Arts and Entertainment

The tech giants are getting architectural – but their plans are big, not clever

Disney Miller at the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

Diane Disney Miller: Daughter of Walt Disney who spent much of her life tirelessly preserving the film mogul's legacy

Diane Disney Miller was the daughter of Walt Disney and one of his inspirations for Disneyland. "He'd take me and my sister to the merry-go-round at Griffith Park and stand there all day until we were ready to go," she recalled. "As he stood there, he kept thinking there should be more for parents and children to do together, and the idea for Disneyland was born."

Apple: the 2.8 million sq ft 'Spaceship' campus, due to open in 2016, has drawn comparisons with the Death Star in Star Wars. It will house around 14,200 employees and cost an estimated $5bn (£3.25bn) to build. It will also contain a 1,000-seat auditorium, a gym and 300,000sq ft of 'research' space

Cathedrals to an internet age: Google’s new Kings Cross HQ is among the more outlandish designs by online giants

Not so much vaulted ceilings and soaring towers, the British headquarters that Google means to build just north of Kings Cross Station will be more of a soil-hugging affair. To be made of steel, glass and laminated timber with designs meant to echo the industrial heritage of the area, the building will rise only to 11 storeys at its highest but will stretch 330 metres from end to end. That’s longer that the Shard is tall.

Open office: More room, less privacy

Open-plan offices affect employees' ability to concentrate, new study finds

Workers who spend a lot of time on tasks requiring focus find them difficult to complete when too close to colleagues

Inside the houses that Brad Pitt built

Brad Pitt has revealed the £130,000 home he asked star architect Frank Gehry to design to revive New Orleans. Simon Usborne looks at the results

Big One Rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The rollercoaster index

It's not just about height and speed – big rides can say a lot about the places they're built in. Chris Beanland discovers how ambitious new theme parks reflect economic ups and downs

Dwight Eisenhower, left, and, from left to right, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich

Rupert Cornwell: Why Republicans need another Ike to lead them

Out of America: Swearing eternal fealty to Reagan, presidential candidates try to outdo each other in an insane stampede to the right – leaving Obama delighted

Deals of the week: Bilbao, Avoriaz skiing, Antigua

Less than £200...Basque break

Bilbao offers playful modernity in the form of Frank Gehry's landmark Guggenheim Museum, along with Gothic churches such as the Basilica de Begoña and a terracotta-roofed Old Town. EasyJet Holidays will fly you out to this intriguing Spanish city next weekend with three nights' B&B at the Petit Palace Arana, for £192 per person. The deal includes flights from Stansted departing Friday 25 November. Holidays.easyjet.com

Abu Dhabi museum island hit by more delays

Branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim art museums being built as part of an ambitious cultural district in Abu Dhabi could now open at least a year later than planned, the developer and an official with knowledge of the projects said today.

Guangzhou tower: The sky's the limit

It's the ninth tallest building in the world, with 400ft on The Shard and room for the dome of St Paul's in its atrium. Jay Merrick climbs the Guangzhou tower

Last Night's TV: The Secret Life of Buildings/Channel 4<br />One Man Walking/Channel 4<br />Great Thinkers: In Their Own Words/BBC4

If the cover star of the current issue of the Radio Times happened to be watching the box last night, he doubtless enjoyed what he saw. The Secret Life of Buildings was right up Prince Charles's avenue, with the architectural critic Tom Dyckhoff skewering a variety of extravagant modern buildings for being soulless novelties rather than functional spaces. Top of his hate list, the building that he thinks made it acceptable for architects around the world to indulge their fantasies at the expense of what actually works, was Frank Gehry's famously outlandish Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Dyckhoff thinks that "architects have forgotten the purpose of social buildings" and that "the Bilbao effect" has produced an epidemic of Guggenheim clones, turning this memory lapse practically into a credo.

Why bad design is cramping our style

A new TV series explores the impact the built environment has on the way we live. By Yvonne Cook

Serpentine Gallery Pavilions, By Philip Jodidio

The opening of the 11th annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion on Friday marked what has become a celebrated event in London's summer diary.

Can interiors heal?

Why Maggie&rsquo;s is the charity of the design industry, by Annie Deakin

Jay Merrick: Serpentine commission is a real coup for gallery

A handful of living architects – notably Frank Gehry, Oscar Niemeyer and Alvaro Siza – can be described as unique. The word seems crude when applied to Peter Zumthor. With him we are, to borrow a Van Morrison album title, into the mystic.

Ten top...cultural hotspots

1 Miami

A visit to the Frank Gehry New World Center (nws.edu) will be as much about admiring Gehry's architecture as the music made within.

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