Blueprints & Buildings: Four Stories About Architecture

Photo by John Fowler

1. “The Architect Who Wants to Redesign Being Dead.” (Brendan Kiley, The Stranger, March 2015)

Katrina Spade was struck with the idea of humans turning into compost. The more she thought about it, the more sense it made.

“I don’t want my last gesture as a human being, as I die, to be a big ‘fuck you’ to the earth,” she says. “I’d rather have my last gesture be at the very least benign, or even beneficial. We are full of potential—our bodies are. We have nutrients in us, and there’s no way we should be packed into a box that doesn’t let us go into the earth.”

The Urban Death Project was born.

2. “Nature’s Metropolis.” (Alyssa Battistoni, Jacobin, October 2014)

I’m reading Jeff VanderMeer’s The Southern Reach trilogy right now; I have invasive, terrifying, beautiful nature on the brain. So when I stumbled across this article from Jacobin about using organic substances to build in urban areas, I blanched but kept reading. Bioarchitects, synthetic biologists and industrial ecologists are all making strides to influence how we build and what we build with. Rather than pat-on-the-back “green” measures, these ideas are potentially radical.

3. “How a San Francisco Architect Reframes Design for the Blind.” (Lamar Anderson, Curbed, August 2014)

When Chris Downey lost his sight eight years ago, a social worker encouraged him to switch careers. But this accomplished architect refused. Now, he’s more in touch with the buildings he designs than ever before.

4. “My Own Private Architecture.” (L.B. Jeffries, Kotaku, June 2010)

How do we interact with architecture in videogames? Citing interviews and literary criticism, Jeffries explores the emotions and experience that give meaning to the spaces in our favorite games.