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Welcome to Saved by Design

January 23, 2020

New Stuff:

In Random StuffFear Of Flying

In Home Page: Hearth=Kitchen: HOME

In Absence: Easters

In Left To Myself : I forgot my father’s birthday

In Not (As) Fat: One Meal A Day

In Finding Home: Justification

In The Rules: Between Rocks & Hard $$$

In Silence In Spring : Astonishing…

In Days ’till Spring : 40 Days


January 23, 2020

Recent Images

Progress in Greenwich


 The outdoor chapel at Incarnation Camp in Ivoryton, CT

Click here to read about the project.



CEPHAS Housing 25 Years Ago in Yonkers NY

Click here to read about the project.



In CT Insider: Review: Greenwich train station plan is revealing in unintended ways

In Middletown Press: Duo Dickinson: SoNo Collection a bold new shopping mecca bucking fading mall trends

In Common Edge: Churches Go Secular: No Place for God?

In Mockingbird: Connection

In CT Insider: Connecticut AIA honors the best in the business

In Mockingbird: Christmas Triggers

In Mockingbird: Shaping the Future

In Mockingbird: “Ad Astra” and Dad

In New Haven Register: Cesar Pelli, New Haven, and 20th Century architecture

In New Haven Register: New Haven’s Temple Street Garage to Brighten Up In a Big Way

In CT Insider: Connecticut’s Architectural Legacy Continues

In Common Edge: The Invented Reality of Suburbia Is Not the Norm

In CT Insider: When Connecticut became Modern, at least in its architecture



On WTNH News:  Madison Architect Sheds Light on Solar Solution for Homeowners

On Common Ground with Annette Ross:  She asked “Where is Architecture?”, I answered

On HGTV:  Mercedes Home Diaries       Password: mercedes


Hearth=Kitchen: HOME

January 19, 2020



This week Home Page Radio Takes On THE KITCHEN.

After World War 2, June Cleaver got a perm, did her makeup, put on an apron, and you did not see her until dinner. We made homes that isolated the cook to a room behind walls, with stacked boxes of cabinets and appliances. no place to sit unless it was the table we ate every day and the those who did not cook socialized in another place.

But 200 Years ago, every home that was not made for those who had staff centered around the hearth, and the hearth was the kitchen. In the Little Ice Age of that time, things were colder, there was less freshly harvested food, so more time was spent by everyone around the fire and in the kitchen. Together.

Something happened about 150 years ago: The way we heated and the way we cooked became separate things. We had central plumbing. We began to have separate rooms to cook all year round: not just a “Summer Kitchen” for when the heat of baking/roasting/stewing was unwelcome (unlike the winter).

Now the universe of home living has come full circle: for two generations the Kitchen has come back home. We are now all around the hearth again, its just that the hearth is now the most expensive, the most used and the most social place in most homes.

So home page talks to those who Really know kitchens in 2020, from several different places. Christine F. Ingraham, co-created Fletcher Cameron Design, received her degrees from Cranbrook Academy of Art and Yale University, and has dedicated much of her time designing custom kitchens for over 25 years. Denise Appel – the Chef of Zinc Restaurant in New Haven: and a homeowner who (tries) to cook (and paint) at home. How is that working out? We also talk to Eva Geertz, who helps run The Institute Library, and her family, and is an extraordinary Cook-In-Charge who not only makes, but remakes the foods she creates. This will be an hour of finding out why this place is the The Place, so near and dear to most homes.

Fear Of Flying

January 18, 2020

This week, I was 14, again.

I have been helping make things for over 40 years. Perhaps 1,000 scenarios as an intern, partner, sole proprietor.

I have written 8 books, two of those with others, and, by now, over 1,000 articles.

I am 64, have won 40 things lost another 400 that I was competing for.

So when asked 6 weeks ago to enter an essay by a Swedish professor, for a Swiss Academic Journal, I instantly saw the potential downsides. If I made the grade, and the article was published, almost no one would ever see it. In writing it I am writing for the review of others who write articles like this. I have written one before, because I was asked to talk about a specific project. Easy enough.

This time I was asked about an architect I had never met, but whose writings seemed to invest themselves in the work I described above, to the point that these last few years, where I teach at the place he and his large group of like minded folk have come to create an academic program, I now understand what his words meant. After 45 years.

I could write this, for me and people like me.

I could do this.

But this 8,000 word effort takes time. Hours and hours. And staff time another 20 hours. And had 5 preliminary submissions where reactions ranged from “no self-promotion!” to “your cites are completely wrong”.

All the while my mind is unendingly in a vague panic. This is not going to work. How can I write in the crafted way of an academic when I am, mostly, a linebacker in all things? I can be clear, or not. I can make some sentences ring, even be their own thing in a piece about very different things. But what I do is defenseless.

Because in being a maker, given over to creating, the results are not sculpted to any preconception. Many architects and writers create to an audience, I seem incapable of that. Hence losing 400 times over 40 years of offering things up for awards, publication, or just to get a job.

I can play that. Get ready, compete, push, keep pushing. Win, lose, it is just part of the effort. I win enough that losing is just the consequence of getting stuff done.

But here, I have the sense that I have lost before I start.

In recent years, I have come to know more about myself: like the sense that the 1,000 made things has been the result of simple, direct acts of channeling people, places, values, risks, opportunities, and life: no “Style”, just humans and places and materials, all in a stew. No excuses, no make up calls, no rationalization. It has worked. Stuff got done.

But another odd realization was that I know football. I played (badly), coached (hard as I could) and have a son who came to love football, through college. I could watch a game, and think, sometimes know, what was going on, to the point of seeing what was happening beyond the video game most are used to staring at.

I understand the humans. After a bunch of watching I think I understand the ways the coaches are coaching and some of the skills, and travails, of those playing. It is fun when I can focus. A little like making things. I have come to know what I do not know, so there is less fear.

But these weeks, alone in my office early mornings and weekends, I was sometimes 14 again. Like football, I knew the essence of what I was dealing with. I could see, clearly, how I could and can fail. But unlike football, I knew that I had probably lost before I tried.

I flashed on how it felt to be 14 and on the field with full grown varsity players, attempting to play to assist them in getting better. No matter what effort I put in, it was inadequate, because I was incapable.

Then I realized that I knew, as well as anyone, what I was writing about (architecture, writing, making) – I know that I can write (hell, I am doing this). But knowing and doing are two separate things.

I felt at times that I was honored and in fact delighted to come to be invited to compete at the training camp of the New York Football Giants, only now to see that I am 64, fat, weak and even worse (relative to the competition and “peer evaluation”) than I was when I was 14.

Well, I stayed on the field.

I hit “Send” on the paper. 8,000 words, 50 cites, 20 quotes from 8 people, 10 “figures” with 18 images, over 40 human hours in over 6 weeks. Done.

You cannot lose if you do not play.

I prefer to play, and maybe lose, than not win.

If I had been on the field with Giants, I would be hospitalized within one play. I may simply be rejected by my “peers” (who are very much not me) silently in a couple of weeks.

But I understand more than I did 6 weeks ago.

Maybe that is enough.

No, it isn’t.

Who Cares If Isaac Newton Was A Virgin?

January 9, 2020

“It Sure Looks Like The Ukrainian Airliner Was Shot Down” bellows New York Magazine. Video shows that it is descending after launch 3 minutes earlier from Tehran, 10,000 feet high in flight.

Three hours after Iran launched missiles because the US killed someone because Iran killed someone because the US gave them 150 Billion Dollars because we did not want them to get nuclear weapons because Israel has nuclear weapons because, because because….

And another floating factoid Magic Eight Ball’ed up onto a screen that “Sir Isaac Newton Died A Virgin”. What? When? Well, 4 years ago a historian found this quote .In 1733, Voltaire publicly stated that Newton “had neither passion nor weakness; he never went near any woman”.

And we know this how?

Facts become irrelevant when we want to feel good about ourselves.

We were not on that plane.

We will not die a Virgin.

We do not know Voltaire.

The more antique survival makes me, the more I do not know. Not that knowledge is growing and I am just not keeping up. Rather I see more and more factoids used to get more and more clicks and Jeffrey Epstein did not commit suicide.

Really, who cares beyond caring that our ignorance is validated by the flaws of others?

Black and white television tells us in sitcoms that rumors were rampant when the world was verbal. A random conclusion, invention, act becomes a huge indictment, fear, solace.

I am not Isaac Newton. I did not die on that plane. But I do not need anyone saying anything to me to know that there is something desperately wrong out there. And I am in here. Away. Alone. Looking at a screen. Feeling better about myself because I know that out there, back there, there were very bad things that I am not a part of.

Any now a million melodramas gain volume as a President is elected when we have a president who lives completely in the world that knows Sir Isaac Newton was a Virgin.

In one snap of a new century, in 20 years, the rest of our children’s’ lives, and their children’s’, live will see the world differently, but not know that it is different,

Just like TV was normal for all of my friends, it was a miracle for my parents. As were rotary phones for their parents.

We are flailing down a raging river, too low to see the rapids, falls or sink hole ahead.

But we know that Sir Isaac Newton was a Virgin at death.

I forgot my father’s birthday

December 31, 2019

I forgot my father’s birthday.

He died 32 years ago. I am 64.

We had a full on week of Christmas: children visiting, funeral, Vermont, 2 dinners hosted/cooking/setup/cleanup, 4 attended, getting/wrapping/giving unending presents, serving at services (3 in the week). I was researching/writing/sending 3 articles to 3 publishers, while meeting with 6 or 8 clients, delivering a couple of dozen shortbread bags to others. Running a dozen jobs and 5 employees that week, really no days off.

And I forgot my father’s birthday.

His birth was 110 years ago. And two days.

I did not forget those dinners, presents, services, projects, shortbread, clients, children, wife, articles, meetings, funeral, – really anything else.

I maintained social media (like this) sent bid results, designed changes, researched the next few talks, even looked at our Christmas Tree.

But I forgot my father’s birthday.

When he was alive, I was often separated from him, for strange and inscrutable reasons, and would go weeks, even months, without hearing from him. I do not think I ever received a call from him in those separated years – just my mother.

I remember him, drunk, on the phone 41 years ago, when I called him to ask if he would co-sign a loan to pay off college (after he had fully paid tuition for the first eight semesters) and he slurred. “No.”

“Why?” (Screamed)

“Because you are a bad risk.”

Well, in remembering his 110th birthday, I proved a bad risk. What would I have done to recognize the birth of a person 32 years dead? I just would have remembered it, as I had done the days before it passed. As I had done every year that I have been alive.

Our family is a dwindling connection. My mother died over 20 years ago and one sibling ended her life because of her own broken life two years ago, and I exchange a Christmas card with the other, every year, unseen since my mother’s funeral.

But I forgot my father’s birthday.

In all the efforts, outcomes, joys, and love, failure is virtually everywhere. A flip side to control, even belief. The reality of unmet expectations, or just shallow laziness is simply there, available at a moment’s exhaustion, the fog of commitment, even just the confusion of trying.

Just a remembrance, in silence, of 78 years of a life split – in a confused childhood, a happy 20 years, then a last half never being what he hoped he would be – would have meant that his life had someone to remember it,

I am sure my sister remembered it.

I am sure her memory was of the worshipful young dad who adored her until she was seen to not be what he had hoped for, just like him. He avoided those hopes with me. I was left to myself, wondering what was going on, what it meant.

What it meant was that I forgot his birthday, day before yesterday.

And I remember this.

God forgive me. Please.


December 21, 2019

We have less light, today, than we will have for the next 364 days.

We know this because after a few thousand years in the life of a system so vast and distant that we think we can “calculate” age, future, cause, meaning. We can. Really. Who will disagree? Just like ants describing the dead elephant they are consuming.

Losing 20% of our time in the sun at this latitude, then having it return, only to lose it again, begs the reason we care about anything. Our efforts are allowed by the energy of this huge thing so far away, which is one of an incalculable number akin to it spread so vastly away and around us we call it “the sky”.

We focus on the dead elephant before us, screaming opportunity, fear, hope and mystery, and can only escape when the darkness – and exhaustion – prevent more. We create to make something in a place that was completely made before anyone knew anything about anything. It the darkening Times, the making frenzy of things, events, stories, even emotions, distracts us from our complete lack of control.

Over anything.

We can express, distract, think, make – we can save lives, places, ideas – we can fight to project, protect, even celebrate – but the gravity that holds us, the air that allows us to say and hear and live, and the light that lets us see, anything – is completely inscrutable in its origins, and only evident in its change.

Some of us follow the Prime Mission of making more of us. Others follow the mission of pleasure. Others simply distract themselves in things only those distracted find meaningful.

Because we have no idea of the “Why” of any of this.

But the gauntlet of flowing light, of a tilted rotation that rotates around a central fixed source does cause one thing besides light. In all those desperate needs at meaning, expression, joy, and terror, there is something as hard and powerful as the gravity we stand on, the air we breath, the light that is given and is taken away: We Love.

That also means we Hate. But Love is less necessary than food, completely uncontrollable, and is completely confused in sex, fear and hope. But Love, the reason we do anything that does not extend life, is, somehow, the common insanity of humanity. Love is, whether we admit it or not, actually more important to us than food, joy, fear, sleep, even light.

Love lives without reason, focus or understanding – like the sun. It is the undeniable singularity at the center of our rotating, orbiting, moving and centered lives. Love is undeniable, and so pervasive that its absence is crushing. So we scream politics. We avow religion. We judge. We give. We sacrifice. We hoard.

We care.

We love to the point beyond the necessary, because the necessary is not enough. We could hunt, gather, sex, eat, sleep, even think. But the unnecessary reality of Love is completely unnecessary and central. We have no choice. We have been given this.

What to do with it?