Dezeen Magazine

Barbican apartment designed by John Pawson

"A perfect place for a person with lots to think about"

This week, commenters are debating if John Pawson has taken minimalism too far in an apartment interior and think designers' role in improving safety needs defining.

Paws off: while readers are positive about both John Pawson and the Barbican estate, their comments on this pared-back apartment suggest they are unsure whether the two mix.

"This crossover seems to verge on clinical rather than minimal," pondered dcbzyxkji. "Maybe the original apartment had been so heavily modified his office had nothing to draw from?"

"As a Pawson fan usually, there is minimal and then there is boring. This is boring!" said rob.

LoveYourHairHopeYouWin also felt the design took minimalism too far: "I love John Pawson, but this looks like a showroom in progress."

"All new builds look like this," defended mark mcivor. "Then people move in. Nothing new here other than a slick refurb."

Christopher Osborn also saw the positives: "A perfect place for a person with lots to think about."

This reader had bigger concerns:

Could you live in a house like this? Join the discussion ›

Fruitport High School by Tower Pinkster
Fruitport High School by Tower Pinkster

Learning lessons: this week's most argumentative comment thread involved debate on the causes of school shootings, with many commenters saying that designing schools to reduce the impact of violence is not a solution.

"You can't design away a social problem as terrible and deep-seated as gun violence," argued tyrannosaurus_rek.

"Mass shootings are not an architectural problem," agreed Troels Steenholdt Heiredal. "The solution has to come from lawmakers not architects."

Neil A.Evans felt more strongly: "Anyone that tells you this is architecture is lying. This is cashing in on a gun crisis."

Other commenters were critical of the design itself. "Does anyone else see the issue with glass covered in a bullet-proof film?" Guest commenter asked, before explaining: "Police snipers outside can't 'immobilise' the assailant therefore you have to push police enforcement officers into a situation where they could possibly be shot themselves!"

"What a horrible design failure," declared Danillo. "This literally looks just like a first-person shooter video game, with ample areas for the shooter to seek cover."

"For all kinds of reasons this must be the saddest story on Dezeen this year," said

One commenter, however, focused solely on the design:

What role should design play in reducing the impact of tragedies? Join the discussion ›

Tiny Tower office by SO&CO in Tokyo, Japan
Tiny Tower office by SO&CO in Tokyo, Japan

Concrete proposal: A skinny concrete office building occupying a small alleyway between two buildings has brought out our readers' sarcastic sides.

"Congratulations to the neighbours who once had some light from the courtyard and are now staring into a wall," said Philip.

Chris D pointed out more practical problems: "Cleaning the windows must be fun."

Others disagreed over the impact squeezing buildings into small spaces has on the environment. "It's scary how, given the climate change emergency, instead of trying to revive open spaces and reduce density, architects and developers still strive for endless building activity, even in the tiniest little pockets of air within a city," began Anthi Valavani.

"Density is the best thing for the environment," countered Chance Paul Stillman, with agreement from Eric: "How would increasing the amount of open space and reducing density help solve climate change?" he asked. "Those only further the exact opposite of your stated goal – making the most efficient possible use of available space is the best thing one can do for sustainability."

This commenter shared their priorities:

Could you work here? Join the discussion ›