The Best (and Worst) of Architecture and Design in 2020

An annual review of the world of architecture and design from design critics at the Dallas Morning News and Curbed.

December 29, 2020, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


New York City Coronavirus

Jennifer M. Mason / Shutterstock

Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange are back with their snarky review of the year in architecture and design.

It has been a year, people. COVID-19. Economic collapse. Political madness. Social unrest. Fire. Mank. Through it all, we’ve been keeping tabs, marking down who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, so we can bring you, for the 11th consecutive year — !!! — our annual architecture and design awards.

Planetizen previously shared the duo's architecture and design awards in 2013201420162017, 2018, and 2019, but obviously 2020 has little precedent in those previous editions. The unique fingerprints of 2020 are all over this list, from the "Design of the Year" (the mask) to the "Building(s) of the Year Award," the latter described thusly:

To the streateries, some basic, some stylish, some practically indoors, that kept the restaurant industry working. We only wish such ingenuity had also been applied to transforming public space to shelter the unhoused, provide public bathrooms, keep sidewalks and streateries accessible, and offer children more space to play.

There are also some funny, irreverent items that have nothing to do with COVID-19, which offers a nice change of pace.

Monday, December 28, 2020 in Medium

A conceptual rendering of three high-speed rail trains. The middle train is orange; the other two are black.

The California High-Speed Rail Project Illustrates America’s Transit Issues

Slow progress and a bloated budget have plagued the High-Speed Rail project linking San Francisco to Los Angeles, exposing deeper issues with American transit projects.

May 22, 2022 - Eric Carlson

Parent and child walking, holding hands on mixed-use trail with trees

What Role Does Health Care Play in Community Development?

Cities are economically diverse and require accessible health care systems, but this can be challenging to implement. Urban developers are working alongside health professionals to create affordable care for city residents.

May 18, 2022 - Devin Partida

Multi-Family Development

Density and Driving: A Second Look

A common argument against more compact housing is that increased population density will only reduce vehicle miles traveled at moderate levels of density, as opposed to very low-density and very high-density areas. But this might not be so.

May 22, 2022 - Michael Lewyn

A row of white pickup trucks at a car dealership.

Want to Drive a Big Pickup Truck in D.C.? It’s About to Get (Even More) Expensive

D.C. is considering a $500 vehicle license fee for private vehicles over 6,000 pounds.

40 minutes ago - Bloomberg

Arlington County, Virginia

Zoning Reform Gains Momentum in Northern Virginia

Arlington County and Alexandria are moving forward with actions that could potentially launch a new era of planning and development in their respective communities.

1 hour ago - Greater Greater Washington

Multi-Family Housing

Zoning Reform Works, but Is No Magic Bullet

Improving housing affordability and boosting housing production requires more than just eliminating single-family zoning.

May 26 - Bloomberg CityLab

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

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