Design

a photo of Tom's Diner in Denver

Who Owns Tom’s Diner: Tom or Denver?

The owner of Tom’s Diner, a beloved local coffee shop, wants to sell to developers, but fans want to save his 1967 Googie building. Is there a win-win here?

The Map That Made Los Angeles Make Sense

For generations in Southern California, the Thomas Guide led drivers through the streets of Los Angeles. Now apps do that. Did something get lost along the way?

A photo-illustration of a map of San Francisco

What Are the Maps That Make Us?

Introducing a new CityLab series of personal essays on the power of maps in shaping our private and public lives.

Illustration showing different neighborhoods of a city in different colors, resembling a 3D zoning map.

CityLab University: Zoning Codes

Don’t know your R1 from your FAR? We’re here to explain how zoning laws work, how these ordinances shape your city and neighborhood, and why we fight over them.

Photo of a large, angular modern building clad in metal and glass.

Meet Seattle’s Snazzy New … Electrical Substation?

Rather than the usual mess of metal, Seattle’s Denny Substation is a work of architecture and a public space—with a controversial price tag.

A still from a 1940s film shows two children sitting in front of ranch-style houses.

When Public Housing Was Suburban-Style and White

In 1945, Portland made a short film celebrating the low-rise, landscaped Columbia Villa, a public-housing project for white Portlanders.

What Internet Memes Get Wrong About Breezewood, Pennsylvania

A photo of a strip of fast-food outlets and gas stations is used to critique the sameness of the American landscape. But it could only be one place on Earth.

A two-story building in the High Tech style with an exposed steel frame.

A 1980s Grocery Store Is London’s Latest Protected Building

The building, designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw, is the first-ever supermarket to appear on the National Heritage List for England.

Pressed for Space, Hong Kong Will Create New Land

The ‘Lantau Tomorrow’ plan would expand small islands for much-needed new housing, but not without risks to the environment.  

An ornately decorated yellow doorway with gold doors stands out on a row of brick buildings with commercial shopfronts.

How Temple Facades Tell the Story of Hindus in London

Ranging from adapted historic buildings to ornate cultural centers, London’s Hindu temples tell of waves of immigration to Britain and increasing visibility.

The Skyline-Shaping Architecture of César Pelli

The Argentine architect, who has died at age 92, created striking projects like the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.

A man and a woman shop at a modern kiosk by a beach in a vintage photo.

Why Everyday Architecture Deserves Respect

The places where we enact our daily lives are not grand design statements, yet they have an underrated charm and even nobility.

a photo of the First Pasadena State Bank building, designed by Texas modernist architects MacKie and Kamrath. It will be demolished on July 21.

The Lonely Death of a South Texas Skyscraper

The First Pasadena State Bank, a 12-story modernist tower inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, has dominated this small town near Houston since 1962.

How the Volkswagen Beetle Sparked America’s Art Car Movement

When the Beetle was first introduced, Americans had never seen anything like it. Among art car enthusiasts, it became the ideal canvas for self-expression.

Rendering of the top of the 'Tulip' above London's skyline at night, with The Shard in the middle distance.

Why London’s Proposed ‘Tulip’ Tower Won’t Bloom

Sadiq Khan used his discretionary powers to cancel the Norman Foster design. Does this signal a tougher attitude to flashy development?

A NASA rendering of a moon base with lunar rover from 1986.

We Were Promised Moon Cities

It’s been 50 years since Apollo 11 put humans on the surface of the moon. Why didn’t we stay and build a more permanent lunar base? Lots of reasons.

An elephant stares past the zoo enclosure gates

Inside the Design Evolution of the Modern Zoo

Author Natascha Meuser describes zoo architecture as a “masquerade” that borrows from museums, prisons, and theaters.

A Hated Expansion of Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier Will Go Ahead

The city council voted to approve an addition to the historic landmark over criticism that the design is “a travesty” and “frankly grotesque.”

A First-Rate Waterfront Park Is Transforming a Historic Greek City

Thessaloniki’s New Waterfront is the centerpiece in an effort to transform the local economy, and other cities are taking notice.

A one-story building with a strip-club sign above the entrance.

The Architecture of Adult Entertainment

Photographing strip-club exteriors from Miami to L.A. for his series “Gentlemen’s Club,” François Prost found pink stucco, flashy signs—and lots of parking.

A bridge-like elevated park in London, with the River Thames in the background.

That Sinking Feeling: London's 'Tide' Disappoints

London’s newest destination, on North Greenwich Peninsula, shows why it’s time to stop copying New York City’s High Line.