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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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.

Starchitect’s Maze peace centre forgot the Irish

There are two things about Daniel Libeskind’s design for the peace centre on the Maze prison site that are disappointing. The first is that the design language is unremarkable. This is yet another Libeskind signature building, a generically shattered architecture that, in this case, expresses loss, violence and a degree of reconciliation. But the design is not inherently different to Berlin’s Jewish Museum, which made Libeskind a starchitect, or his Las Vegas buildings.

Norman Foster's interest in art surfaced quite early on

The arty side of Norman Foster in France

The world's most famous architect, Norman Foster, 77, designed the Carré d'Art in Nîmes, France, more than 20 years ago. Now he's about to curate his first art show in it, largely made up of works by the artists he collects.

How to Read a Graveyard, By Peter Stanford

Poetic and humane, this tour of resting-places turns the mind to last things, and to first principles.

St James's Gateway building is London's newest startling building

A new prospect for Piccadilly: St James's Gateway building is London's newest startling building

Eric Parry is a highly cultured member of the establishment. Cambridge education, member of the Royal Academy, and regarded as one of Britain's finest architects. Why, then, do the double-storey windows in his revamped building in London's Piccadilly appear to be spattered with blood? And, in a designated Conservation Area, why are the colours and syncopations of Richard Deacon's cornice wilder than Rio Carnival?

The Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona

What makes a cult building?

Every city in the world is commissioning architects to design iconic architecture – a production line of ever flashier-looking objects of grim bread-and-circuses banality. Why does it takes a tramp-like Catalonian vegetarian, and a young Italian with Mussolini on his mind to remind us that architecture – really engrossing architecture – is worthy of cult worship.

A night with Andy Warhol: Oslo hotel The Thief takes art very seriously indeed

Antony Gormley greets you at the entrance and Julian Opie's in the lift… Jay Merrick checks in to the new hotel in the Norwegian capital.

The monument of Walter Scott in Glasgow's George Square

Robert Burns is the topic of heated debate in Glasgow's George Square

This week, Glasgow City Council put six eminent teams of architects through the ringer by asking them a single, highly fraught question: how would they transform George Square into a public space fit for the 21st century?

Photography: Master builders

In Timothy Soar's monochrome portrait, the face of the architect Sean Griffiths, co-principal of the cool FAT practice, carries a look of chippy disdain.

Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer looks at drawings for a project of two cities in Senegal, Africa in 1992. He was one of the world's most famous architects, and is particularly beloved in Brazil

Oscar Niemeyer: The last of the 20th century’s great heroes of architecture, who remained an obdurate outsider

He possessed a Matisse-like ability to convey potent shape and movement with few marks

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
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