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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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.

Vinyl meets Victorian London to become Op Art

How do you turn an art school into a work of art? You call in the Swiss artist Felice Varini, give him a vast amount of weatherproof silver adhesive vinyl, and let him do his thing. And that's why the surfaces of the buildings at Central St Martins new campus at Granary Square, King's Cross, are glinting with a 542-metre- long artwork.

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Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

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