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Jonathan Glancey: The Latest Architecture and News

Playful Animation Tells the Story of Humankind’s Quest for a Perfect City

08:00 - 18 November, 2017

Cities are universes in themselves; furiously spawning, spewing, hissing through time and space. They are cudgeled, raked, plastered, worshipped, fought over, set on fire; they are slippery wombs that cradle wars, victories, blood and brilliant storms. The built environment has always been indicative of its inhabitants’ fears, desires, and ideals. As such, it is one of the earliest, most powerful forms of human expression. For World Cities Day 2017, the new BBC Designed section of the BBC Culture website commissioned motion graphics designer Al Boardman to create The Perfect City, an animated video covering a brief history of humankind’s quest for the "ideal" and the "perfect" in urban design. With a voiceover and script by renowned architecture critic and writer Jonathan Glancey, the video is a remarkable 2-minute overview of some prominent examples in city planning, both old and new, successful and unsuccessful.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater: Keepsake or Liability?

04:00 - 10 March, 2017
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater: Keepsake or Liability?, H. Mark Weidman Photography/Alamy. Image Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing
H. Mark Weidman Photography/Alamy. Image Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing

Asked for his occupation in a court of law, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) replied ‘The world’s greatest architect’. His wife remonstrated with him. ‘I had no choice, Olgivanna’, he told her, ‘I was under oath.’

The Unbuilt Nazi Pantheon: Unpacking Albert Speer's "Volkshalle"

04:00 - 8 March, 2017
The Unbuilt Nazi Pantheon: Unpacking Albert Speer's "Volkshalle", Ullstein Bild/Getty Images. Image Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing
Ullstein Bild/Getty Images. Image Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing

According to Albert Speer, Hitler’s ambitious architect and all-too-capable Minister of Armaments and War Production, the final performance by the Berlin Philharmonic before this distinguished orchestra abandoned Berlin in May 1945 opened with Brünnhilde’s last aria—the vengeful valkyrie sings of setting fire to Valhalla—and the finale from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung.

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane: Madness or Masterpiece?

12:00 - 6 March, 2017
San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane: Madness or Masterpiece? , Adam Eastland/Alamy. Image Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing
Adam Eastland/Alamy. Image Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing

A wayward force of the High Renaissance, Baroque was broken in by Michelangelo in Rome in the sixteenth century before being given full rein by Bernini and Borromini in the seventeenth. Characterized by curves, domes, broken pediments and a gloriously inventive play on classical detailing, at its theatrical zenith it was thrilling architectural opera – far from the chaste and graceful classicism that both preceded it and ousted it in the eighteenth century. Deeply romantic, it also had something of the subversive about it.

What's So Great About the Eiffel Tower? 70 Questions That Will Change the Way You Think about Architecture

11:15 - 6 March, 2017
What's So Great About the Eiffel Tower? 70 Questions That Will Change the Way You Think about Architecture, 'What's so Great About the Eiffel Tower?'
'What's so Great About the Eiffel Tower?'

Description via Amazon. Why do we find the idea of a multi-colored Parthenon so shocking today? Why was the Eiffel Tower such a target for hatred when it was first built? Is the Sagrada Família a work of genius or kitsch? Why has Le Corbusier, one of the greatest of all architects, been treated as a villain? This book examines the critical legacy of both well known and either forgotten or underappreciated highpoints in the history of world architecture. Through 70 engaging, thought-provoking, and often amusing debates, Jonathan Glancey invites readers to take a fresh look at the reputations of the masterpieces and great architects in history. You may never look at architecture in the same way again!

Finnish Architect Juhani Pallasmaa Refuses to Support Guggenheim Helsinki Project

07:10 - 25 November, 2016
Finnish Architect Juhani Pallasmaa Refuses to Support Guggenheim Helsinki Project, Moreau Kusunoki's 'Art in the City' Proposal for Guggenheim Helsinki. Image © Moreau Kusunoki Architectes / Guggenheim
Moreau Kusunoki's 'Art in the City' Proposal for Guggenheim Helsinki. Image © Moreau Kusunoki Architectes / Guggenheim

In a comment to the Architects' Journal, Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa has expressed concern over the Guggenheim's plans to build a new museum in the city of Helsinki.

The project emphasises a consumerist and touristic view of art at the expense of the cultural and humane task of art. instead of strengthening local artistic traditions and practices, the project strengthens the already doubtful globalisation and commercialisation of art. The public funds could clearly be used in a more innovative and efficient manner to support Finnish artistic culture. 

Ando, Botta & Glancey on the Dream of Venice, Photographed by Riccardo De Cal

04:00 - 25 July, 2016
© Riccardo De Cal
© Riccardo De Cal

Dream of Venice Architecture, the second in a series by Bella Figura Publications, has brought together a collection of contemporary architects and architectural writers to share their personal experiences of La Serenissima: the great Italian city of Venice. "Water runs through her veins," Editor JoAnn Locktov writes. "Bridges, palaces, churches – every structure is a testament to the resiliency of imagination."

50 Architects Tell Us What They Are Looking Forward to in 2016

12:00 - 18 January, 2016
50 Architects Tell Us What They Are Looking Forward to in 2016

As the first month of 2016 draws to a close, we decided to tap into our network and ask an esteemed group of architects, critics, theorists and educators to tell us what they are looking forward to this year in architecture. 

What are you looking forward to in architecture this year?

Iwan Baan in Conversation with Jonathan Glancey

04:00 - 2 November, 2015
Iwan Baan in Conversation with Jonathan Glancey, 'The State of the Art of Architecture' (part of a photo essay for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Image © Iwan Baan
'The State of the Art of Architecture' (part of a photo essay for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Image © Iwan Baan

Iwan Baan was twelve years old when he received his first camera and, "within a week, [he] had traded it in for a better one." He is one of the most well-known and highly sought after architectural photographers in the world, recognised for shooting cities from above and for always highlighting people (occupation) in his images. In a short interview with Jonathan Glancey Baan is the first to state that he "doesn't know much about architecture" — something which has not inhibited his ability to produce some of the most successful photographs of the built world, and how we design, construct and occupy it.

Brutalism: Back in Vogue?

00:00 - 6 September, 2014
Brutalism: Back in Vogue?, The Barbican in London. Image © Flickr CC User Rene Passet
The Barbican in London. Image © Flickr CC User Rene Passet

Are Brutalist buildings, once deemed cruel and ugly, making a comeback? Reyner Banham's witty play on the French term for raw concrete, beton brut, was popularized by a movement of hip, young architects counteracting what they perceived as the bourgeois and fanciful Modernism of the 1930s. Though the use of raw concrete in the hands of such artist-architects as Le Corbusier seems beautiful beneath the lush Mediterranean sun, under the overcast skies of northern Europe Brutalist architecture earned a much less flattering reputation. Since the 1990s, however, architects, designers, and artists have celebrated formerly denounced buildings, developing a fashionably artistic following around buildings like Erno Goldfinger's Trellick Tower, "even if long-term residents held far more ambivalent views of this forceful high-rise housing block." To learn more about this controversial history and to read Jonathan Glancey's speculation for its future, read the full article on BBC, here.

Video: The Elevated London That Almost Was

00:00 - 15 August, 2014

Inspired by an article written by Michael Hebbert in 1993, Chris Bevan Lee's forty minute documentary explores the elevated post-war infrastructural redevelopment of the City of London, fragments of which still stand across the square mile today. The Pedway: Elevating London examines London planners' attempt to build an ambitious network of elevated walkways through the city that largely never saw completion. In a carefully produced film those 'pedways' that remain are photographed and discussed as symbols of a utopia that almost was.