Geoff Manaugh

Geoff 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. According to, it was one of their “Best Books of 2016.”

Manaugh regularly covers issues related to cities, design, crime, infrastructure, and technology for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New YorkerNew Scientist, The Daily Beast, Wired, Wired UK, 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 development as a feature film for Sony Pictures’ Studio 8. His 2017 profile of an experimental intelligence-gathering unit at the Los Angeles International Airport, published by The Atlantic, was optioned for development by Lionsgate Television.

Manaugh’s short story “Ernest,” published by VICE in October 2017, is currently being adapted for film by Legendary Entertainment, with Christopher Landon attached to direct. 

Since 2004, Manaugh has been the author of BLDGBLOG (“building blog”), exploring architecture and the built environment through an expansive lens, including technology, literature, crime, history, archaeology, acoustics, science fiction, warfare, subterranean space, the planetary sciences, and more.

In 2009, The BLDGBLOG Book, based on the blog, was released by Chronicle Books; it was also chosen by as one of their “Best Books of 2009.”

In 2013,Wired named Manaugh one of “the 18 people who will tell you everything you need to know about design.”

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 been Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo (2013-2014), a Contributing Editor at Wired UK (2009-2013), and Senior Editor of Dwell (2007-2009).

Manaugh’s 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, and the University of Southern California.

He has taught graduate architectural 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, the Strelka Institute, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, among many others.

He has 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 writer Nicola Twilley, to be published in the U.S. by MCD Books, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and, in Britain, by Macmillan.

He can be contacted via the name of his blog (BLDGBLOG) at gmail dot com.

[All images 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.]