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2014's Best and Worst in Architecture and Design

Critics Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster hand out their annual awards for architecture and design. Snark is on the menu, but the awards still provide a nice recap of the biggest design news from around the country (and some from around the world).
December 12, 2014, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Kim Carpenter

For the fifth consecutive year, critics Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster offer a list of awards of the year's best and worst of architecture and design for Design Observer. The list makes a thorough geographic survey—Portland, Dallas, and Arkansas make appearances and the critics get in digs on George Lucas's museum proposal in Chicago and Peter Zumthor's blob of a design for LACMA in Los Angeles. There's even a shout out to the tactical urbanism movement, which takes home the "Top Jargon of 2014" award.

  • "Jabba the Hut Award for Sensitive Urban Design: To George Lucas, for thinking he can dock that facocta Space Mountain on Chicago's Lake Michigan. PS: Hey George, no design approvals until you release the original Star Wars on DVD without your 'fixes.'"
  • "Most Unexpected Blobmeister: Peter Zumthor, whose hovering black form for LACMA continues to provoke headscratching."
  • "Top Jargon of 2014: 'tactical urbanism,' now enshrined in a MoMA exhibition, and close colleagues "pop-up urbanism" and "bottom-up urbanism." We're dangerously close to enshrining the small moves as we once did the big plans.


In all, there's plenty to celebrate and to rue in the year's big news from architecture and design.

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Published on Thursday, December 11, 2014 in Design Observer
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