Personal Introduction

My background is in architecture and music: while I’ve made buildings, this is not what I think architecture is only about; architecture is concerned with the connections between things and how those connections are made; often those connections are the ones between a floor, a wall, a roof, a window, a door, etc, but that is just because as human beings we need shelter from the elements.

The functional part is where engineers come in, but the engineers don’t make the connections, they rehearse received wisdom, they ‘solve the problem.’ Architecture does not solve problems, it creates them. Architecture demands we do not ask: is this the right answer? But instead; is this the right question?

Put another way; not what is the solution to a given problem? But what are the questions we must ask to understand if that is indeed the problem? Or, is there a problem which will still persist if we don't dig deeper.

Architecture re-frames the problem with another problem with the aim of understanding possible solutions previously unforeseeable. In this way, everyone in this class is architecting, and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!

Hopefully this helps everyone understand where I'm coming from


First, a bit of a more personal-than-usual introduction:

I'm here before you having been blessed with a privileged life; due in large part to the circumstances and timing of my birth; in 1987 on the island of Manhattan, custodial land of the Lenni-Lennape, at 99th street and 5th Avenue, overlooking nature which we call Central Park.

My maternal side were 2nd generation immigrants, having fled the pogroms in Ukraine/Poland/Russia, and my father’s side has been traced back on this continent to the 1850's, by my sister, an archivist, to Charleston, South Carolina, themselves German Immigrants who at the time distilled liquor and were Baptist (?) preachers who made a life for themselves there, and later on in Quaker Pennsylvania.

You would be accurate in calling me American, but I consider myself a New Yorker first, a product of two people who met by chance in New York City on a Circle Line cruise.

My parents moved to what they thought were the safe suburbs to raise my sister and I, and by most metrics it was an incredibly privileged upbringing. I was given incredible gifts of education, care, financial stability, in large part thanks to my mother, who, because she was the first in her family to “make it” in America by putting aside her passions of theatre and history, became a lawyer, and provided with her own forms of boundless love.


I’ll skip some years for brevity, and fast forward to my professional life, how I ended up here, now, with you all in this “room” our attentions converged on each other for 2 hours and 40 minutes a week for the next 15 weeks.


I’ve been given so many incredible gifts of education, intellectual self-actualization, really. The opportunity to pursue creative endeavors, relatively freed from financial pressure, to fail at some, and learn from them nevertheless. And to succeed at others; to try to make sense of what I do with this speck of time I have on this earth in a way that can impact others.

That impact was distilled in my education from an early age, in high school, my school’s motto, written in 1778, is this quote:

“Goodness without Knowledge is Weak... but Knowledge without goodness is dangerous...”


Types of projects

  • Writing and Editing
  • Design
  • temporary pneumatic structures


Lastly, it is my hope that we will all together become collaborators, and that through this course of time, if you’ll allow me, I may give you some of my received knowledge, and in a process of mutual co-creation and information sharing, we can create a learning community together where you learn as much from each other as you do from me, and I learn as much from you. And through this process, of learning by doing and using a method—the design critique—to better our understanding of what and how we mediate ideas into forms that can be passed on to others.

On one level, I will show some visual lectures. I’m very excited to tell you about these frameworks and histories as I understand them, and eager for you to challenge me and expand their scope and historical and personal underpinning with your own knowledge and experience.

On a deeper level, and one that may only become fully clear to you at the conclusion of the semester; this course will be a test of the future of publishing itself.

The future of publishing, as it relates to design, will be a process of mutual value creation through cycles and feedback loops of creativity and critique—meaning-making—in which we will mediate an idea between a creator and an audience, and learn to listen to what the audience is telling us; what only the audience has the author-ity (the ability to author); to authorize moments of meaning from a stream, out of a feed of mere information.

In the future, the university won’t be a brand name with institutional baggage and the usual pomp and circumstance, it will be in your hands, through your participation with others in engaging with ideas across space and time. You will pay tuition to your professors, and you will receive dividends from that investment 100-fold. The middleman of the university administrator will be obsolete, and you will turn to your friends, family, acquaintances —your network— to advise you, and you may receive the incredible gift, on your own time, of moments of intellectual self-actualization, which you then have the possibility, and I hope, the responsibility to give to others.

JS Personal Introduction

Communication Platforms

  1. Class Website
  2. Slack or Discord instead if we're feeling adventurous?
  4. Miro
  5. Zoom
Communication Platforms