Jay Merrick - The Independent

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 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.

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?

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