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'A Burglar's Guide to the city', a look at how architecture and burglary complement one another




Cover art to the book, 'A Burglar's Guide to the City'.
Cover art to the book, 'A Burglar's Guide to the City'.

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The art of architecture calls to mind blueprints, floor plans and design...

But what about burglary?

Surprisingly, the two go hand in hand, according to Geoff Manaugh.

Manaugh launched the popular architecture blog, BLDGBLOG in 2004 and has since written two books centered around architecture.

His latest book, "A Burglar's guide to the city" details just how closely burglary and architecture complement one another.

Interview highlights

On the relationship between architecture and burglary:

"What's really interesting about burglary is that it's such an architectural crime. Both in the legal sense that you can't be a burglar unless you're inside a building but then also in the way that burglary engages with our buildings and with our cities is of way revealing possibilities that homeowners or every day civilians may not notice. So they find things, little details like places to hide, even a hand hold to get up to the second floor...they have such a strategic or sort of tactical relationship to architecture."

On how L.A.'s city layout inspires crime:

"Los Angeles, where we are today is a great example of that. There is basically a type of business here that's known in law enforcement as a 'stop and rob', it's a pretty literal phrase. It's a business that's at the bottom of an off-ramp and an on-ramp. And so, that sounds very convenient for a commuter you know if you're heading home from work and you need to deposit a check really quickly you can just pull off and do it, but if you're a bank robber you can also just pull off. You can stop and rob."

In addition to the criminal connection to architecture, Manaugh explores famous burglary cases and thieves in his book. Below is an excerpt about George Leonidas Leslie, a professionally trained architect turned thief who went on to pull off some of the most elaborate heists.

A Burglar's Guide to the City excerpt

To hear the full segment, click the blue play button above.