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Alexandra Lange
Blog | Biography | Books | Contact


Alexandra Lange is a critic, journalist and architectural historian based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in The Architect's Newspaper, Icon, Metropolis, New York Magazine and The New York Times. She teaches architecture criticism in the Design Criticism program at the School of Visual Arts and the Urban Design & Architecture Studies Program at New York University. Her dissertation, "There's No Place Like Work," analyzed the design, architecture and leadership of four American corporations in the 1950s and 1960s: CBS, Connecticut General, Deere & Co. and IBM.

Most recently, with Jane Thompson, she co-authored Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes. In 2012, Princeton Architectural Press will publish her next book, Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities, a primer on reading and writing architecture criticism.

Recent Essay

Lucia Eames, 1930-2014

Lucia Eames, 1930-2014

An appreciation of Lucia Eames (1930-2014).

Recent Book

Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities
Alexandra Lange
Princeton Architectural Press, 2012
More >>

Design Observer Essays


Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories

A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.


Premature Demolition

The Folk Art Museum, David Adjaye's market hall, and the first addition to the Morgan Library. If three makes a trend, then premature demolition qualifies.


Criticism = Love

Why you have to love design to be a critic.


Playing With Design: Fredun Shapur

Add Fredun Shapur to the pantheon of modern designers making winning and sculptural objects for children.


Year of the Women

A year-end wrap-up of my favorite stories. The common theme? Women and the making of design.


12.06.13: Lunch with the Critics: Fourth-Annual Year-End Awards
11.27.13: Alexandra Lange on Performance
11.18.13: Art On Campus
11.08.13: L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman
10.21.13: Where We Work
10.14.13: MoMA’s Modern Women
10.03.13: Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer, Freelancer
09.24.13: Learning New Tricks
08.30.13: A World of Paste and Paper
08.20.13: Rural Vacation | Urban Questions
07.23.13: Nevermind the Masterpiece
07.08.13: How To Unforget
07.01.13: An ABC of the ABCs
06.21.13: Every Little Thing
06.10.13: That Personal Touch
06.04.13: Praise the Partner(s)
06.03.13: Home Improvement
05.28.13: The Fork and the World: Design 101
05.18.13: Dream Weaver
05.14.13: Anxiety, Culture and Commerce
04.24.13: Beyond Gorgeous
04.18.13: Architecture Without Signs
04.09.13: What It Costs (to Buy a Bench, to Extend a Curb)
04.03.13: Portlandia + Timelessness
03.18.13: Instagramming Around Australia
03.07.13: After the Museum: The Tumblr
02.25.13: Founding Mother: Mariana Van Rensselaer and the Rise of Criticism
02.17.13: Patterns of Houston
02.04.13: Why Bernadette Fox Is Scary
01.21.13: Balthazar Korab, RIP
01.08.13: Kicked A Building Lately?
01.07.13: George Nelson in Two Dimensions
12.19.12: Bad Taste True Confessions: Erté
12.10.12: Lunch With The Critics: Third-Annual Year-End Awards
12.03.12: Reintroducing the Tilletts
11.21.12: 3rd Annual Holiday Card Review
11.13.12: Knolling Your Polling Place
11.07.12: “I Have Seen the Future”: Designer as Showman
10.31.12: Dot Supreme
10.14.12: Shopping With Sandro, and Other Tumblr Delights
10.08.12: Having Fun at the Museum
09.27.12: Let’s Talk About Women in Architecture
09.22.12: Just Keep Typing
09.10.12: Someone Else’s Shangri La
08.28.12: Art Matters to Architecture
08.21.12: Critics Critical Criticism
07.31.12: The Critical Olympics
07.28.12: Hiking the Museum
07.11.12: Obama’s New Fonts
06.29.12: The Shape of Lunch
06.15.12: The Charismatic Megafauna of Design
06.09.12: Introducing Strelka Press
05.30.12: Dress Your Family in Formica and Faux Bois
05.17.12: The Well-Tempered Environment
05.11.12: The Mother of Us All
05.02.12: Against Kickstarter Urbanism
04.23.12: Fixing South Street Seaport: Is New Architecture Enough?
04.17.12: Carlo Scarpa, Quilter
04.05.12: Frank Lloyd Wright + Katniss Everdeen
03.26.12: ‘Deco Japan’ + Designing Women
03.10.12: City of Shoes: Is Urbanism Scalable?
03.01.12: How to Be an Architecture Critic
02.22.12: Reassembling the American Dream
02.17.12: Downton Abbey: Fell In Love With a House
02.13.12: Round Thermostats and Crystal Lanterns, Revisited
02.04.12: Want to Buy A Valentine?
01.26.12: Married at Moss
01.17.12: A Memorial to (Random Access) Memory
01.03.12: Design for Girls: Put A Heart On It
12.22.11: Girard the Magnificent
12.14.11: Reinventing the Thermostat
12.07.11: When Modernists Get Crafty
12.05.11: Lunch With The Critics: Second-Annual Year-End Awards
12.01.11: Cooking with the Eameses
11.22.11: Decorating Brutalism: The Interiors of Kevin Roche
11.16.11: Who Are We Competing For?
10.31.11: Lessons from the High Line
10.28.11: Tell Me a Story, ‘Urbanized’
10.19.11: Architecture Research Office
10.19.11: TWA: Still Kicking
10.12.11: Should We Boycott the New Barnes?
10.04.11: What Makes Architecture Useful?
10.03.11: Lunch with the Critics: Supertall
09.19.11: What the Cooper-Hewitt Needs: More Design, Less Talk
09.13.11: Thinking in Tumblr
09.06.11: Stop That: Minimalist Posters
08.31.11: Announcing
08.24.11: Up From Zero, the Novel
08.18.11: A Stitch in Time
08.10.11: Reading in Public
08.05.11: Welcome Back, Overbite
07.29.11: The Uses of Cranks
07.22.11: Jane Austen, Landscape Architect
07.15.11: Making Dieter Rams
07.07.11: Would You Like Words With That?
06.28.11: Welcome to the Hall of Femmes
06.22.11: Jane Austen, Architect?
06.15.11: Let’s Go! World’s Fairs of the 1930s
06.11.11: New Apple HQ, 1957
06.02.11: Lunch with the Critics: Cronocaos
06.01.11: An Atlas of Possibility
05.27.11: On GOOD: Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
05.21.11: Vicarious Thrifting, via Twitter
05.12.11: Manhattan Museum Musical Chairs
05.04.11: Science Gets Around to Architecture
04.29.11: In T: High Fiber
04.26.11: The Only Thing There’s Just Too Little Of
04.22.11: The Anti-Monograph
04.19.11: City Beautiful of Kazakhstan
04.12.11: All That Glitters (and Swoops)
04.11.11: Making the Modern House Home
04.05.11: Muddying the Waters
03.31.11: Onesies and Crime
03.18.11: Bad Faith Towers
03.07.11: Reading Out Loud
02.28.11: Something Old, Something Green
02.22.11: ISO The Digital Sidewalk Critic
02.21.11: Neat Freaks
02.17.11: I Was an Unhappy Hipster
02.10.11: Whatever Happened to the Dinner Party?
02.01.11: The Moms Aren’t Wrong
01.27.11: Objects Fall From the Sky
01.19.11: What Should Food Look Like?
01.17.11: How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Eameses?
01.12.11: Bring Back Braids
01.10.11: Is No the Answer?
01.03.11: From the Cabat to the City
12.31.10: Designing with Cookies
12.24.10: Lunch With The Critics: Year-End Awards
12.22.10: Shopping D/R at Etsy
12.20.10: Lunch with the Critics: Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University
12.16.10: On Boring
12.14.10: Throw Pillows As Character
12.08.10: No Rest at the Last Supper
12.06.10: Little Boxes
12.02.10: Networks Before the Internet
11.29.10: Sans Serif Seasons Greetings
11.24.10: Criticism Kerfuffle 2010
11.23.10: New City Reader: Sidewalk Sale
11.18.10: My Marimekko Uniform
11.17.10: Dan Wood
11.15.10: You Have to Pay for the Public Design
11.12.10: Ornament & Time
11.09.10: Super 8
11.05.10: Keeping Faith
11.05.10: GourmetLive: The Architecture of Food
10.26.10: What I Would Have Bought in Sweden
10.25.10: Join the Conversation!
10.22.10: AN Friday Review: Harry Weese
10.21.10: Northern Highlights
10.20.10: In Dwell: Platner’s Opulent Modernism
10.19.10: On Design Observer: Girard + Folk Art
10.19.10: Designing with Folk Art
10.16.10: FT Weekend: People in glass houses
10.07.10: Change Observer: "Small Scale" Reviewed
10.07.10: Uncommon Ground
10.06.10: Yummy Too
10.04.10: Family Business
10.03.10: Not Afraid of Color
10.01.10: In T: The Zootopian
09.29.10: This is A Thrill...
09.28.10: Yummy!
09.26.10: Masdar: So Many Questions
09.24.10: Rendering v. Reality in Sukkah City
09.21.10: The Still-Expanding Airport
09.16.10: Shall I Complain About the New Yorker?
09.14.10: NYT Opinionator: If These Walls Could Talk
09.13.10: My Franzen, Freedom Review
09.13.10: If These Walls Could Talk
09.10.10: Make It Bigger
09.10.10: An Honor Just to be Mentioned...
09.08.10: In Dwell: Hands Off the Icons
09.07.10: Coming to the V&A: Tower of Power
09.02.10: Kitchen Godjets
08.30.10: Lunch with the Critics: Park51 and 15 Penn Plaza
08.30.10: Lunch with the Critics: Park51 & 15 Penn
08.27.10: NYT Opinionator: What’s Cooking in Kitchen Design?
08.27.10: What's Cooking in Kitchen Design?
08.26.10: The War at Home
08.25.10: This is a Terrible Poster
08.22.10: The Language of "Kids Are All Right"
08.21.10: D/R, Back in the Boston Globe
08.17.10: The Imperfect Imperfectionists
08.16.10: On DO: When Shopping Was Sociable
08.15.10: When Shopping Was Sociable
08.14.10: Modern Houses and Doomed P.M.s
08.12.10: Damned Icons
08.10.10: Simple Pleasures
08.09.10: Mid-C Decor Striptease
08.04.10: Design Research (The Book) Has Landed
07.27.10: On DO: Lunch with the Critics
07.26.10: Culture War Begins at Home
07.26.10: Lunch with the Critics: The New Lincoln Center
07.24.10: Archpaper Review: Our Cities Ourselves
07.24.10: NYT Opinionator: Easier Living Through Design
07.23.10: Better Living by Design
07.20.10: Culture Shed: Where’s the Neighborhood?
07.19.10: Hung Ceilings: Mystery Solved
07.18.10: Hung Ceilings
07.13.10: Time to Move On
07.12.10: Up in the Air
07.10.10: Heavens
07.07.10: Out of Love with Piano
07.06.10: Below Black Rock
07.02.10: The Personality of Parks
07.01.10: Fix the Car Seat
07.01.10: Whatever Happened to Architecture Critique?
06.28.10: Bag Ladies
06.25.10: THE Bite THATS Rite
06.25.10: Where Have All the Windchimes Gone?
06.22.10: A Return to Modern Roots
06.17.10: Diana Center & Architectural Bull----
06.16.10: In Metropolis: Blue Sky Thinking
06.14.10: Make Me A Mini Monograph
06.14.10: “We Can’t Really Pay”
06.11.10: Op Art Eye Candy
06.10.10: Pomo Time Machine
06.08.10: Girl Power?
06.04.10: AIA Guide, Family Style
06.04.10: Marigold, Goldenrod, Egg Yolk
06.03.10: My .02 on the Whitney
06.02.10: Bloggers in the Archive
05.27.10: The Plastics
05.24.10: Modernism on the Range
05.21.10: On Fast Company: Why Do Designer Toys Suck?
05.21.10: The Anti-Enthusiasts
05.21.10: Why do Most Designer Toys Suck so Badly?
05.17.10: On DO: ‘Please Give’ and Design People
05.17.10: The Maddening, Rewarding World of Design People
05.16.10: The Naive Tumblr
05.14.10: It Was All Yellow
05.12.10: In Metropolis: The Visceralist
05.11.10: Jane Jacobs Is Still Watching
05.10.10: On Inksie: Good Design is Aesthetic
05.07.10: On Archpaper: Saccharine Design
05.07.10: Saccharine Design
05.06.10: Straw Men Redux
05.05.10: Category Error
05.04.10: Icon Review: Attila
05.02.10: Please Stop Coloring
05.02.10: What I Learned @dcritconference
04.29.10: The Ur-Paperback
04.28.10: For My German Readers
04.27.10: Now What? Or, Beware Panels
04.26.10: Confessions and Criticism
04.22.10: Fischer Price Airport
04.22.10: Junior Critics
04.21.10: Via bobulate: New York City as business
04.20.10: Carolina On... (No, I Just Can't Do It)
04.20.10: Approving of the Approval Matrix
04.15.10: All in the Execution
04.15.10: Sometimes You Just Want to Eat
04.14.10: Please Join Us
04.11.10: Governors Island, ca. 2014?
04.10.10: Every Thing Design: Can I Play Too?
04.08.10: On Knowing Where The End Is
04.07.10: Anthony Lane Fugs Too
04.03.10: Has the High Line Ruined Us?
04.02.10: Design Adjacent
03.31.10: In the Family
03.31.10: Moynihan on Design
03.30.10: Texts Without Context
03.29.10: Reciting Modernist Architects
03.29.10: On DO: Design Blogs: The Vacuum of Enthusiasm
03.29.10: Design Blogs: The Vacuum of Enthusiasm
03.28.10: My Favorite SANAA
03.25.10: The World's Foremost Female Architect
03.23.10: Scarano's School for Scandal
03.22.10: Times Op-Ed: Hole Earth Catalog
03.17.10: Doing Addition
03.16.10: Things of Beauty
03.15.10: Playground Apps
03.14.10: Tearing Down
03.11.10: Critical Mass
03.09.10: House Upon House
03.08.10: Not A Learning Experience
03.07.10: Bluestockings Unite!
03.05.10: Mad Swatches
03.03.10: The (Architectural) Anthologist
03.01.10: On DO: Why Ouroussoff Is Not Good Enough
03.01.10: Welcome to Fort Brooklyn
02.26.10: Coloring Book
02.23.10: Disney, Without Sneering
02.22.10: The Future of Snacks
02.18.10: Why Nicolai Ouroussoff Is Not Good Enough
02.10.10: Beyond Bodoni & Corb
02.09.10: Serious Fun
02.08.10: The Extinction of the Unisex
02.06.10: On The Moment: Plastic Fantastic
02.04.10: Still Ugly After All These Years
02.03.10: In AN 02: As the Tide Turns
02.02.10: All Rubble Is Not Alike
02.01.10: Wives of the Architects
01.28.10: The Mysteries of Retail
01.27.10: Write What You Know
01.26.10: More! Women! Architects!
01.25.10: Suburban Design
01.24.10: Pay No Attention to Me
01.21.10: Buildings That Aren't There
01.20.10: Hands-On: The Gropius Touch
01.20.10: A Real Modern Monument
01.18.10: Love and Flatware
01.15.10: Trip Down Memory Lane
01.13.10: Inappropriation
01.13.10: The Yuck Factor
01.12.10: Snip Snip Snip
01.10.10: It's Not Just Me
01.07.10: On DO: Skating on the Edge of Taste
01.06.10: I Heart Huxtable
01.05.10: About A Boy
01.04.10: Size M
01.02.10: Annotated Avatar
12.31.09: Last Post of 2009: Interview, Casey Jones
12.30.09: After Buildings
12.22.09: The Women
12.21.09: Exciting Multi-Generational Moment
12.19.09: Want to Make an Architect Cry?
12.18.09: Casey Jones
12.16.09: Making A List...
12.15.09: Playing House
12.14.09: In a F.O.G.
12.11.09: Seasons Greetings
12.11.09: Where Have All the Type Geeks Gone?
12.10.09: UN, Now and Then
12.05.09: Dumbing Down DIY
12.03.09: DoubleX: Kid Made Modern Reviewed
12.03.09: Making Kids Modern: Or is it Their Moms?
12.02.09: DWR = D/R?
12.01.09: Skating on the Edge of Taste with Warren Platner
12.01.09: XL
11.29.09: Look Again
11.28.09: See the USA
11.25.09: This Is Just To Say
11.24.09: Stuffed
11.22.09: Another New York
11.21.09: Texan Capitals
11.19.09: D/R on WGBH
11.17.09: Paper Revelations
11.16.09: Smaller Wonder: Brooklyn Children's Museum
11.12.09: Love & Architecture
11.12.09: The Modernist State
11.10.09: Word on the Street
11.09.09: Kicking Down the Door
11.06.09: Review: The Price of Fitting In
11.04.09: Back to School
11.02.09: Bauhaus + Betsy
10.29.09: Tableaux Vivants
10.28.09: D/R Love
10.28.09: More Hell (Beige Edition)
10.26.09: Small Wonder: 41 Cooper Square
10.24.09: Petting Zoo
10.22.09: Love & Architecture
10.21.09: Houses of the Future
10.20.09: Buy It Now
10.18.09: Love Among the Figurines
10.16.09: Architecture in Transit
10.14.09: The Sound of Waves
10.14.09: Small Wonder: 41 Cooper Square
10.12.09: Unhappy Homes
10.12.09: The Wall Vanishes
10.08.09: Home Range
10.06.09: The Ladies' Paradise
10.05.09: (Women and) Children First
10.03.09: White Knight
10.01.09: Cutting Remarks
09.28.09: D/R Rising
09.26.09: Lost Research
09.24.09: My Idea of Hell
09.21.09: Nothing Runs Like A...
09.20.09: Crafting A City
09.17.09: White Columns
09.15.09: On the Grid
09.13.09: Higher and Higher
09.11.09: Just Looking
09.09.09: Healthy Home
09.09.09: Grounded
09.06.09: First Flight
09.03.09: Won't Get Fooled Again
09.01.09: The Tigertones
08.31.09: Suspended Animation
08.28.09: What's to Be Done with Governors Island?
08.27.09: Family Business
08.26.09: Cooking for Crowds
08.24.09: Shiny and New
08.23.09: Blackboard Jungle
08.21.09: If You Can't Say Something Nice...
08.20.09: Rearranging, Part 2
08.19.09: Eye Roll for Ice Cream
08.18.09: Rearranging the Deck Chairs
08.16.09: Shelf Life
08.14.09: Between Buildings
08.12.09: Fashion Plates
08.11.09: Outsider Art
08.10.09: Arks of Knowledge
08.06.09: Speechless
08.05.09: D.I.Y.
08.02.09: Cooked
08.01.09: Summer As a Verb
07.31.09: England's Next Top Model
07.29.09: Waiting On the Dream
07.28.09: Kroon Hall
07.16.09: Cold Comforts
07.15.09: Numbers Game
07.12.09: Handmade
07.10.09: Sitting Pretty
07.09.09: Little Dictators
07.06.09: Nostalgia Trip
07.05.09: Battle Lines
07.03.09: In Spite of Myself
07.01.09: Child's Play
07.01.09: Pre-Blog Work
06.25.09: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
06.24.09: Spoilsport
06.22.09: Perfect Pairs
06.20.09: People in New Houses...
06.19.09: The Beauty of a Park
06.18.09: Aloysius is Missed
06.17.09: Home Front
06.16.09: Textile Psychology
06.15.09: The Beauty of a Park
06.14.09: Why Plant Your Own?
06.13.09: Lost Loves
06.11.09: Dickens is Funny
06.09.09: Auto Pilot
06.08.09: Romance Is Dead
06.06.09: Dog Days
06.04.09: Worst Case Scenario
06.03.09: Evil Ms
06.02.09: Doom
06.01.09: Why This blog?
03.02.09: Standard Operating Procedure
01.21.09: Rebooting the Festival Marketplace
11.19.08: The Brooklyn Children's Museum
10.01.08: JetBlue Terminal 5 (and TWA Terminal)
04.16.08: Will Miss Brooklyn Bow Out?
07.05.07: Don't Call David Adjaye A Starchitect
05.28.07: Fantasy Island
10.09.05: Married with Tchotchkes
05.18.03: When Buildings Became Pin-Ups

Design Matters Interview

Alexandra Lange and Jane Thompson

In this podcast interview with Debbie Millman, Alexandra Lange and Jane Thompson discuss their new book, the store Design Research, creating the power of imagination, Marimekko, Sir Lady Jane and Benjamin Thompson.

Other Essays

An Anatomy of Uncriticism
Print, February 2012

I Hate My Coffemaker
GourmetLive, November 30, 2011

A Serving of Style
GourmetLive, November 16, 2011

Table Dressing
T Magazine, November 6, 2011

Paper Tiger
Architect's Newspaper, November 2, 2011

Commentary: The World of Online Interiors
Architectural Record, October 2011

Elegant Solution
Metropolis Magazine, September 2011

The Search for the Perfect Fork
GourmetLive, August 31, 2011

“Why’s This So Good?” No. 9: Herbert Muschamp builds a metaphor
Nieman Storyboard, August 23, 2011

Dieter Rams: Less But Better
Architect's Newspaper, July 6, 2011

Going Back Outside (Again)
Metropolis Magazine, June 2011

Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
GOOD, May 27, 2011

High Fiber
T: The New York Times Design Magazine, May 1, 2011

Lake Effect
Architectural Digest, April 2011

A House Grows in Brooklyn 2011
Dwell, March 2011

Whatever Happened to the Dinner Party?
GourmetLive, February 10, 2011

The Moms Aren't Wrong
GOOD, February 1, 2011

What Next?: Criticism
Architectural Record, January 2011

Sidewalk Sale
New City Reader, November 2010

The Opulent Modernism of Warren Platner
Dwell, November 2010

The Architecture of Food
GourmetLive, October 28, 2010

Harry Weese's Pieces
Architect's Newspaper, October 22, 2010

People in Glass Houses
Financial Times Weekend, October 15, 2010

Hands Off the Icons
Dwell, October 2010

The Zootopian
T Magazine, September 30, 2010

Blue Sky Thinking
Metropolis Magazine, June 16, 2010

The Visceralist
Metropolis Magazine, May 12, 2010

Hole Earth Catalog
NYT Op-Ed, March 21, 2010

As the Tide Turns
Architect's Newspaper, February 4, 2010

Hands-On: The Gropius Touch
The Moment, January 20, 2010

Original Gossip Girls
New York Magazine, November 1, 2009

Fantasy Island
New York Magazine, May 28, 2007

The Next White
New York Magazine, May 13, 2007

Extending the Legacy
Metropolis Magazine, November 8, 2006

Once a Teardown, a Modernist Gem Is Reborn
The New York Times, November 2, 2006

Family Comes First
Metropolis Magazine, July 17, 2006

Building the (New) New York
New York Magazine, May 28, 2006

No Laughing Matter
Metropolis, January 2006

Brand Central Station
Metropolis, November 2005

This New House
New York Magazine, May 21, 2005

The Manhattanization of Brooklyn
New York Magazine, May 23, 2004


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Above the Pavement — the Farm!
Amale Andraos & Dan Wood

America's Kitchens
Nancy Carlisle & Melinda Talbot Nasardinov

Guide to Easier Living
Mary & Russel Wright

A Pattern Language
Christopher Alexander

Exquisite Corpse
Michael Sorkin

The Spoils of Poynton
Henry James