School as a Magic Box

I’ve been feeling sad and angry and afraid and finally I wrote this for my first year architecture students who are designing a school for a fictional site in Manhattan. This is the studio course in which they learn about the integration of program and form—they are dealing with a complex program for the first... Continue Reading →

Tap Your Reptilian Brain

Design teachers have known forever that architecture is best made in a state of distraction. Knowing all the facts about site and program will only get designers so far. At some point we need to go forth confidently and make those design decisions without sweating the blow by blow requirements of the project. Words like... Continue Reading →

Party Like It’s 1999

My film and architecture project involves looking at film as if it were architecture and looking at architecture as if it were film; it also relies, in part, on the work of neurobiologist Antonio Damasio. I first knew of Damasio when he spoke at Sundance in January 2000. He was wearing light colored pants, I... Continue Reading →


Just for fun, a remake of Foucault quoting Borges quoting a “certain Chinese encyclopedia in which animals of the world are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with... Continue Reading →

Three Fore-Sites

  In other words, the thing that comes be-fore, that teases out the site design. I’ve made use of this Old English prefix in studio as fore-plans and fore-sections, as architecture representation devices called on to negotiate between forms grown and forms made. There’s an aliveness in the things produced for the mid-review, bundles of... Continue Reading →

What is that thing???

This contraption was parked in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights. I was driving; one of my passengers said “look” and took this photo. It looks like it was parked, like it had been driven there sometime after the morning sweepers came through—come to think of it, it does look like a cross between a... Continue Reading →

Learning from Kubrick

In studio this week I brought up the idea of an “architecture narrative”—a way to mentally walk through the development of a project. Where does the architecture narrative come from? Do I give my students a reliable one so that they are immediately productive? Do I encourage them to develop their own and risk having... Continue Reading →

“Looks Like a Fried Egg”

Undergraduates LOVE to get into graduate courses and I was no different; it makes one feel anointed, intellectually worthy. And so it was that I found myself in a set design course at the Yale Drama School, a course taught by the great opera set designer Ming Cho Lee (co-taught at the time with Michael... Continue Reading →

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