Reading Room

There Is Something About Pier 17

The South Street Seaport is close to the Financial District, whose silver teeth mark the edge of Manhattan. However, the Seaport is a world apart from the Financial District in terms of its architecture. The Seaport area features some of the oldest, 19th Century commercial architecture in downtown Manhattan. These are low humble buildings in [...]

Washington Square Park

Written for Akiko Busch’s Spring 2013 Class Reading Design.


Everyone takes pleasure in moments of solitude. To some, it is a way of pausing in the amidst of events and enjoying lonesome; others enjoy the focus it can offer or the chance to forget everything and probe the emptiness of the space they create. This can denote privacy or something else. It is the [...]

Diamonds in the Jungle

For the winter holidays, Bvlgari, Harry Winston, and Cartier decided to design their Christmas decorations with the idea of creating exciting gifts for those who can’t afford the experience of owning expensive diamonds. The three jewelers have turned part of the Fifth avenue sidewalks into a whimsical Jungle Wonderland – there is one snake, two [...]

The Beauty of a Cat and a Cup

Beauty. It’s a simple word, only six letters in length. For such a small word it does the work of a plethora. Beauty as a descriptor is as much about the object it is attributed to as the story the object tells. It incorporates physicality with memories and associations, denoting the qualities of those things [...]

It’s Personal

My grandmother, like many other aging ladies, happens to like fake flowers. She believes that they are beautiful and has a good collection of them decorating her apartment. When asked to explain her love for the artificial flowers, she says real flowers are too expensive. I argue that she could easily pick some from my [...]

Phenomenal Beauty

Shopping for an object of beauty seemed like a simple enough assignment. But that day at Muji and Pearl River amidst thousands of objects — a virtual beauty pageant of stuff — it was not coming easily. I wanted to select an object that was not just a token. I didn’t want a metaphor. I [...]

Signs of Change

A construction worker astride a bright yellow truck hollers at us as we emerge from the ferry. “Ladies, are you lost?,”  he bellows. “There,” he points to a sign. It quickly became apparent that the Long Island City waterfront is one big construction zone these days. Mesh fences, makeshift signage and [...]

Eventually Everything: Conference Introduction

Good afternoon.
When I first began teaching in the D-Crit progam, a few people asked me what in the world was I thinking. Magazines were dying like flies. Newspapers were decimating their culture sections and firing their arts critics. The journalism world had become dog-eat-dog. As a dog with a job, did I really want to [...]

Fly-By Worship: The Typology of the Airport Chapel

Airports have often been characterized as “non-places.” Their architecture may differ on the outside, but the skin merely conceals the same combination of restaurants, shops, restrooms and gates on the inside. While the building itself serves as a connector between you and your destination, one space transcends the otherwise transient airport: the airport chapel. Approximately [...]

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