.”

  • Oct 27, 2015

    Christ Church College in Oxford, England, was founded in 1546. Its campus has served as architectural inspiration for academic institutions around the world as well for sets for numerous films, including some of the Harry Potter series.

  • Oct 13, 2015

    Finnish architect Alvar Aalto scrapped his original design for the Vyborg Library when the site changed. The result, completed in 1935, is a bold masterpiece of international modernism.

  • Oct 7, 2015

    Situated close to the Hudson River and adjacent to High Line, New York City’s famous elevated railroad track turned park, the Whitney incorporates the vocabulary of ships and trains.

  • Aug 31, 2015

    Founded in 1703 by royal decree on river-crossed marshland that had recently been taken from the Swedes, St. Petersburg was a planned city from the start. Peter the Great intended it as Russia’s new European-facing capital: an all-season port that would be the envy of the modern world.

  • Jul 31, 2015

    Though small in size compared to other landmarks, the Laurentian Library in Florence represents a singular achievement by the artist and architect and a pivotal moment in building aesthetics. Constructed in the 1500s, the library comprises a reading room and vestibule built atop an existing structure at the church of San Lorenzo.

  • Jul 31, 2015

    There’s nothing subtle about Brighton, but it offers a delightful cross section of architectural styles whose popularity has waxed and waned over two centuries.

  • Jun 30, 2015

    A four-year renovation has restored Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House to its original splendor.

  • Jun 23, 2015

    Rosendal Palace, located on the island of Djurgården in central Stockholm, was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century by King Karl XIV Johan to serve as a retreat from life at the Royal Palace

  • May 31, 2015

    As the world turns its attention to Switzerland this week for Art Basel and Design Miami/Basel, I like to remind people that one of the great treats of the annual fairs is, in fact, Zurich. Located just an hour from Basel by train, this magical city is full of wonderful design and can serve as an inspiring home base for the shows or an exciting side trip.

  • May 26, 2015

    While developing the design for the Jewish Museum Berlin, architect Daniel Libeskind plotted the addresses of prominent Jewish and German citizens on a map of prewar Berlin and joined the points to form an “irrational and invisible matrix,” on which he based the geometry and shape of the building.

  • May 13, 2015

    The museum’s collection includes work by Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Donald Judd, Richard Serra, and many others set masterfully against the backdrop of the building and in intelligent relation to one another.

  • Apr 30, 2015

    The world has many great gardens, amusement parks, and theaters, but rarely are they located together in one enchanting place, and nowhere are they combined with such fine attention to history and design as at Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens.

  • Apr 16, 2015

    More than just a hotel, the Villa d’Este on Lake Como retains the spirit of a classic Italian villa and holds a special place in my heart. Its magical lakeside location is an ideal launching point for boat rides to famed places like Villa Carlotta and Villa Melzi and picturesque towns like Menaggio and Bellagio. As the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley once said, “This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty.”

  • Apr 7, 2015

    Otto Wagner’s Church of St. Leopold in Vienna is located at the center of a large medical complex, which Wagner designed at the turn of the 20th century. The church reflects historic changes in artistic, social, and scientific attitudes at the time.

  • Mar 31, 2015

    Lee F. Mindel visits the Gropius House and the Codman Residence—two iconic homes in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

  • Mar 17, 2015

    Musée Rodin is hardly the most sophisticated example of landscape design; it’s a simple axial layout with a water feature at the center. Nevertheless, the integration of main structure, outdoor architecture, sculpture, and plants could not be better—or better reflect the museum’s namesake.

  • Mar 5, 2015

    Alvar Aalto, famed architect designed several important public buildings here, including the Aalto Alvari Aquatic Center, which I visited on a recent trip to Scandinavia.

  • Feb 26, 2015

    On a recent visit to the Post Ranch Inn—a sublime resort perched 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California—I was lucky enough to experience sunshine, fog, and a much-needed rainstorm, all in a short period of time. Anywhere else, the latter two weather reports might have dampened the experience, but there, the unique topography and design morphed beautifully in the changing conditions.

  • Feb 20, 2015

    On a recent trip to San Francisco, I visited Alcatraz Island, which was once home to an infamous federal prison and is currently the site of a series of installations by Beijing-based artist Ai Weiwei. Ai, who has been forbidden to leave China since 2011, worked remotely with Cheryl Haines, executive director of San Francisco’s For-Site Foundation, an organization that specializes in promoting site-specific art.

  • Feb 13, 2015

    A few months ago, Margaret Russell and I toured the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson, Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorials. These are some of the most visited and photographed sites in Washington, D.C., but despite their familiarity, we found that each offered a surprising and unique architectural experience. And together, the buildings gave a thrilling glimpse of our nation’s history and ever-evolving sense of self.

  • Feb 5, 2015

    The Maritime Museum of Denmark, recently completed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) architects, is an important new structure that sits adjacent to—but mostly out of view of—Kronborg Castle at Helsingør, a 16th-century fortress in northeastern Denmark that served for centuries as tollbooth for a narrow stretch of sea separating Denmark from what is now Sweden.

  • Jan 26, 2015

    Jeremiah and I worked together many times since that call and have become close friends in the process. Seen from afar, his romantic compositions offer a cohesive whole, yet the secret to his genius is particularly visible when viewed up close.

  • Jan 9, 2015

    The influence of the École des Beaux-Arts extends across the globe. Here in the U.S., its graduates created many of our architectural icons, including the Boston Public Library, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, New York’s Grand Central Station, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to name a few.

  • Jan 9, 2015

    Mystery lives behind hedges. Especially in Palm Beach, Florida, where great walls of greenery veil, enhance, and protect some of the world’s most extravagant homes. But like all works of serious design, hedges also contribute to their surrounding environment, which is particularly true in this South Florida enclave, where immaculately tended box, cypress, and myriad other plants set unique scenes on individual streets and contribute a distinct feel to the town as a whole.

  • Dec 31, 2014

    At the start of a new year, Lee F. Mindel returns to the birthplace of American minimalism—Massachusetts’s Hancock Shaker Village.

  • Dec 29, 2014

    At the entry to Skogskyrkogården, the nondenominational cross (based on Cross on the Baltic Sea, 1815, by Caspar David Friedrich) creates a welcoming gateway to the grounds, just as it did for those arriving in the region a century ago. Members of all faiths were welcomed here—a revolutionary idea at the time—in the eternal hope that everyone can live in peace.

  • Dec 23, 2014

    The all-white structure north of Copenhagen makes remarkable use of Scandinavia’s flood of sun during summer months and the seeming perpetual dusk that settles in this time of year. Natural light permeates the building through clerestory windows, glass-lined courtyards, and ubiquitous skylights, and its presence is such that the architectural experience depends on the time of day and year one visits.

  • Dec 9, 2014

    A visit to the White House is always an exciting experience, but it’s especially wonderful this time of year when the country’s most famous residence is decked for holidays. Earlier this month I joined Margaret Russell at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the Kennedy Center Honors, an annual national celebration of the arts, which was preceded by a reception at the White House.

  • Dec 3, 2014

    As Miami Beach welcomes art and design buffs in town for Art Basel this week—and prepares for its centennial celebrations next year—I thought it would be interesting to revisit some of the noteworthy buildings and landmarks that make this such a unique destination. And who better to tour the city with than artist Michele Oka Doner and Wolfsonian Museum founder Micky Wolfson. Doner and Wolfson—their fathers were each mayors of Miami Beach —coauthored a magical book about the city, Miami Beach: Blueprint of an Eden and joined me recently for some architectural sightseeing.

  • Dec 1, 2014

    I visited Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, where one year ago the new Renzo Piano Pavilion was unveiled. Rather than adding onto an iconic structure, Piano designed a separate building, creating a fascinating dialogue between past and present.

  • Nov 18, 2014

    The Glass House, the transparent home Philip Johnson famously built for himself in 1949, has become such an icon of midcentury design that it can sometimes eclipse the architect’s manifold other accomplishments. I was reminded of this at a recent celebration of the 65th anniversary of the New Canaan, Connecticut, property hosted by the Glass House director Henry Urbach.

  • Nov 11, 2014

    Luxembourg Garden has a mix of features, including French- and English-style layouts, fountains, and over 100 statues. It has appeared in plays, paintings, and novels, including Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, John Singer Sargent’s In the Luxembourg Gardens, and William Faulkner’s Sanctuary. Although it is famous for its spring flowers and a pond where children sail model wood boats in the summer, I have come to appreciate how beautiful—and dramatically different—the park is throughout the year.

  • Nov 5, 2014

    On a recent trip to London, I visited the Royal Institute of British Architects on London’s Portland Place. It is home to one of the world’s most impressive architectural collections, comprising more than four million items, including drawings, models, photographs, books, periodicals, and much more.

  • Oct 28, 2014
    Oct 28, 2014
    The Last Ship

    One of the most striking things about 16-time Grammy winner Sting’s dazzling new musical, The Last Ship, is the role that the set and lighting effects play in telling the story about the end of the shipbuilding era in Wallsend, England, a working-class community near Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Sting’s hometown).

  • Oct 23, 2014

    I recently toured the island with Leslie Koch, president of the Trust for Governors Island, which runs the island for the city, and West 8 cofounder Adriaan Geuze, who guided me through an architectural environment that’s in the midst of a remarkable transformation.

  • Sep 30, 2014

    Completed around a.d. 125, under Emperor Hadrian, the Pantheon was an extraordinary feat of architecture for its time, and nearly 2,000 years later it remains one of the world’s most important structures. A tour de force of engineering, the building was constructed using progressively lighter materials, with travertine at the base, unreinforced concrete for the coffered dome, and a lightweight pumice mixture at the top.

  • Sep 24, 2014

    The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which turns 40 this week, holds a special place for me. It was designed by the late Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where I had my first job and where I spent many formative hours studying the work of this master architect.

  • Sep 11, 2014

    In 1866 Robert Morris Copeland was commissioned to design one of America’s first planned residential communities, the town of Cottage City on Martha’s Vineyard. Renamed Oak Bluffs in 1907, the village was a popular Methodist retreat in the 1800s, playing host to open-air prayer meetings held in a central campground.

  • Aug 31, 2014

    I have long been fascinated by the variety of architectural styles and movements that make up Princeton University’s 268-year-old campus. It is one of America’s oldest and most storied educational institutions, yet it has a surprisingly eclectic collection of nontraditional contemporary buildings.

  • Aug 20, 2014

    East Hampton’s Most Holy Trinity Parish Catholic church began in a late-17th-century two-story wagon shop on Buell Lane. Now it boasts a new building that embraces its lush grounds, framing views with such features as a large fanlight in its porte cochere and an open sunburst within the gabled street façade.

  • Aug 4, 2014

    The magnificent Stockholm City Library's brick structure was the first library in the Nordic country to use the new open-shelf system, in which visitors could access books without having to ask a librarian for assistance. Fittingly, the structure was a new type of civic building for the city, a utilitarian and inviting paean to the idea that information should be shared by all.

  • Aug 4, 2014

    Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s Your Rainbow Panorama is a 500-foot-long, ten-foot-wide circular walkway that rests, halolike, on top of Denmark’s ARoS Aarhus Art Museum. Its geometric shape complements the interior of the ten-story building, designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen, and its rainbow-hued glass walls add a remarkable splash of color to the city of Aarhus’ skyline.

  • Jul 25, 2014

    Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s Your Rainbow Panorama is a 500-foot-long, ten-foot-wide circular walkway that rests, halolike, on top of Denmark’s ARoS Aarhus Art Museum. Its geometric shape complements the interior of the ten-story building, designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen, and its rainbow-hued glass walls add a remarkable splash of color to the city of Aarhus’ skyline.

  • Jul 18, 2014
    Jul 18, 2014
    Dumbarton Oaks

    Like so many great gardens, Dumbarton was a work in progress throughout the Blisses’ ownership and continues to evolve nearly a century later. For an installation called Cloud Terrace, for example, the design firm Cao Perrot Studio has created a mesh cloud of over 10,000 Swarovski crystals set above a reflecting pool. Farrand would have been impressed.

  • Jul 9, 2014

    Shaker Village reached its peak of 300 residents in the 1840s, but by the turn of the century, its population had declined (as was the case at many other Shaker outposts) to around 50. In 1960 it was transformed into a museum.

  • Jun 30, 2014

    In his early career, the artist Sol LeWitt’s (1928–2007) body of work comprised drawings confined to framed canvases, but in 1968 the wall became his canvas. He pursued compositions, which were architectural in nature and executed by painters, draftsmen, and technicians.

  • Jun 19, 2014

    The Vitra Campus is a treasure trove of buildings and grounds designed by leading architects. It was created after a 1981 fire destroyed the furniture manufacturer’s original facilities. Vitra’s visionary chairman, Rolf Fehlbaum, commissioned a Who’s Who of talent, including several Pritzker Prize and Royal Institute of British Architects Award winners, to conceive new manufacturing spaces, ceremonial halls, retail and trade showrooms, storage facilities, a museum, and more.

  • Jun 12, 2014

    Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint was commissioned to design and build a church to be named in honor of Danish pastor and scholar N. F. S. Grundtvig. Construction began after World War I, and while the first inauguration of Grundtvig’s Church in Copenhagen was in 1927, final construction was not completed until 1940 and interior renovations until the 1960s.

  • Jun 6, 2014

    On a recent trip to the West Coast, with a connecting flight in Lambert–St. Louis International Airport (designed by World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki), I couldn’t get that old song “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis” out of my head. Written in 1904 to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, the tune was later made famous in a 1944 Judy Garland film of the same name.

  • May 29, 2014

    Richard Meier, Pritzker Architecture Prize winner and master of light and space, has created a treasure for those who care about drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, and, of course, architecture. The Richard Meier Model Museum, which opened earlier this year at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey, is home to hundreds of models and drawings of some of Meier’s most famous structures, as well as numerous other objects of art and design.

  • May 16, 2014

    The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), for example, has seen six major renovations since it was founded in 1900; the latest, by Frank Gehry, was completed in 2008. The gallery was Toronto-born Gehry’s first Canadian commission, and his challenge was to create a unique collage from disparate existing spaces, some of which dated from the original expansion in the 1920s

  • Apr 16, 2014

    Standing in front of London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea, it is impossible not to marvel at how clearly and beautifully architecture can convey complex social and moral issues. Commissioned in 1681 by Charles II, and designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the hospital addressed a pressing national issue: Where should England’s neediest veterans, those “broken by age or war,” live when they couldn’t fight anymore?

  • Mar 27, 2014

    The great Otto Wagner may in fact be the father of modernism in architecture. Born in Vienna in 1841, he spent his life in a variety of roles, including teacher, student, urban planner, architect, and, most essentially, designer of complete environments. One simply has to look at a few of his built works to see the trajectory of what we consider “modern,” or to his book, Modern Architecture. A battle cry against the 19th-century habit of employing previous historical styles, the book deftly states, “We do not walk around in the costume of Louis XIV.”

  • Mar 12, 2014

    Designed by the late Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, the school officially opened in 1962 and was one of the first at Oxford to admit women (in 1974). St. Catherine’s distinguishes itself from other Oxford colleges with its open-plan quads, consistent use of modernist architectural vernacular, integrated landscape plan, and unique interiors.

  • Feb 26, 2014

    Rio de Janeiro becomes the epicenter of the celebrations going on throughout the country. Soon it will play host to events for the entire world: this year's World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. But Rio is so much more than a one-note samba for celebration—the city and its environs are chock-full of great buildings, parks, promenades, restaurants, museums, and beaches, all imbued with a sense of joy and sensuality.

  • Feb 14, 2014

    Having visited the The Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in both winter and summer, I was hoping that my most recent midwinter trip would enable me to see the sun shining while it snowed, and that I could truly appreciate the magical way the building transitions in appearance from daytime through dusk and evening.

  • Feb 6, 2014

    Designed by the master architect Gyo Obata, the St. Louis Priory Chapel, in Creve Coeur, Missouri, is one of America's greatest hidden treasures. Its distinctive flower-shaped reinforced-concrete shell was devised by the famed engineering firm Weidlinger Associates and comprises three symmetrical tiers of whitewashed concrete arches filled with a translucent fiberglass material known as Kalwall. Though it was completed in 1962, the building and its furnishings and appointments continue to thrive.

  • Jan 17, 2014

    Paris, everyone knows, is home to some of the world’s finest museums—the Louvre, the Palais de Tokyo, the Musée Picasso Paris, and the Centre Georges Pompidou being just a few. But perhaps the City of Light’s most intimate and haunting collection resides at the Musée Nissim de Camondo.

  • Jan 9, 2014

    Saint Barthélemy, my annual winter respite, is my favorite of the Caribbean islands. Its beautiful landscape and coastline are matched only by its fascinating history. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, St. Barts was invaded by Carib Indians, colonized by French sailors in 1763, sold to Sweden by King Louis XVI, and then reacquired by France in 1946. The island finally gained its independence in 2007, though it remains an “overseas collectivity” of l’Hexagone.

  • Dec 31, 2013

    Lee F. Mindel revisits the Danish embassy in Washington, D.C.

  • Dec 27, 2013

    In the old City of London, now the financial district, the arcades are of a distinctly different character. You won’t find any luxury boutiques at Smithfield Market, a meat and poultry market created by an act of Parliament in 1866. Founded in the 14th century, it’s one of the country’s oldest markets, ironically framing the view of the Sir Richard Rogers–designed Lloyd’s of London building, one of the city’s great modern treasures.

  • Dec 16, 2013

    I travel a great deal, and two cities that have become like second (and third) homes are London and Paris. I love them both, at all times of the year, and I especially love their Ferris wheels. The London Eye and La Grande Roue de Paris were actually intended to be temporary structures, but they have both become permanent and magical fixtures in their respective cities.

  • Dec 10, 2013

    The Pollock-Krasner homestead comprises a small, modest house, built in 1879, and a barn studio, set on one and a half acres overlooking Accabonac Creek. Around this time Pollock struggled with recurring bouts of depression and alcoholism, but at the house he had a two-year period of sobriety, during which he created some of his most memorable masterpieces.

  • Dec 4, 2013

    As the art and design elite flock to Miami this week, Lee F. Mindel revisits two landmarks that helped create the city’s resort style.

  • Nov 22, 2013

    Italian architect Renzo Piano has made what is perhaps the most remarkable piano nobile yet at his masterpiece in London, the Shard. But instead of being on the ground floor, it’s at the very top of the tallest building in the European Union.

  • Nov 13, 2013

    Frank Lloyd Wright traveled to Chicago in search of employment in 1887, a time when the midwestern capital had emerged from the devastating fire of 1871 as a once-again bustling metropolis. Wright would go on to become the impossibly prolific leader of the Prairie School: He completed more than 1,100 designs, nearly half of which were built, and a number of his masterworks were set in and around the Windy City.

  • Nov 3, 2013

    The Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens annually commissions a temporary structure on its lawn to showcase the work of an internationally acclaimed architect. The first pavilion, in 2000, was designed by Zaha Hadid—somewhat ironic given that Hadid’s latest design happens to sit just across the Serpentine River.

  • Oct 31, 2013

    Designed by the prominent Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, the University of Pennsylvania's library—today called the Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library—is considered one of the great 19th-century American buildings.

  • Oct 22, 2013

    The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, was the brainchild of Chicago natives Elizabeth and Walter Paepcke as an ideal gathering place in the picturesque Colorado landscape for thinkers, leaders, artists, and musicians to converge.

  • Oct 16, 2013
    Oct 16, 2013
    Autumn in Aspen

    Soon after my most recent post, I found myself back in Aspen, mesmerized all over again by the transformative power of autumn’s colors. On this visit, a mental connection occurred when I was reminded of the landscape paintings of the late Neil Welliver, a disciple of Josef Albers and one of my professors at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Welliver taught his students how to see—both in color and in black and white.

  • Oct 4, 2013

    Although I have never been an official vacationer in Aspen, my profession as an architect has brought me to the Colorado town for projects in summer, fall, winter, and spring. As an obsessive amateur photographer of people and places that move me, I found myself taking the same pictures of Aspen in autumn year after year

  • Sep 25, 2013

    Renzo Piano’s 1997 Fondation Beyeler museum in Basel, Switzerland, and Oscar Niemeyer’s 1970 Itamaraty Palace, which houses Brazil’s Ministry of External Relations in the capital city of Brasília, share similar architectural foundations. And by that I mean the methods by which the two structures, literally, hit the ground.

  • Sep 11, 2013

    As a new school year begins, I can't help but think of Copenhagen’s School by the Sound (Skolen ved Sundet), designed by the great Danish architect Kaj Gottlob. Built in the late 1930s, the progressive elementary school stands and operates today as it did then.

  • Sep 4, 2013

    The hedge, that most common staple of landscape design, has been around for almost 4,000 years, when it was first used for the same reasons it is still used today—to divide properties, provide protection from the wind, and create privacy.

  • Aug 26, 2013

    The London Bridge we all know from the nursery rhyme was originally a timber structure built, and subsequently rebuilt many times, by the city’s Roman founders as the sole crossing over the River Thames. It was replaced in medieval times and again in the 19th century as methods of construction changed.

  • Aug 16, 2013

    Having studied the architectural drawings and models of the French architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, I often wondered how such monumental works would translate into reality. While at Art Basel in Switzerland, I learned that one of Ledoux’s most significant projects, the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans, was just a two-hour drive into eastern France, so off I went.

  • Aug 9, 2013

    In 1945, Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a Chicago nephrologist, commissioned the German-American architect to build a 1,400-square-foot, one-room retreat on a 60-acre plot in Plano, Illinois. Completed in 1951, the home was eventually designated a National Historic Landmark and is currently operated as a house museum open to the public.

  • Jul 30, 2013

    With all the well-deserved attention Le Corbusier’s work has recently received, I was compelled to revisit the master’s masterpiece, Notre Dame du Haut, a few weeks ago. Commonly referred to as Ronchamp for the French town it resides in, this remarkable chapel, built in 1954, continues to inform my own work and is well worth a pilgrimage.

  • Jun 26, 2013

    Nestled in the woods in southwestern Finland is the Alvar Aalto–designed Paimio Sanatorium, to me one of the most impressive buildings of the 20th century. Completed in 1933, the former tuberculosis sanatorium is a work of both art and science. It’s a cathedral to health and an instrument for healing

  • May 31, 2013

    On the eve of MoMA’s most expansive exhibit ever on the legendary architect, Lee F. Mindel visits one of the his lesser-known masterpieces—his family residence in Switzerland.

  • May 13, 2013

    As a young architecture student immersed in my studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, I was perhaps unable to fully grasp the importance of my education. Or my surroundings. Last week, fellow architect and Harvard alum Reed Morrison and I revisited the campuses of Harvard—the hallowed halls, haunts, common areas, and new structures reminding us why we had matriculated there in the first place.

  • Apr 22, 2013

    Organized around a wide central avenue called the Monumental Axis and a massive vehicular loop, the plans included apartment blocks, recreational facilities, a business district, schools, hospitals, and places of worship, all culminating in Niemeyer’s iconic National Congress building. Looking at the audacious designs today is a fascinating rewind into the future. It’s a day trip not to be missed the next time you’re in São Paulo or Rio.

  • Apr 12, 2013

    My photo essay on the springtime joys of the City of Light

  • Apr 1, 2013

    Born in Naples in 1928, Rizzo was a photographer, furniture designer, raconteur, and icon. Through his camera lens he documented the last half of the 20th century in a way no one else could. Rizzo’s magical ability to tell a story with an image resulted in commissions to photograph towering political figures, including Churchill, and to document seminal historical moments such as the Nuremberg trials.

  • Mar 15, 2013

    As the announcement of a new pope emerged from the Vatican, I was reminded of a recent trek through St. Peter’s in search of the Sistine Chapel. Access to Michelangelo’s masterful ceiling frescoes is through the Vatican’s double-helix staircase, which was completed in 1932 by Italian architect Giuseppe Momo. The ramp’s apogee is a radiant, organic-shaped glass oculus—nearly identical, it occurred to me, to that of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York.