Essays

Best of Year 2016

Best of 2016 This year was definitely the worst of times. But resistance to the tail end of the hegemonic order may eventually result in beauty. Just hope we live […]

Look at the Hat

Look at the hat. “Make America Great Again.” It’s no mistake that the letters are white. The real message is “Make America White Again.” Let me revise that. “Make America […]

The Cameras Are New. The Violence is Not.

I cannot bear to watch the videos of the last few days. More black men murdered by police. Police murdered by a former Army veteran. Today I am so sad […]

So Much Fog: Notes on SFMOMA’s New Wing

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art brands its new wing as so much fog—just watch the video on its website and listen to Snøhetta’s lead architect, Craig Dykers. This […]

A Note on Orlando

On Sunday, we woke up to the news from Orlando. We have never been to Orlando. We don’t have a mental picture of it, as we did of Manhattan, Tucson, […]

It’s Just So Wrong – Part 4

A week for being pissed off.   Cowboy Boot Sandals These are so wrong I think somebody should ban them, or at least launch a social media shaming campaign. View […]

Ernest and Esther Born

This article originally appeared in Architectural Record, May 1, 2016 Charles and Ray Eames may have been the most famous Midcentury Modern design pair in the Americas, but they were not […]

It’s Just So Wrong – Part 3

Man Buns I am not the first to criticize this unfortunate fashion trend. But I will add my voice to the throngs. Men don’t look good with hair buns. There […]

Two Cents on a Sunday

As the cliché goes, this post is worth what you paid for it. I share a lot about politics on social media, but don’t write too much about it in […]

Best of 2015

As the year closes, I try and remember a few of the moments that gave me joy in the last year.   Best Meal of the Year The French Laundry […]

Designer Chatter At The Monterey Design Conference

Note: This piece appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper blog on Wednesday, October 28, 2015.  This year’s Monterey Design Conference could have been titled the “Monterey Design Short Video Clip Festival.” For […]

Reading & Writing Didion

It takes guts to write a biography of Joan Didion, one of the country’s most highly regarded writers, while she is still living. It takes even more guts when she […]

Political Purchasing Power and the Real Terrorism

The old cliché “follow the money” applies in the recent school shooting tragedies. The numbers are shocking. Very few people in the United States have been killed by terrorists. Thousands […]

It’s Just So Wrong – Part 2

Hermès and Apple The Apple watch is not elegant. Hermès leather is elegant. Together, they look stupid. Why a maker of high-end handmade saddles would join forces with a manufacturer […]

Porn Kills Love

Driving down Grand Avenue the other day I saw a billboard that said “Porn Kills Love.” I thought, huh? Was this a new phrase from the people who created “Take […]

Guns In The ‘Hood

We did not grow up with guns. Or maybe I should say, we didn’t think we grew up with guns. I didn’t consider guns much before Columbine. I didn’t think […]

It’s Just So Wrong

When you spend a lot of your life looking at design, you end up feeling sick from time to time. It’s a hazard of the job. Someone told me that […]

I See Connections in the Night Sky Over the Clown Car

Sometimes news stories seem to circle around each other. Or maybe I am just looking to link unrelated stars. Sexual identity and consent have been in the news in all […]

Atonement by 2042?

Charleston is a beautiful city with its own disturbing history when it comes to slavery. You can almost not see it when you walk from excellent restaurant to tea shop […]

Sea Ranch Is 50: Kenneth Caldwell Looks At The History And Future Of The Iconic California Site

This article originally appeared in the The Architect’s Newspaper, May 26, 2015 Studio Visit subject Moore Ruble Yudell is the legacy firm of architectural master Charles Moore, who founded the company more than […]