BLDGBLOG (“building blog”) was launched in 2004 by Geoff Manaugh. Its goal has been to explore topics related to architecture and the built environment through a lens of technology, literature, crime, history, archaeology, acoustics, science fiction, subterranean space, warfare, the planetary sciences, and more.
I am a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, author of the New York Times-bestselling book A Burglar’s Guide to the City, and, with Nicola Twilley, co-author of Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine. In 2016, A Burglar’s Guide to the City was optioned for television by CBS Studios, and was chosen by Amazon.com as one of their “Best Books of 2016.” Until Proven Safe was named one of the the Best Books of 2021, according to Time Magazine, NPR, the Financial Times, and the Guardian.
In 2009, The BLDGBLOG Book, based on this blog, was released by Chronicle Books; it was chosen by Amazon.com as one of their “Best Books of 2009.”
I regularly cover issues related to cities, crime, design, infrastructure, and technology for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, WIRED, The Guardian, Financial Times Magazine, The New Yorker, New Scientist, The MIT Technology Review, The Daily Beast, and Cabinet Magazine, among many other publications. My 2016 feature for The Daily Beast, about a Los Angeles bank robber allegedly sent overseas to plot heists against al Qaeda, was optioned for film by Sony Pictures’ Studio 8, and my profile of an experimental intelligence-gathering operation at the Los Angeles International Airport, published by The Atlantic, was optioned for development by Lionsgate Television.
My short story “Ernest,” published by VICE in October 2017, was adapted as a feature film by Netflix, under the title We Have A Ghost, directed by Christopher Landon. We Have A Ghost was the #1 Netflix movie in the world for three consecutive weeks, and reached #1 in 69 different countries. My October 2018 horror story “Summerland,” also published by VICE, was optioned for film, with news forthcoming.
Professionally, I am also former co-director, with Nicola Twilley, of Studio-X NYC, an off-campus event space and urban futures think tank run by the architecture department at Columbia University. I have also worked as Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo (2013-2014), Contributing Editor at Wired UK (2009-2013), and Senior Editor of Dwell (2007-2009).
My design collaborations with the London-based architectural practice Smout Allen have been exhibited at the 2014 Venice Biennale of Architecture, the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the University of Southern California, and the pandemic-delayed 2021 Venice Biennale. I have taught graduate design studios at Columbia University (2010-2013), the University of California, Berkeley (2018-2019), the University of Southern California (2010), and SCI-Arc (2017), and I continue to lecture at venues and events around the world, including the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Australian National Architecture Conference, the Berggruen Institute, the Bartlett School of Architecture, the Bauhaus Universität, the University of Pennsylvania, Google SPAN, the Strelka Institute, MIT, Harvard GSD, and many others.
I have contributed essays to multiple books, exhibition catalogs, and artist monographs, including publications by photographers David Maisel, Bas Princen, Reuben Wu, Christoph Gielen, and Michael Wolf; artist Ai Weiwei; and architects Philip Beesley and Bjarke Ingels.
The opinions expressed here are my own; they do not reflect the views of my friends, family, editors, employers, publishers, or colleagues, with whom this blog is in no way affiliated.
[All images on this page courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, with the exception of the fault map, which is courtesy of the California Division of Mines and Geology.]