Archive for November, 2009

Steven Colbert speaks with architecture critic Paul Goldberger

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

I enjoyed watching this interview of New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger by Steven Colbert of the Colbert Report. He spoke with him about his new book ‘Why Architecture Matters.’

Colbert is one of the finest interviewers on TV today. Although he usually focuses on lampooning politicians, he can insert himself into really any niche and draw the most insightful comments out of his subjects.

After a brief laugh, Colbert asks Goldberger what he means when he says architecture can influence us and our aspirations. Our homes, for example, can inspire us.

I think Goldberger could have provided a better example of how architecture can control our actions. Frank Lloyd Wright, for example, made the ceiling low in the foyer area of his homes so people wouldn’t congregate there, and would be drawn into the main part of the house.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Paul Goldberger
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor U.S. Speedskating

The power of simple graphics

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009


For a country whose government didn’t recognize the people’s right to free speech, Poland certainly had a great tradition of beautiful book covers in the 20th century. I recently found a collection of Polish book covers from last century that are so much more simple and beautiful than most contemporary designs.


Many of them use a collage style, inspired by the Bauhaus in the 1930s by Herbert Bayer and László Moholy-Nagy (the founder of the Institute of Design in Chicago), while others are more inspired by the Polish poster style. If you look at movie posters done by Saul Bass from California, the torn paper collage style was dominant in the US during the same time.

There appears to be some level of freedom in these book covers as the Soviet Realism style that was dominant in the USSR did not encompass Poland. Poles were largely free to move ahead with their own design language, while Russians had to adhere to a state-directed vernacular.

Visit A Journey Round My Skull blog to see a great many more covers.

Ara Pacis Museum in Rome

Friday, November 6th, 2009

As I settle back in from a fantastic trip to Italy in October, I’m preparing to share some pictures and stories from my visit.

Before that, I want to share this short video of Richard Meier’s design for the Ara Pacis Museum in Rome.

It’s a thoroughly modern space with classical hints that are appropriate to its subject matter.