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Architecture's Evil Empire?, By Miles Glendinning
A Guide To The

In a world driven by economic savagery, hearts of darkness more mendacious than Conrad's original, and a globalised Tourette's Syndrome of texts, Twitter and Facebook, is there any point in thinking seriously, rather than entertainingly, about architecture? It has become a whipped-dog subject, virtually devoid of manifestos, heavy on irony and bottom-line issues. Two engrossing books, one examining the pathology that has produced icon-mania, the other a vivid motormouth travelogue through 12 British towns and cities, try very hard to imagine that architecture's often servile 21st century inertias can be reversed.

The Business On: Ray Ozzie, Chief software architect, Microsoft

People thought so – long seen as one of the visionaries of technology, Mr Ozzie joined Microsoft five years ago when it bought his company. The job title he was given was previously held by Mr Gates himself, a nod to the regard with which Mr Ozzie was held. Now he has surprised everyone by announcing his retirement from the role at the tender age of 54.

Architects beginning to think big

Britain's homes have long had the smallest rooms in Europe, now a new generation of town planners and architects is urging us to rethink the way we use our shrinking urban space. Oliver Bennett reports

Brut force: The Lille Art Museum extension

The Lille Art Museum has reopened with a new extension for its collection of Art Brut. The building is a radical addition, but it could have been even more daring, says Jay Merrick

Shock of the Nouvel

From this year's scarlet Serpentine Pavilion to a disputed tower in New York, controversy follows Jean Nouvel around – that's the secret of the architect's success, says Jay Merrick

Hot metal: Anthony Caro's sculpture is showing a wonderful late

The Irish poet WB Yeats asked, "Why should not old men be mad?" as he frolicked through his old age, writing some of the most wild and exuberant poems of his life. Is the sculptor Anthony Caro, who celebrated his 86th birthday on 8 March, such another? I kept on asking myself this as I walked around a new show of his sculptures in the West End of London.

Observations: Toy story shows Ernö's still the man with the golden

Ernö Goldfinger – the architectural establishment's favourite villain (the inspiration for his Bond-baddy-namesake, no less) – was not just the man behind Brutalism's favourite behemoth, Trellick Tower in London's Kensington. He also had a softer side. Just look at the exhibition currently showing at Hampstead's 2 Willow Road (Goldfinger's one-time home and now a National Trust property). It features the architect's lesser-known work on Abbatt's toy shop, a Wimpole Street outlet best-known as an exemplar of 1930s Modernism, containing many a twee treat too. "It was more of a gallery built at child-height," says the curator Jane Audas. "It was full of traditional wooden toys sourced from all over the world and sharp children's furniture."

More headlines

Let the games commence

Building new sport stadia can be a tricky business – which is where surveyors come in useful.

When is a dress like a house?

A new exhibition explores the relationship between fashion and architecture. Rhiannon Harries dons a hard hat to report on the controversy it has sparked