Latest Articles in Essay

safety first kitchen accessibility function universal design

14 Ways to Make Your Kitchen More Safe and Accessible

If a house is a machine for living, an occasional system update is necessary. Accessibility experts weigh in on how to maximize safety and function—for all ages and abilities—in the kitchen.
March 5, 2016
tuning in acoustic illustration

From Vinyl to Streaming, An Audio Expert Takes Us Through More Than 100 Years of Sound Tech

Sound and vision coalesce to create the ultimate acoustic experiences.
July 3, 2015
workplace shake up office1

The Future of Office Design

What’s the future of office design? We investigate how start-up culture is influencing everything from corporate campuses to contract furniture. See more about Office Environment.
May 24, 2014
Ear illustration by Dan Winters

The World of Sound

You could call it the next frontier of architecture and design, but you have to close your eyes to “see” it. The ear inhabits a space, and captures a place, more acutely than the eye.
November 3, 2012
Two Lines by David Chipperfield Architects

The Design Week Movement

If a movement can be defined as a moment when people across time zones and borders act simultaneously on the same idea, then the design week movement is verifiable. In the last three years, design festivals and design weeks have mushroomed across the U.S. in cities including Columbus, Portland, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Baltimore, and Detroit, as well as abroad, in Beijing, Singapore, Moscow, and Paris.
October 13, 2012
Building a Urban Electric Company lighting fixture

Homeland Ingenuity

How do American companies maintain handcrafted detail while producing fast enough—and in large enough quantities—to satisfy profit margins and consumers accustomed to instant gratification?
September 11, 2012
girl talk essay on modern toys

Girl Talk

The world’s most popular doll, dressed in architect’s garb: friend or foe to a profession already suffering from a pronounced gender gap?
June 27, 2012
intro march 2011

You Are Where You Live

The ads in the real estate section of the Sunday New York Times are a barometer of perceived need: what we think about when we are at our hungriest, our most grasping, our most insecure. Like the Times’ wedding announcements—which are now detailed narratives about love at first sight, missed opportunities, and second chances—the ads are a literary form dealing primarily with desire. With little more than newsprint and ink, they dangle the hope that we will someday carve out a permanent place in this turbulent city. They whisper the word “stability.”
February 27, 2011
bigger is better thumbnail

Bigger is Better

Welcome to the era of the megacity. The world has more big cities than at any time in history, and those cities are larger than they have ever been. There are now more than 30 urban centers with populations in excess of ten million. The biggest megalopolis of all is Tokyo, which clocks in at over 35 million souls, but more than 75—75!—cities boast populations of more than five million. For the first time, the global population is more than 50 percent urban; a century ago that figure stood at only 10 percent. In another 40 years, if demographers are correct, it will jump to a staggering 75 percent. In the words of Rem Koolhaas, the bard of urban bigness, “more than ever, the city is all we have.”
July 26, 2010