Up Front

  • the enemy within, part 2

    In our last issue, I wrote about the divide between commercial architects and residential practitioners—about how the former sometimes regard the latter as the lesser professionals. Well, I'm afraid there's also a schism within the residential practice itself—between the custom architect and the...

  • the enemy within

    It's time architects of every discipline understand residential architecture for what it really is: everyone's most intimate connection with architecture.

  • both sides now

    I've been talking with residential architects about the difficulty of making services affordable to a wider range of clients. Apparently the excuse that the American public doesn't appreciate what architects do is getting weaker and weaker. More and more architects are turning away work. Why...

  • object lesson

    Roll up your sleeves and take out your digital cameras, I've got an assignment for you. I want you to proceed to your nearest subdivision of new homes, find the ugliest house you can, and photograph it. Then I want you to do a little write-up explaining why it's ugly.

  • reinventing the american house

    So much money goes into bringing houses to market, so much financial burden to bear, it's no wonder builders are risk adverse. And so they aim for the perceived mainstream with designs that are only slightly tweaked over the years. They cling to conventional wisdom as if their lives depended on it...

  • where's the architect?

    I'm not sure which is worse, a builder-tweaked plan house or a client's kit-of-parts house, cobbled together by a general contractor's in-house draftsperson. At least with the plan house I can imagine an architect started the whole ball rolling at some point in its history.

  • a glass half full

    One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year is a set of small wine tumblers. Etched across the midpoint of each glass is a white line with the words "ottimista" above and "pessimista" below.

  • the dangers of digital cameras

    When karaoke machines came out, suddenly everyone thought he was Frank Sinatra. Now digital cameras are clicking up a storm, and everyone thinks he's Ansel Adams.

  • the name game

    When journalists observe something unusual, they make a mental note of it. If they see it again, they think they've discovered a trend. Three times, and they'll probably write about it.

  • ready, set, practice

    In this issue, we look at five fresh firms still very much absorbed in finding their way.

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