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“Studio ST Architects has recently completed a renovation that transformed a small and dark studio apartment into a cozy and stylish one bedroom apartment. Imagined as a gallery for the client’s collection of Asian art, the minimalist, contemporary Manhattan apartment features stark white walls, bleached wood floors from LV floors, white millwork and recessed gallery style track lights." View original article Read More

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For centuries, the goal of design and Architecture was to create physical and sacred locations for the faithful. Now, religious or “faithful” designers are outwardly and publicly few and far between. Faith in Design will gather graduate students and practitioners together to discuss how religion and design can coexist. How can we bridge the divide between our (secular) design lives and our religious lives? Read More

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"I would like to dedicate this short talk to my dear friend, mentor and teacher, the psychoanalyst Lew Aron, who died last week, way too young. One of the extraordinary aspects of Lew Aron’s theoretical and clinical work was that he chose to integrate his Jewish spiritual tradition into a highly secular psychoanalytic field. He was inspired by his understanding of the relationship of Man and God to emphasize mutuality, despite the inherent asymmetry, in the therapy setting…In Lew's spirit, I want to try to understand how we as architects can each bring our whole, layered and complex self, along...

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“It’s very important for many of these institutions to still be open and allow passerby to come in,” said Esther Sperber, founder of Studio ST Architects. Her firm designed Kesher Synagogue in suburban New Jersey, as well as renovations for a Manhattan Jewish community center, the 14th Street Y. While working on the 14th Street Y, she said, 'they had a very similar debate between openness and the need for security.'" View original article Read More

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"Many of these buildings are quite hierarchical — an elevated front podium, an imposing ark and very high ceilings, and people sit in rows,” Sperber said. “Many synagogues that I know are moving toward an understanding of prayer as a much more egalitarian, communal, shared experience. With some of these buildings, it is a struggle to mitigate between the architecture of the structure and the structure of community as it’s evolving. That’s where the design challenge is.” View original article Read More

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"I had always envisioned Richard Meier to be like his signature white buildings: dignified and stately. And then came the March 13 New York Times story detailing allegations of his sexual harassment and abuse of five women. The #MeToo movement has exposed a widespread pattern of sexual misconduct by powerful men in the arts. Are these so-called “creative geniuses” simply taking advantage of their power and success, or is there a correlation between creativity and abuse? View original article Read More

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"This week Ken, Donna and I are joined by architect and writer Esther Sperber to discuss the very real and serious issue of mental health in architecture. Esther owns Studio ST Architects, a small practice in New York City, and frequently writes about mental health, with a specific focus on psychoanalysis and it’s relationship to architecture. View original article Read More

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The English language has two distinct words that refer to the place of dwelling: “home” and “house”. The term “house” identifies a physical structure that enables domestic activities, but a home is also a mental state characterized by a sense of belonging, protection, love and shelter. A home is a place located between the physical reality and a conceptual idea, between past memories and future aspirations. Home straddles the threshold separating private intimacy and the public world of buildings and culture.” View original article Read More

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“Levitt has a rare ability to integrate insights from the fields of architecture and psychology, revealing the internal processes that enable creative design. Using beautifully narrated vignettes drawn from his teaching and design practice, Listening to Design describes techniques for overcoming creative impasses and finding your own inner passion. It also provides valuable insights for art, design, and architecture educators as well as therapists working with creative clients.”

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https://www.gsd.harvard.edu/publication/seventeen/ 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 bother fun and meaningful.

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"What Freud called melancholia today we call depression, or in the words of Daphne Merkin, “being someone who is… pickled in the brine of self-hatred.” Merkin’s new memoir, This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression, is a project of remembering, repeating and working through a life-long struggle with the dark pull of depression and suicide wishes. For Merkin, depression is a chronic condition from which she is never completely free, but with the help of a hefty combination of medication and therapy she can be “this close to happy,” living a life centered on the love of writing, friendships... Read More