Bringing Architecture, Design and Art to your Dash.

by Michael Sorkin

  1.    The feel of cool marble under bare feet.
  2.    How to live in a small room with five strangers for six months.
  3.    With the same strangers in a lifeboat for one week.
  4.    The modulus of rupture.
  5.    The distance a shout carries in the city.
  6.    The distance of a whisper.
  7.    Everything possible about Hatshepsut’s temple (try not to see it as   ‘modernist’ avant la lettre).


The Temple of Hatshepsut 

  8.    The number of people with rent subsidies in New York City.
  9.    In your town (include the rich).
10.    The flowering season for azaleas.
11.    The insulating properties of glass.
12.    The history of its production and use.
13.    And of its meaning.
14.    How to lay bricks.
15.    What Victor Hugo really meant by ‘this will kill that.’
16.    The rate at which the seas are rising.
17.    Building information modeling (BIM).
18.    How to unclog a Rapidograph.
19.    The Gini coefficient.
20.    A comfortable tread-to-riser ratio for a six-year-old.
21.    In a wheelchair.
22.    The energy embodied in aluminum.
23.    How to turn a corner.
24.    How to design a corner.
25.    How to sit in a corner.
26.    How Antoni Gaudí modeled the Sagrada Família and calculated its structure.
27.    The proportioning system for the Villa Rotonda.
28.    The rate at which that carpet you specified off-gasses.
29.    The relevant sections of the Code of Hammurabi.
30.    The migratory patterns of warblers and other seasonal travellers.
31.    The basics of mud construction.
32.    The direction of prevailing winds.
33.    Hydrology is destiny.
34.    Jane Jacobs in and out.
35.    Something about feng shui.
36.    Something about Vastu Shilpa.
37.    Elementary ergonomics.
38.    The color wheel.
39.    What the client wants.
40.    What the client thinks it wants.
41.    What the client needs.
42.    What the client can afford.
43.    What the planet can afford.
44.    The theoretical bases for modernity and a great deal about its factions and inflections.
45.    What post-Fordism means for the mode of production of building.
46.    Another language.
47.    What the brick really wants.
48.    The difference between Winchester Cathedral and a bicycle shed.
49.    What went wrong in Fatehpur Sikri.
50.    What went wrong in Pruitt-Igoe.
51.    What went wrong with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
52.    Where the CCTV cameras are.
53.    Why Mies really left Germany.
54.    How people lived in Çatal Hüyük.
55.    The structural properties of tufa.
56.    How to calculate the dimensions of brise-soleil.
57.    The kilowatt costs of photovoltaic cells.
58.    Vitruvius.
59.    Walter Benjamin.
60.    Marshall Berman.
61.    The secrets of the success of Robert Moses.
62.    How the dome on the Duomo in Florence was built.


Duomo in Florence

63.    The reciprocal influences of Chinese and Japanese building.
64.    The cycle of the Ise Shrine.
65.    Entasis.
66.    The history of Soweto.
67.    What it’s like to walk down the Ramblas.
68.    Back-up.
69.    The proper proportions of a gin martini.
70.    Shear and moment.
71.    Shakespeare, et cetera.
72.    How the crow flies.
73.    The difference between a ghetto and a neighborhood.
74.    How the pyramids were built.
75.    Why.
76.    The pleasures of the suburbs.
77.    The horrors.
78.    The quality of light passing through ice.
79.    The meaninglessness of borders.
80.    The reasons for their tenacity.
81.    The creativity of the ecotone.
82.    The need for freaks.
83.    Accidents must happen.
84.    It is possible to begin designing anywhere.
85.    The smell of concrete after rain.
86.    The angle of the sun at the equinox.
87.    How to ride a bicycle.
88.    The depth of the aquifer beneath you.
89.    The slope of a handicapped ramp.
90.    The wages of construction workers.
91.    Perspective by hand.
92.    Sentence structure.
93.    The pleasure of a spritz at sunset at a table by the Grand Canal.
94.    The thrill of the ride.
95.    Where materials come from.
96.    How to get lost.
97.    The pattern of artificial light at night, seen from space.
98.    What human differences are defensible in practice.
99.    Creation is a patient search.
100.    The debate between Otto Wagner and Camillo Sitte.
101.    The reasons for the split between architecture and engineering.
102.    Many ideas about what constitutes utopia.
103.    The social and formal organization of the villages of the Dogon.
104.    Brutalism, Bowellism, and the Baroque.
105.    How to dérive.
106.    Woodshop safety.
107.    A great deal about the Gothic.
108.    The architectural impact of colonialism on the cities of North Africa.
109.    A distaste for imperialism.
110.    The history of Beijing.


Beijing Skyline

111.    Dutch domestic architecture in the 17th century.
112.    Aristotle’s Politics.
113.    His Poetics.
114.    The basics of wattle and daub.
115.    The origins of the balloon frame.
116.    The rate at which copper acquires its patina.
117.    The levels of particulates in the air of Tianjin.
118.    The capacity of white pine trees to sequester carbon.
119.    Where else to sink it.
120.    The fire code.
121.    The seismic code.
122.    The health code.
123.    The Romantics, throughout the arts and philosophy.
124.    How to listen closely.
125.    That there is a big danger in working in a single medium. The logjam you don’t even know you’re stuck in will be broken by a shift in representation.
126.    The exquisite corpse.
127.    Scissors, stone, paper.
128.    Good Bordeaux.
129.    Good beer.
130.    How to escape a maze.
131.    QWERTY.
132.    Fear.
133.    Finding your way around Prague, Fez, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Kyoto, Rio, Mexico, Solo, Benares, Bangkok, Leningrad, Isfahan.
134.    The proper way to behave with interns.
135.    Maya, Revit, Catia, whatever.
136.    The history of big machines, including those that can fly.
137.    How to calculate ecological footprints.
138.    Three good lunch spots within walking distance.
139.    The value of human life.
140.    Who pays.
141.    Who profits.
142.    The Venturi effect.
143.    How people pee.
144.    What to refuse to do, even for the money.
145.    The fine print in the contract.
146.    A smattering of naval architecture.
147.    The idea of too far.
148.    The idea of too close.
149.    Burial practices in a wide range of cultures.
150.    The density needed to support a pharmacy.
151.    The density needed to support a subway.
152.    The effect of the design of your city on food miles for fresh produce.
153.    Lewis Mumford and Patrick Geddes.
154.    Capability Brown, André Le Nôtre, Frederick Law Olmsted, Muso Soseki, Ji Cheng, and Roberto Burle Marx.
155.    Constructivism, in and out.
156.    Sinan.
157.    Squatter settlements via visits and conversations with residents.
158.    The history and techniques of architectural representation across cultures.
159.    Several other artistic media.
160.    A bit of chemistry and physics.
161.    Geodesics.
162.    Geodetics.
163.    Geomorphology.
164.    Geography.
165.    The Law of the Andes.
166.    Cappadocia first-hand.



167.    The importance of the Amazon.
168.    How to patch leaks.
169.    What makes you happy.
170.    The components of a comfortable environment for sleep.
171.    The view from the Acropolis.
172.    The way to Santa Fe.
173.    The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
174.    Where to eat in Brooklyn.
175.    Half as much as a London cabbie.
176.    The Nolli Plan.
177.    The Cerdà Plan.
178.    The Haussmann Plan.
179.    Slope analysis.
180.    Darkroom procedures and Photoshop.
181.    Dawn breaking after a bender.
182.    Styles of genealogy and taxonomy.
183.    Betty Friedan.
184.    Guy Debord.
185.    Ant Farm.
186.    Archigram.
187.    Club Med.
188.    Crepuscule in Dharamshala.
189.    Solid geometry.
190.    Strengths of materials (if only intuitively).
191.    Ha Long Bay.
192.    What’s been accomplished in Medellín.
193.    In Rio.
194.    In Calcutta.
195.    In Curitiba.
196.    In Mumbai.
197.    Who practices? (It is your duty to secure this space for all who want to.)
198.    Why you think architecture does any good.
199.    The depreciation cycle.
200.    What rusts.
201.    Good model-making techniques in wood and cardboard.
202.    How to play a musical instrument.
203.    Which way the wind blows.
204.    The acoustical properties of trees and shrubs.
205.    How to guard a house from floods.
206.    The connection between the Suprematists and Zaha.
207.    The connection between Oscar Niemeyer and Zaha.
208.    Where north (or south) is.
209.    How to give directions, efficiently and courteously.
210.    Stadtluft macht frei.
211.    Underneath the pavement the beach.
212.    Underneath the beach the pavement.
213.    The germ theory of disease.
214.    The importance of vitamin D.
215.    How close is too close.
216.    The capacity of a bioswale to recharge the aquifer.
217.    The draught of ferries.
218.    Bicycle safety and etiquette.
219.    The difference between gabions and riprap.
220.    The acoustic performance of Boston Symphony Hall.


Boston Symphony Hall

221.    How to open the window.
222.    The diameter of the earth.
223.    The number of gallons of water used in a shower.
224.    The distance at which you can recognize faces.
225.    How and when to bribe public officials (for the greater good).
226.    Concrete finishes.
227.    Brick bonds.
228.    The Housing Question by Friedrich Engels.
229.    The prismatic charms of Greek island towns.
230.    The energy potential of the wind.
231.    The cooling potential of the wind, including the use of chimneys and the stack effect.
232.    Paestum.
233.    Straw-bale building technology.
234.    Rachel Carson.
235.    Freud.
236.    The excellence of Michel de Klerk.
237.    Of Alvar Aalto.
238.    Of Lina Bo Bardi.
239.    The non-pharmacological components of a good club.
240.    Mesa Verde National Park.
241.    Chichen Itza.
242.    Your neighbors.
243.    The dimensions and proper orientation of sports fields.
244.    The remediation capacity of wetlands.
245.    The capacity of wetlands to attenuate storm surges.
246.    How to cut a truly elegant section.
247.    The depths of desire.
248.    The heights of folly.
249.    Low tide.
250.    The Golden and other ratios.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 12:45 am

Masked George Washington

Posted: April 1, 2020, 4:00 pm


Retractable walls and numerous terraces feature in this expansive California home designed by US architecture firm Olson Kundig.



The home’s elevated perch provides extensive views that stretch from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.


Capitalising on these vistas was a guiding factor for Seattle firm Olson Kundig, which sought to eliminate boundaries “between inside and outside as much as possible”.

Posted: April 1, 2020, 1:00 am
Michael McKinnell, co-designer of Boston's Brutalist City Hall, dies from COVID-19:

The Boston Globe reports that in 1969 McKinnell, describing his vision for the city hall building, told a reporter, “This isn’t a building where the pattern is frozen, where if you move one detail, you ruin everything,” adding, "The process of democratic government is the meaning of City Hall. It should never be finished.”

Posted: March 31, 2020, 3:55 pm

Explore the Colors of the World Through Photography 

The 13th edition of International Color Awards, an event honouring achievements in color photography, has recently presented its gala and here are some of the winners and nominees.


Posted: March 29, 2020, 3:46 pm

Empty Cities around the World during the Quarantine 

The New York Times has just released a series of breathtaking photographs of the world’s largest cities during this heavy quarantine period. “The void proliferates like the virus” chants the newspaper, illustrating confinement around the world. 

More and more countries are indeed finding themselves obliged to adopt more or less harsh exit restrictions in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: March 27, 2020, 6:42 pm
“Civilizations are marked by their priorities, and ours are too given over to prisons, malls, and McMansions and too little to good housing for all, complete and sustainable communities, green energy, rational mobility, structures of succor. Politics programs our architecture. The emblem of Trump’s agenda is a piece of architecture—that absurd pharaonic wall he bruits for the Mexican border. His whole project trumpets control, and his mantra is shared by many an architect: just leave it to me!”


Michael Sorkin

Michael Sorkin, architect, author, teacher, and one of the most distinctive voices for social justice and sustainability in the design of the urban environment, has died at the age of 71 in New York after contracting coronavirus. via

Posted: March 27, 2020, 4:29 pm

Enchanting Photos of Madeira’s Ancient Fanal Forest Filled With 500-Year-Old Trees

Thanks to incredible images by photographer Albert Dros, we’re transported into this dreamy landscape.



The island of Madeira is known for its dramatic landscape, which includes rugged mountains, volcanoes, and rocky beaches. But one of Madeira’s most unique treasures is an ancient forest where every step takes you inside a scene ripped from a fairy tale. Known for its enchanting morning fog, the Fanal forest is part of an ancient laurel forest.


Fanal is part of the Laurisilva forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its beauty and ecological importance. Incredibly, 15 to 40 million years ago, much of Southern Europe was covered in this type of laurel forest. 


Now, it can only be found in Madeira, the Azores, and the Canary Islands. Fanal is particularly noteworthy for its hiking trails, which allow visitors to take in the different specimens of trees—some of which are 500 years old.

Posted: March 22, 2020, 10:09 pm

Traveling Artist Captures the Charm of Ancient Towns in Watercolor and Ink

Rather than snap photos with his camera, traveler and urban sketching artist Qian Shi captures his surroundings as watercolor paintings. 

Rendered in his distinct loose style, Shi works quickly to capture fleeting moments, forever immortalizing each scene in gestural line work and painterly brushstrokes.


Shi is a great believer of “practice makes perfect.” Even though he’s always on the go, he takes the time to sit down and create a sketch of his surroundings every day. From the narrow alleyways of ancient Shanghai to old European cities such as Prague, Shi brings his sketchbook and paint set everywhere he goes. Each picturesque scene is rendered by first laying down the composition in pen ink. The talented artist then adds delicate washes of paint to capture the colors and light of the scene.

Posted: March 16, 2020, 6:40 pm

Salt Tower Japan 2016 by James Alder

Posted: March 16, 2020, 1:00 pm

City Photomontages by Zak Eazy 

Zak Eazy (the nickname given to him since college) is a 24-year-old artist from Lille. “I am passionate about photomontage. A few weeks ago, I was a graphic project manager in Paris, but I decided to make photomontage my job. So I decided to embark on the entrepreneurial adventure. “ He says.


Posted: March 13, 2020, 5:16 pm

hope this message finds you well, and healthy, with COVID-19 impacting everyone around the world I feel a bit lost, frustrated and helpless. Most of life’s activities are still going on for me, like we are all in a deep state of denial, just waiting for the inevitable nationwide quarantine. While China seems to be bouncing back from the initial outbreak, Italy seems to be in the midst of the worst of it, and in the US we are destined to have the worst kind of proof of the governments inability to lead (here’s hoping they prove me wrong).

So a big virtual hug to all, take care everyone, we are all together in this.

Posted: March 12, 2020, 3:52 pm

© timo bernhard, all rights reserved

Posted: March 12, 2020, 3:39 pm

Water and Public Spaces: Pools Around the World

Often times in architecture, the way that a project’s ability of its underscored elements to subtly carry a dialogue with the existing site is one of the most powerful moments in design. 

Swimming pools are a great example of these types of projects, since their designs often are a direct response to a variety of existing site conditions, including occupying both inside and outside spaces, assuming different forms, and incorporating a variety of finishes that might completely transform the aesthetic of the space.


The swimming pool typology as a whole represents a wide range of site adaptation and material expression in architecture that, when well executed, has the power to produce beautiful effects. ArchDaily has compiled a list of swimming pools located around the world that demonstrate these achievements at all scales.

Posted: March 10, 2020, 2:26 pm

NBBJ models Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center stadium on lotus flowers  

Petal-like cladding wraps around this 80,000-seat stadium, which forms the centrepiece of NBBJ’s riverside Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center in China. 



The 400,000-square-metre stadium is designed to evoke the lotus flowers found in the West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hangzhou that is celebrated for its gardens and temples. It is teamed with series of smaller sporting facilities in the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center, also designed by NBBJ, including a complementary 10,000-seat stadium dedicated to tennis.

Posted: March 9, 2020, 2:23 am

Stark White Paper Cities Made From Dozens of Cut and Layered Sheets of Paper

Artist Ayumi Shibata practices the Japanese art of paper cutting to create layered, three-dimensional sculptures. By using dozens (and sometimes over 100) sheets of paper, Shibata crafts intricate cityscapes and forests that are compiled into hand-bound books and contained inside glass jars. 

When illuminated by light, the tiers of white paper glow to express a cinematic depth.


Not only is paper a convenient and inexpensive material, but it also has deep significance for the artist. In Japanese, the word “kami” means “god” or “spirit” as well as “paper.” Shibata is not intimidated by the blankness of a fresh sheet of paper and instead sees limitless possibilities.


Each layer of paper art is cut out freehand, without the use of any pencil outline. All the artist needs to begin is the mental picture of the sculptural setting. Shibata tells My Modern Met, “I use my technique to express my thankfulness to the ‘Kami‘ for having been born in this life. I believe that through cutting paper, I purify my mind and soul.”

Posted: March 5, 2020, 1:05 am

Zayuan Habitat FESCH Beijing 

The project focused on the restoration of a single dwelling, rebuilding the relationships between the living space and the chaotic “Zayuan” environment, as well as reshaping the primitive relationships between the courtyard and living spaces.



A south-north rectangular courtyard of gray brick wall was inserted between the existing houses on the east and west sides. The intersection between the courtyard and the house gives the living space a feeling of being in the courtyard.

Posted: February 26, 2020, 3:30 am


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