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Originally published on Huffington Post “I alone can fix this” Trump promised during the 2016 Republican convention, but his first 100 days may have taught him that governing is a collaborative project and even a president cannot fix things alone. "Trump joins a long western tradition that idealizes the genius who works alone in business, science and art. Architects have embraced this Romantic archetype of the lone, most likely male, creator. But on May 20th the Pritzker Prize, which is considered the highest award in architecture, will be given for the first time to a team of three architects, Rafael... Read More

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What is a home? Is it a place or an idea? Is our home the destination we yearn for on a long journey, or the childhood origin from which we travel? The home structures the way that we live and is structured by the cultural norms around us. And yet as these homes we inhabit create the necessary environment for dwelling and for Bachelard’s "daydreaming," they also inhibit other forms of domesticity. It is only in the estrangement that is created by art, the shock of the uncanny, and the awareness of our embodied reaction to our dwellings, that we... Read More

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Published: Psychoanalytic Review, October 2016. Abstract: Psychoanalysis has long been interested in the creative process, and yet architecture has rarely been studied from a psychoanalytic perspective. This paper examines the creative process of architecture in which the space between an existing problem and a physical, occupiable building is bridged. I follow the story of Daedalus, the mythic first architect, and suggest that the architect's creativity depends on the ability to utilize multiple modalities of the human mind and body and to allow them to converse with one another in what Philip Bromberg called a moment of “standing in the spaces.”I... Read More

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Published: The Huffington Post In this animated video Op-Ed, Esther Sperber shares her thoughts on how architecture can solve problems, namely the transgender bathroom wars. The idea came about as a response to the passing of House Bill 2 in North Carolina, which effectively banned those who identify as transgender from using public restrooms that were labeled for use by a specific gender. Her proposal is to change the way bathrooms are labeled. Instead of being distinguished by gender, bathrooms should be labeled by size. Not only would this be more appropriate for those who don't identify as either male... Read More

Publisher: Karnac Books Foreword by Esther Sperber: "A foreword is a collection of words that comes before; the text one encounters when opening the cover of a new book. A foreword is an invitation to follow the author on a journey of insights and ideas. Like a journey, a book also begins with hope of seeing new places, experiencing strange cultures, and discovering hidden aspects of ourselves. The foreword anticipates this voyage, sets expectations, and maps the road that will soon unfold. "Books, like journeys, have many different styles. Some books take us on a business-like trip – efficient, productive,... Read More

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Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space explores the effect of attention on our sense of space and of place’s qualities on our attention. Bachelard writes that the house shelters daydreaming and protects dreamers, therefore contemplating home should help us understand an important intersection between our patients’ embodied psyches and their cultural experience. This presentation will reflect on the meaning of home as habitat, person, place, memory, play, projection, and sometimes prison. Read More

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How do disciplines interact? How does one field affect, question and transform another? Is knowledge from one area of study applicable to others? In this chapter I will explore a potential overlap between relational psychoanalysis and the understanding of the architectural experience, both as a creative design process and the phenomenology of inhabiting and dwelling within the architectural space. Relational psychoanalysis has brought to the fore a new attention to the mutuality of the therapy process, contending that we discover our own minds only through the intersubjective field that is shared with others; a view that exposes the interdependence of... Read More

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Originally published in Lilith Magazine "I was sitting at my office desk, Thursday morning, March 31, multitasking as usual; checking my email, drafting plans for my sister’s apartment renovation in Tel Aviv, logging data into my bookkeeping software, and (I confess) checking Facebook once in a while. I scrolled through the feed of vacation photos, op eds and political comedy when I suddenly caught my breath – Zaha Hadid had died of a heart attack, age 65. "I’ve been thinking about Hadid’s death since its startling appearance in my Facebook feed. Had you asked me on Wednesday who my architectural... Read More

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Originally published: Hillel Office of Innovation "What is a Jewish home? What makes a home Jewish and what makes a Jewish space a home? You might be thinking, “We all know what a home is, so let’s focus on the Jewish aspect,” but as an architect, I think questioning the meaning of a home is central to the topic of this salon. "When I think of my home, I think of a personal space, away from the noise of culture, a place in which I can shape my own surroundings. But a home is also always part of the fabric... Read More

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It was a pleasure to speak to Professor Paul Glassman's architecture students at Yeshiva University about designing synagogues. The class was engaged and enthusiastic and I hope that I was able to express why I find architecture to be both fun and meaningful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q7fMVpUD8Q&t=2s Read More

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Originally presented at the Manifesto Fest, Psychology and the Other Conference, October 10, 2015 "We live in a fast world. We eat fast, travel fast, read fragments of stories with great rapidity. And then we realize that in this haste we have lost something valuable. "The slow movement, which started with slow food in the mid-eighties, expanded to slow reading (read every word), slow travel (notice the beauty of the wild flower field) and slow schooling (respond to each child). These slow movements share an appreciation of the pleasure and connoisseurship that come with slowing down. "We can now add Slow Therapy... Read More

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In a lecture titled “Architecture and its Pasts” Mark Cousins, an architectural historian and theorist, asked provocatively why young architects need to study the history of architecture. If architecture is about finding solutions to social, technological and cultural problems - why do we care about the Greek orders or the architecture of the Quattrocento? Cousins’ goes on to compare architecture to medicine and law, two other professions that emerged in the 19th century, and wonders if anyone would suggest that the training of doctors should include learning the medical procedures of the middle ages. Like architecture, the profession of psychoanalysis... Read More

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Originally published in The New York Jewish Week "We are in the season of the High Holy Days, when many Jews will be spending significant time in the synagogue. As an architect, I have had a number of opportunities to design synagogues, forcing me to think about the spatial and phenomenological aspects of communal prayer. [Jewish Week staff writer Steve Lipman addressed some of these issues in a Sept. 11 article, “The Shape Of Worship To Come.”] "The synagogue’s primary function is what happens in its sanctuary, the space in which the congregation prays together. But there is a basic... Read More

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In this podcast, Esther speaks about her path to founding Studio ST Architects, and provides an overview of the firm's notable projects, ranging from competition designs and high-end apartment renovations to affordable housing and institutional community work. Read More

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Preface In this lecture I will reflect on two seemly separate questions: Why do we pray in a communal setting as well as the design implications that follow from this specific activity?And how do we create, invent and think of new ideas? I hope I can answer these questions using my experience of designing synagogue spaces, my understanding of the architectural creative process and theories of gender and collaboration or what I like calling “Relational Creativity”. The question of Synagogue Design In the last few years I have had a number of opportunities to design synagogues. Unlike  churches or mosques,... Read More

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Esther Sperber spoke at the American Psychoanalytic Association Annual Meeting workshop on psychoanalysis. APsaA website Read More

Published in the journal Psychoanalytic Psychology Abstract: Hans Loewald’s understanding of sublimation differs radically from Freud’s use of this term. Whereas Freud saw sublimation as a change of aim, elevating drive-based desire to a higher level of art, for Loewald, sublimation is a process of linking two experiences of reality. I suggest that Loewald’s sublimation combines ideas from his two teachers—Martin Heidegger and Sigmund Freud. Using Heidegger’s terms building and dwelling, I argue that architecture is always a sublimatory product, combining a rational, functional reality of building with a phenomenological experience of inhabiting space and dwelling. I described how this concept of sublimation... Read More

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Originally published on Archinect EXCITE "Rem Koolhaas, chief curator of the 2014 Venice Biennale, managed to excite us, again forcing us to rethink the Elements and Fundamentals of architecture. For me, this is the first time I felt a real desire to visit the show, which I have always imagined to be more like an amusement park for new design. INSIGHT "So why am I, along with many others, intrigued by this year's event?  One may agree with Peter Eisenmanthat architecture is a language, while Koolhaas's exhibition presents only words, neglecting the grammar of a cultural discourse; or perhaps Libeskind's words resonate with us, calling for a... Read More

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Esther Sperber participated in University of Massachusetts Amherst's lecture series in the spring of 2014. She spoke about Studio ST's work over the past 10 years, focusing on the design and collaboration process of the firm's work. Read More