November 26th, 2013 | 8:00am

When you’re a carpenter’s son there are things you don’t tell your mother. The old asbestos siding Dad had you driving nails into, for instance. Or the ceiling fan he wired without first shutting off the power. Or how you close your eyes when you bring the round whirling blade of the chop saw down on a length of spouting so you won’t get any flecks of aluminum in your eyes. How it just seems safer that way.

Photo by Met
November 25th, 2013 | 8:00am

When I see handmade cloth, with its uneven selvedges and irregularities, I feel a kinship. My mother was a weaver. I would come home from school and find my mother weaving, warping, or winding yarn. She wove on traditional four- or eight-harness looms, wooden frames the size of a grand piano. I grew up with the household sounds (and vocabulary) of the 1700s—the whizz of a shuttle, the thump of the beater, the rattle of heddles, and the shunk of harnesses.

Courtesy Steve Guttman
November 22nd, 2013 | 8:00am

Courtesy Steve Guttman

“We have the mind, body, and the mind/body all organizing this building,” offers architect Chris McVoy, metaphorically describing the Campbell Sports Center that opened this fall at Columbia University. The building is the outward expression of an athlete’s inner journey. In a short film, McVoy and his partner and mentor, Steven Holl, discuss their design intentions and the character of experience they’ve created.

Photo by Flickr user Juan Pablo Gonzalez
November 20th, 2013 | 7:00am

Photo by Flickr user Juan Pablo Gonzalez

Sundays, my parents would pin

their names to dress clothes.

The labelmaker’s impressions formed

letters unevenly, and at the end

November 19th, 2013 | 7:00am


There was a short time, just before I stopped carrying a backpack to school, when I coveted a t-shirt with the words “citizen of the world” on the front. I signed letters for Amnesty International that year, but I never bought the shirt. A few years later, when we tired of the war in Iraq, many pointed out that six of ten young Americans could not locate the country on a map, although half couldn’t find the Empire State either.