Tag: opinion

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On January 21 President Joe Biden released the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. In this document, he calls for a collaborative effort in which “federal government works with states, cities, Tribal communities, and private industry to increase supply and administer testing and the vaccines that will help reopen schools and businesses safely.” He continues to promise that “Equity will also be central to our strategy”. He acknowledges the great challenge but says he believes “that a true national strategy will take all of us working together.” Biden links collaboration with gender and racial equity, and his […] Read More

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Is your building immoral? You are probably thinking that this is a silly question; buildings are inanimate structures and morality is the uniquely human capacity for judgment and empathy. So, how could a building be measured by moral standards? How could it have, or lack, values? Let me share an example. Just a few weeks ago a new sign with a large capital letter D was posted in my apartment building entry. I found out that a new local law (33/95) requires every building over 25,000 square feet to post its Energy Star Score.  Nearly 70% of greenhouse emissions in […] Read More

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I was recently confronted with an ethical dilemma that I did not know how to address. Yes, it was one of those small, somewhat privileged dilemmas, but nevertheless, I would really like to hear your thoughts on this question (join the conversation on Facebook). Last week, a friend who is a real estate broker called me. She had a potential client who was considering buying an apartment in need of renovation.  She asked if I would be willing to meet this buyer to discuss the renovation design process and costs. Coincidentally, we are doing a large renovation in this exact […] Read More

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"For this reason, I am making a pledge, and I hope others will join. If I receive funding from the CARES Act PPP that allows me to keep my staff on payroll for the next two months, my firm will dedicate a significant portion of the additional work time toward architectural work that does good for the world.” Read More

Originally published on Archinect “At the end of February, a surprising decision by a state judge revoked the approval for the top 20 floors of 200 Amsterdam Avenue, a market-rate, luxury, residential building on the Upper West Side in New York.  “The developers amassed air rights, using a zoning loophole to create a 39-sided lot. While the city clarified that these zoning lots will no longer be allowed, it nevertheless sided with the developer to challenge this ruling. Despite the zoning gerrymandering that went into the design and approval of the 52-story building, few would have imagined that after receiving the required […] Read More

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Originally published in Ms. Magazine “I am sitting on the carpeted floor in our local Barnes & Noble and looking through Ivanka Trump’s new book, Women Who Work. (I can’t bring myself to buy it.) Trump tells us that her book is a “manual for architecting the life you want to live,” and she uses architectural metaphors throughout the book—urging women to “plot a plan for success” so that “your life’s blueprint reflects your foundational values.” “As an architect, I love the way architectural terms quietly sneak into everyday language. Perhaps because dwelling and shelter are among the most primal of human […] Read More

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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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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

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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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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

Originally Published: Lilith Magazine “After months of architectural design, bidding, negotiations and city approvals, we finally entered the site for our first weekly construction meeting. The general contractor had started the demolition, and I was excited to see the bare space, its walls and other distractions removed, and to imagine the place as we’d designed it. Richard and I entered the apartment for the meeting. Raymond, our general contractor, was late, but the new site manager was waiting for us. When he noticed us, he walked over to Richard, a graying man of around 60, shook his hand and introduced […] Read More