Jay Merrick

Jay Merrick is Architecture Critic of The Independent. His novel, Horse Latitudes, was published by Fourth Estate in 2000.

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Book review: The Memory Palace: A Book of Lost Interiors, By Edward Hollis

This historical study is also a fascinating instruction manual for ways of thinking about the past

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Skyscrapers are the architectural equivalent of penis extensions

The original breed of classic towers has become an endangered species

Is this the last hurrah for modern bookish bigness?

The new Library of Birmingham ticks all the boxes as far as so-called landmark architecture is concerned. Designed by Mecanoo, a star international practice. Slightly wild façade. Even more dramatic central atrium, spiralling up through the building. And at the  pinnacle, a golden ark containing the city’s original 1882 Shakespeare archive room.

Richard Rodgers: Inside the mind of a political visionary

Richard Rodgers: Inside the mind of a political visionary

Lord Rogers has never been afraid to bring politics into the design debate

Park Hill Phase 1 - Hawkins Brown and Studio Egret West, Sheffield

RIBA's Stirling Prize: For architecture's biggest gong, small is beautiful in 2013

The shortlist for the Stirling Prize is admirable, says Jay Merrick – it’s just a shame that designers of excellent but ordinary buildings are ignored

Is there a cooler architect in Britain than Hugh Broughton?

Hugh Broughton's moving castle

Is there a cooler architect in Britain than Hugh Broughton? Cooler, as in designing Antarctic bases capable of withstanding temperatures of minus 55C and winds that surge to 100mph, and keeping researchers comfortable for the nine months of the year that they are marooned at their research bases without any prospect of flying or shipping out.

Cities Are Good for You, By Leo Hollis

M ore than half the world's population live in cities, and the percentage will continue to rise. We accept our place in cities passively, whether stuck in a gridlock in Sao Paolo, or ambling across Hyde Park. But what, exactly, are we in for in the next decade or two?

The Serpentine Gallery 2013 Pavilion, designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, in central London's Kensington Gardens

Cloud of steel: Sou Fujimoto's temporary pavilion for London's Serpentine Gallery unveiled

How do you make a cloud out of steel? If you’re the Japanese designer Sou Fujimoto, one of architecture’s rising international stars, you take 28 kilometres of thin metal tubing, cut it up into 27,000 sections, join them together in 10,000 places, and put the structure on the grass next to London’s Serpentine Gallery.

The pinnacle of The Shard

The lights are off and there’s no one home

A year after it opened, the Shard is reported to be virtually empty of tenants

Art by Damon Albarn's father is anything but Blurry

The scene is ostensibly retro: Colchester's Minories Gallery packed with artists and liggers, jigsaw-puzzle pieces being exchanged for free drinks, the walls and floors covered with Op Art and trippy digital prints. And centre-stage is a tallish man in a mustard-yellow corduroy suit.

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?