Category Archives: Reviews

Book, exhibition, and event reviews

What If The Hunter-Gatherers Had It Right?

Itaipu Dam

Imagine it is 2114 and you are an astronaut–or even a resident–on the moon, floating a few feet above the dusty, gray surface. With a pair of ultra-powered Google Glasses you zoom in on areas of the Earth to voyeuristically observe human beings What are they doing? How do their homes look? What are they eating? How are communities assembled? What present-day inequities have evaporated?Continue Reading

Reawakening Architecture through ‘Sensing Spaces’


I’ve been jaded with the architecture industry. Finding myself immersed in an insular community with deep competition between ego-driven personalities, I went through the training and licensing process vigorously to only emerge with the question, “Is this really what it’s all about?”

The humanitarian design community was a welcome relief. Tackling wicked issues drew people from all walks of life who wanted to share, collaborate, and grow together. I’ve slowly immersed myself over the years in this community of do-good designers and distanced myself from traditional practice.

At times I miss the strong sense of community backed by centuries of experience and traditions–the sweet comfort of a well-oiled professional machine.Continue Reading

Book Review: Design for an Empathic World by Sim Van der Ryn


Discovering the Connections Between People, Nature, and Self

An email with the subject “Are architecture grads prepared for the real world?” arrived in my inbox this past autumn. Intrigued and also a bit skeptical, I opened it and read about a forthcoming book entitled Design for an Empathic World by Sim Van der Ryn. I wasn’t familiar with Mr. Van der Ryn so, naturally, I Googled his name and saw that he had a rich history in California’s architecture scene, including teaching at UC Berkeley, serving as California State Architect, and working extensively on ecological design. Seeing that a lot of his work aligned with my interests, I responded with, “I’d love to read the book and write a review.”Continue Reading

Pushing and Pulling at the Edges of Architecture


What does the future entail for architects? How can we adapt, progress and continue to be relevant in a world where at times we appear so behind? This question is being discussed and addressed in a multitude of articles, books, panels, exhibits, and even blogs around the globe. Every day I read, watch, listen, or see at least one that is addressing these issues.

It’s a daunting question, and one that’s not always best tackled by the people within the profession who are adhering to the rules, following the well-worn path, and ‘drinking the Kool-Aid.’

Rory Hyde’s Future Practice: Conversations from the Edge of Architecture is one source that encompasses seventeen different approaches, trajectories, and methodologies that provoke new possibilities and thinking.Continue Reading

Insight from Academia: The Evolving Profession of a Social Impact Designer

An email from the NEA with a list of Social Impact Design webinars flew into my inbox and I saw that the last one was on education. “Oh, great,” I thought. “More theoretical bullshit, siloed thinking, and disconnected projects.”

But I was wrong (and ignorant,) and I am VERY happy to say that.Continue Reading