Life and Style Only 3.4 per cent of the Solihull area is covered by housing

It isn’t hard to find an architect who will tell you that vast swathes of the British urban landscape are ugly, grey and unappealing – nor would you struggle to find people who agreed with them. But could it be that the look and the layout of our cities is actually bad for our health?

Eric de Maré's RIBA show reveals raw substance of an industrial age

They are stark and gaunt, often radiating an aura of carbonised dampness that suggests ruin and redemption. In our age of urban regeneration, the photographs of Eric de Maré, on show at the Royal Institute of British Architects, are ironic palimpsests of the government's grands projets on the Olympic site and Thames Gateway. But is Britain really on the march again, in the way that De Maré thought it was in the 50s and 60s? Half a century later, do we give a damn, as he did, about ordinary older buildings and settings?

Former London munitions depot to become modern art gallery

A former munitions depot is to be transformed into London's newest contemporary art space by the Serpentine Gallery, it was announced today.

China's Guangzhou tower nears completion

The 437m tower is the tallest structure ever built to a design by a British architect.

Architects angry at Prince's power grab

He has damned modern designs for London's National Gallery and Chelsea Barracks, trumpeted a traditionalist model town in Dorset and delivered verdicts on buildings to ministers and world leaders. Now Prince Charles's architectural influence could be felt across Britain.

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

And the winning architect is... one of our most strident detractors

Royal Institute of British Architects gives its top prize to Sir David Chipperfield

Schools and museums contend for RIBA Stirling prize

Two London schools and three museums have made the shortlist for this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling prize.

Serpentine Pavilion: Rouge awakening

Jean Nouvel's vivid red Serpentine Pavilion promises to make a startling contrast with the green of Hyde Park. Jay Merrick charts the lure of the lurid

'Freakish' Leeds tower slips into bracket of top four in world for 2010

A building in Leeds less than 70m tall and made of deliberately rusted steel has just been bracketed with three megastructures as one of the four best towers erected in 2010 in the world.

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

British architecture award winners revealed

The Royal Institute of British Architects today presented 102 buildings in the UK and Europe with awards for architectural excellence.

Architects give up their time for free to help raise money for homeless

The coldest months might be behind us, but life is far from cosy for those living on the streets or in bad quality housing across the UK. And while we may be officially out of recession, Michael Coogan, director general of The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has said that it will be still be a “challenging year for many borrowers” whose finances will inevitably be squeezed if and when interest rates rise, leading to repossession in some cases.

How benches and public art became first line of defence against terrorists

Official advice issued to architects on building the bomb-proof structures of the future

Up the Junction: Twenty-first century architecture has come to Yorkshire

A new arts and civic centre in Yorkshire is a joy, at one with its gritty surroundings and sure of its purpose.

Four cities shortlistsed for culture crown

Two, until recently, were more closely associated with crimes against architecture and terrorism than the high arts. The most renowned contribution to mass entertainment of another is a film about strippers and the final candidate does a nice line in mustard and cardigan-clad fictitious DJs when it comes to enriching its denizens’ intellectual existence.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?