My passion for architecture, design, and urban planning was sparked by the discovery of Brasília — the City of the Future — in an old copy of National Geographic when I was in grade four.

Those two domes and the original “twin towers” thrilled me. This was the future! I knew then where I wanted to travel to when I grew up!

Here’s what started it all:

That one article convinced me that Oscar Niemeyer was a demigod and that architecture was an important and intriguing subject.

My interest in design, culture and the environment grew when I saw images of Montréal’s expo 67 in other magazines. More visions of the future …


My love-hate relationship with Japan (I’ve lost count, but I think I’ve travelled to Japan at least 15 times and lived in Tokyo for a year) began with Japan’s answer to Montreal: Expo ’70: “Progress and Harmony for Mankind” in Osaka. I fell for Kenzo Tange and Taro Okamoto …



(Arthur Erickson, Le Corbusier, and Richard Meier are other gurus of mine.)

Over the years I’ve travelled a fair bit, making architectural pilgrimages and delving into other cultures, teaching myself about some of the things you’ll find in my blog. I believe in lifelong learning!




I hope you’ll enjoy my visual scrapbook and perhaps learn a few new things or be tempted to research them yourself.

I believe that we’re now living in a “snippet culture,” so I try to keep my writing to a minimum and let the images, videos, and links speak for themselves.

I’m trying to act as a web editor, finding the best links to expand the topics of my posts.

I try to reference all the images I use that aren’t mine: most of the images on designKULTUR click back to their source. Please let me know if I’ve overlooked your credit.




P.S. About the name of my blog: as my interest in architecture blossomed as a child, I found the Bauhaus to be an inspiration. The German spelling of “culture” in designKULTUR is my homage to that generation of European designers who had such a tremendous influence on design, culture + environment.



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  1. Hi Michael,
    I have used your site as a reference for my thesis. Thank you very much for the wealth of information! I was wondering if you could email me your full name so that I can cite it properly.
    I was also wondering about a photo on your about page. The name is venez_e672.jpg
    Is this from Expo 67? It is such a great photo.

    Thanks in advance,
    Sarah Fox

    1. Hello Ms. Fox
      Thanks for writing. I’ve updated my “About” page to include my full name.
      Re the photo – yes, that’s the Venezuelan pavilion @ Expo 67.
      The original source of the photo: http://www.dchillier.com/expoextra/
      Best with your thesis!
      Michael Francis McCarthy

      1. That’s great thanks!

  2. Hi Miguel –
    Thanks for the compliment. I’m not sure which photo you’re referring, but none of Tange Kenzo’s are mine. I usually try to reference every photo I use – did you try clicking on the image you’re interested in? My best guess was that it came from en.wikipedia KENZO TANGE – try there for great CC photos! Best, Michael

  3. Hi Michael,
    Congratulations for this site. It is great!
    I am reaching you because I am editor of a culture magazine and would like to use a picture that you have in your site (
    Kenzo Tange’s Olympic Pools). Is this yours? Would I be given permission to use it?

    i would very much appreciate it .
    Thank you
    Miguel Conde

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