Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

This November, the Manetti Shrem Museum on the University of California, Davis, campus opened to the public. Designed by New York City–based SO-IL with the San Francisco office of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the museum pays homage to the agricultural landscape of California’s Central Valley with an oversize roof canopy. The steel members of the 50,000-square-foot shade structure, nearly twice the size of the museum itself, reference the patterning of plowed fields and create a welcoming outdoor space for visitors. It is both expressive and practical, but getting that balance wasn’t easy. Read More …

Harvard Design Magazine is pleased to announce its 43rd issue: “Shelf Life.”

The more stuff we accumulate, the more space we need to store it all. Vast portions of the landscape are claimed and governed by spaces of storage, their maintenance, and the goods that move through them—or remain buried within them indefinitely.

This issue of Harvard Design Magazine investigates and unpacks the contents, containers, and systems of storage that organize our world. Read More …

It’s hard to believe that it was only last month that Robert Ivy, executive vice president and CEO of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), pledged the national organisation and its membership to working with president-elect Donald Trump.

Issued just days after the election, the tone-deaf timing of the obsequious memo provoked reactions from The Architecture Lobby, critic Michael Sorkin and Equity in Architecture (among others), who rejected the AIA’s stance as politically representative of professional architects. Read More …

When media artist Refik Anadol arrived at Los Angeles International Airport in 2012, the first thing he did was rent a car and drive to Walt Disney Concert Hall. Jet-lagged after his long flight from Istanbul, where he was born and was immersed from an early age in computing, cinema, and photography, he stood outside in awe. “I was dreaming of what would happen if this building was embedded with memories, intelligence, and culture,” says Anadol. Read More …

Security, immigration, and defense dominated our political rhetoric this presidential election season. But while Donald Trump argued for a wall between the United States and Mexico, an art exhibition installed at the Presidio, a former military post in San Francisco, calls attention to historic defensive landscapes and the impact of contemporary conflicts on individuals. Read More …

The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), whose swooping form hugs the bank of the Tagus River in Lisbon, Portugal, welcomed 22,000 visitors on its opening day in early October. Designed by British architect Amanda Levete and commissioned by the EDP Foundation, the cultural wing of gas and electric corporation Energias de Portugal, the museum is the latest addition to the foundation’s historic campus, which includes the renovated Central Tejo power station, whose main building and old boiler and turbine halls have been converted into galleries and art spaces. Read More …

The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., designed in 1980 by Philip Johnson (with his partner John Burgee) for Christian televangelist Robert H. Schuller, was both a destination for the faithful and a broadcasting studio for the pastor’s weekly Hour of Power television show. Reverend Schuller was an architectural connoisseur (the AIA named him an honorary member in 2003), and the 78,000-square-foot steel-and-glass-building attracted thousands of congregants, including some local architects, who would drive south to Orange County for The Glory of Christmas, a spectacular holiday pageant on the scale of a Broadway show, with music, lights, and even live camels. Read More …

Paul Klee once said that drawing was “taking a line for walk.” In the decades since, that line has not just walked—it’s gone rogue. Drawings have escaped their erstwhile parameters. Definitions have gotten sloppy, like a barfly at last call. Just what is a drawing, especially an architectural drawing, when longstanding fights—hand v. mechanical, digital v. analogue—are fast becoming archaic concerns? Read More …

PR logistics sometimes brings together strange bedfellows. This was the case in Lisbon, where the opening of the nearly complete Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), designed by British architect Amanda Levete, was timed to coincide with the opening of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale.

One opening presented a sparkling new kunsthalle with an interdisciplinary curatorial mission, while the other offered an inward-looking meditation on architecture, representation and authorship. Taken together, they represent an ongoing struggle to define architectural value to practitioners and the public alike. Read More …

In 1990, several years before the San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMOMA) would move into its new building on Third Street, William Gibson wrote the short story “Skinner’s Room” for the architecture exhibition Visionary San Francisco. Commissioned by the museum’s first architecture and design curator Paolo Polledri, Gibson’s sci-fi dystopia depicted the city’s homeless population squatting on a defunct Bay Bridge while wealthy urbanites made their homes in 60-storey solar-powered towers.

Accompanying the text were illustrations by Los Angeles-based architects Hodgetts + Fung — sketches that made logic out of Gibson’s high-tech visions of a shanty town lodged in the bridge’s trusses and girders. Read More …