Lego Architecture studio

"Lego for architects? Yes please Santa"

Comments update: with Christmas just a couple of days away, readers have been scouring the pages of Dezeen for gift ideas – including this all-white Lego kit for architects that was released in Europe this year.

The Lego Architecture Studio went on general release in Europe in August, having already proven popular in the US. It has attracted a fresh flurry of comments this week after one reader suggested it would be their ideal present.

"Lego for architects? Yes please Santa," wrote James.

"Pricier than regular blocks, boring (only one colour?) and simpler (without electronic components). It's very appropriate for architects!" added Gustavo Cao Cancio. Read the comments on this story »

Bee'ah HQ by Zaha Hadid

Hadid hat-trick: in the past week we've published two major new Zaha Hadid projects, as well as an interview in which she explained that her tutors at architecture school thought she was a "troublemaker".

The flurry of Hadid-related stories had one commenter wondering if "Dezeen is changing itself into a Zaha fanzine", but the projects proved too interesting to resist and proved as divisive as ever among our readers.

"Haters gonna hate, but I really like this one!" wrote Chris MacDonald of Hadid's sand dune-inspired waste management centre for Sharjah.

"This kind of environment suits her fluid design much better than a downtown setting," added Ariel.

Neil MKE was among the doubters. "Why would an environmental firm sign off on such an enormous waste of materials for a nominal aesthetic?" he asked. "This is disheartening." Read the comments on this story »

Hadid's first Brazilian building – an apartment block in Rio de Janeiro – prompted regular commenter Colonel Pancake to call for an end to attacks on Hadid's style.

"I've stopped resenting Zaha, and you should too," he wrote. "She's audacious enough to maintain strong, unpopular opinions in the face of vocally hateful critics, many of whom are hardly competent enough to spread jam on toast. That gives proof to underlying convictions she finds worth fighting for, which is better than the phoney stump speeches most architects have to offer about 'social responsibility' and other vapid nonsense." Read the comments on this story »

Capacho collection by Campana brothers

Cool for cats: design duo the Campana brothers unveiled their latest range of furniture – a series of wooden storage units covered with a coconut-fibre rug material commonly used for doormats.

Some readers thought the pieces would be more attractive for cats, who like to sharpen their claws on similarly textured surfaces.

"My cat is really into this. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to open the door with no handles and how I'm going to dust these things," wrote james.

"Opening is easy! Put cat in front of door, cat grabs door, use cat as door handle. Cat happy, you happy!" responded M. Vitruvius.

But Thom was baffled by the response: "The use of non-precious material where one might expect an exotic veneer is refreshing, and the palette is restrained and dignified. I'm surprised to see so much negative reaction, can't a designer play around a little?" Read the comments on this story »

Prince Charles

Right royal rumpus: the UK's Prince of Wales first became a controversial figure among architects in the 1980s, after he launched an attack on contemporary architecture during a speech to mark the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

This week Charles waded back into the fray, offering "10 principles" for more sympathetic and environmentally conscious urban masterplanning.

The Liberty Disciple was one of a number of commenters who felt Charles should keep his views to himself: "He should focus his efforts on philanthropic work, as his salary and power come from his subjects. This is 2014, not 1514. It's time to move on from expressed views by the crown."

"Does Prince Charles now think he is Vitruvius?" asked rohtmuz.

"You *could* listen to Charles' views of urban design and architecture. Or you could read the books and works of a professional like Jan Gehl, who similarly argues for a more humane environment but with a vastly better understanding of the subject and how to achieve the desired results," added Nick.

Other readers were less dismissive.

"If you agree with his taste or not, there is little to be against in Charles' 10 points; they're quite sensible. I feel it is more about how to implement these points without making our cities into an open-air museum of historical pastiche," wrote Dikkie SmbersRead the comments on this story »

Africa tallest skyscraper_dezeen_sq

Mordor? Designs for Africa's tallest building – a 540-metre-high skyscraper in Casablanca, Morocco – reminded readers of the lair of Sauron, the evil character in J R R Tolkein's Lord of the Rings novels.

Laurent Batisse was the first to make the connection to Mordor, the region of Tolkein's fictional Middle Earth universe occupied and controlled by the dark lord.

"Are they going to put also the eye over Sauron's tower or do they plan to rent the place to other evil entities?" asked DigitHAL 9000.

"Maybe it's time to do a Modern architecture version of Lord of the Rings. Bag End did have a green roof," suggested timboy.

Others were more concerned with the ethical aspects of the project. "Casablanca has thousands living in poverty," wrote abs. "I wonder if these investors will open their doors to those in need of basic housing and shelter? This is the last thing we need in Morocco, a country that prides itself on traditional architecture." Read the comments on this story »