Buildings That Give Hope - and Buildings That Condemn Us

A strange and rarely remarked upon feature of buildings is that they talk. They don’t necessarily speak very loudly, it can sometimes just be a whisper, but if you go up…

Katsushika Hokusai

There are two ways of looking at Mount Fuji. As a geological phenomenon, it is classified as an active basalt composite stratovolcano, 3,700 metres high, 10,000 years old in its most…

Agnes Martin

If there were to be a patron artist of melancholy, it might be the American abstract painter Agnes Martin. Over a long life (1912-2004), she produced hundreds of canvases, most of…

Why is the Modern World So Ugly?

One of the great generalisations we can make about the modern world is that it is, to an extraordinary degree, an ugly world. If we were to show an ancestor from…

The Importance of Architecture

In an odd but quietly very important way, works of architecture ‘speak’ to us. Some buildings, streets and even whole cities seem to speak of chaos, aggression or military pride; others…

The Secret of Beauty: Order and Complexity

This is an essay about beauty – and in particular about what makes something beautiful. We want to give you the answer right away: BEAUTY = ORDER and COMPLEXITY In other…