Architectural Conjecture | Urban Speculation | Landscape Futures


BLDGBLOG (“building blog”) was launched in 2004 by Geoff Manaugh. Its goal is 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.

Manaugh is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the author of A Burglar’s Guide to the City, on the relationship between crime and architecture. A Burglar’s Guide to the City was a New York Times-bestseller for two months, and, in 2016, was optioned for television by CBS Studios. It was also chosen by Amazon.com as one of their “Best Books of 2016.”

In 2009, The BLDGBLOG Book, based on the blog, was released by Chronicle Books; it was chosen by Amazon.com as one of their “Best Books of 2009.” In 2013, because of BLDGBLOG, Wired named Manaugh one of “the 18 people who will tell you everything you need to know about design.”


Manaugh regularly covers issues related to cities, design, crime, infrastructure, and technology for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The New Yorker, New Scientist, The Daily Beast, Cabinet Magazine, and many other publications. His 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 his profile of an experimental intelligence-gathering operation at the Los Angeles International Airport, published by The Atlantic, was optioned for development by Lionsgate Television.

His short story “Ernest,” published by VICE in October 2017, is currently being adapted for film by Netflix, with Christopher Landon attached to direct. His October 2018 horror story “Summerland,” also published by VICE, was optioned for film, as well, with news forthcoming.


Manaugh is former co-director of Studio-X NYC, an off-campus event space and urban futures think tank run by the architecture department at Columbia University. He has also been Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo (2013-2014), a Contributing Editor at Wired UK (2009-2013), and Senior Editor of Dwell (2007-2009).

His 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 forthcoming 2020 Venice Biennale. He has 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 he has lectured at venues and events around the world, including the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Australian National Architecture Conference, the Bartlett School of Architecture, the Bauhaus Universität, the University of Pennsylvania, Google SPAN, and Harvard GSD, among many others.

He has also 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.


Manaugh is currently working on a book about the history and future of quarantine, co-authored with New Yorker writer Nicola Twilley, to be published in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and, in Britain, by Macmillan.


The opinions expressed here are his own; they do not reflect the views of his 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.]