Historic buildings in Beijing are being demolished in the pursuit of quick profit. Even the home of the architect who urged Mao Zedong to preserve Beijing's old city has fallen to the wreckers' ball, sparking considerable outrage. And the epidemic of destruction is spreading to new buildings, too.
Miles Davis was honored with a postage stamp, but his childhood home has fallen into disrepair. Only a few homes of the talented and famous become tourist meccas like Graceland or Monticello. Architecture, beauty and politics all play a role.
The U.S. housing industry has yet to recover from the last recession, but you wouldn't know that by looking at rising home prices in California's still-prosperous Silicon Valley. By being conservative with his ventures, James Witt has made a successful business out of rebuilding Palo Alto homes.
With many boomtime developments now just dusty wastelands, Sun Belt suburbs like those outside Phoenix are shifting gears. Some planners argue for a radical option called "smart decline" — letting empty lots go back to nature and even, in some cases, tearing down infrastructure.
An artist with an idyllic childhood might be as rare as a house with walls made of air, but both play a part in the story of architect John Lautner. Aesthetically influenced by his Northern Michigan upbringing, Lautner's designs have been featured in several films, including The Big Lebowski.
In her new book, The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper, author Kate Ascher sheds light on the infrastructure and services that make life and work possible in a modern skyscraper. She examines everything that goes into designing, building and maintaining these towering buildings.
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