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 …

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 …

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 …

“We build what developers won’t build: family-sized units,” says Sarah Letts, the executive director of the Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM), standing on the outdoor terrace on the top floor of 2802 Pico Housing—a recently opened 100-percent-affordable housing project by the nonprofit developer. The family-oriented design by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners provides ten three-bedroom and 23 two-bedroom rental units—all at 25 to 30 percent of market rate.  Read More …

Spoiler alert! The Japanese maple in Jeff Dauber’s San Francisco backyard is not at the center of a carbon-sucking vortex. Sorry, sci-fi fans, but the Berkeley-based architect Thom Faulders’s perfectly flat deck only looks like its far corner has its own warped gravity. Ever since Francesco Borromini’s Gallery Spada, in Rome, forced perspectives and architectural patronage have gone hand in hand, but whereas the Renaissance architect employed a mathematician to make that arcade seem longer through foreshortening, Faulders used 3-D–modeling software to achieve Deformscape’s dipping effect. Read More …

There are some unexpected pairings at Street, the restaurant recently opened in Los Angeles by the chef Susan Feniger. Take, for example, the menu, which draws on pushcart offerings from around the world: Korean mung-bean pancakes and Thai curries face off but don’t fuse. The least likely union, however, has to be between Feniger, famed as a co-owner of the Border Grill and a co-host of the 1990s Food Network show Too Hot Tamales, and Street’s architect, the coolly cerebral Neil Denari. Read More …

San Francisco’s Mission District—like many low-income neighborhoods in high-rent cities—is a mix of immigrants, primarily Latin American, and hipsters. Gentrification spread rapidly through the area in the late 1990s, during San Francisco’s dot-com boom, but has slowed postbust. On the trendier blocks, taquerias sit alongside sushi-cum-oxygen bars. Live/work lofts and boutique retail spaces serving the better-heeled residents are commonplace. But new construction that addresses both ends of the economic spectrum is rare. Read More …