Skip to content

HOME PAGE: LISTEN IN: Gender Rules At Home & In Design

March 27, 2015


home page

On Home Page Radio, Binnie Klein and Duo Dickinson risk political incorrectness and talk “Gender and Design” Are man caves just an outdated cultural trope? How did pink and blue get assigned gender? Do men and women have different dreams for their living spaces? Binnie & Duo are joined by radio personality Bruce Barber & design maven Lori Corbman in this free-wheeling discussion

Welcome to Saved by Design

March 27, 2015

New Stuff:

In Random Stuff: Lent: Suicide Cell

In Not (As) Fat: Fat & Drunk

In Finding Home:  Fixing More Than Forming: Reality

In The Rules:  How Tall is Tall? Getting the Low Down on Height Regulations 

In Home Page GENDER AND HOME: are there male/female House Rules? 

Lent: Suicide Cell

March 27, 2015

day 37


Knowledge tempers fear, and unknowables are terrifying.

You could make a case that all of medicine is just a specialized lab course, where humanity finds out how we are going to die.

Of course things get fixed in medicine: miraculous cures, heroic triumphs over all odds, exquisitely skillful surgeries – but while all of these extend the lives of the patients involved the baseline is that life is a terminal condition. “No one gets out alive” said the framer on a job site where I had just heard that my father had died.

So the acts of humans with no discernible purpose who not only end their own lives but in the process kill complete innocents is terrifying.

War is complete cultural, social and political madness: humans put every effort into killing other humans, knowing there’s a good chance they will end their lives and never benefit from whatever fruits of war happen. But there are perceived fruits: power, defeat of those who will oppress you if they get power, saving your people from death or slavery. 911 made sense in that mindset.

There are reasons.

But those who just happen to be flying on an airplane with Zaharie Ahmad Shah or, now, Andreas Lubnitz or just going to the school Adam Lanza once attended end up dead without any plausible reason.

“He must have been crazy” is an explanation. It applies to me gardening a salt poisoned, shade bathed patch of rock too. It does not provide a reason for acts that are inexplicable that end innocence with death.

The idea that a singularity can eliminate a whole is the essence of anarchy. Humanity as a species uniquely relies on rules to survive and push forward. When those rules are distilled, refined and given full devotion, Mother Teresa happens. When there are no rules, nothing is valued, and life is purposeless, Shah, Lubnitz and Lanza happen.

They are the single cancer cell that “happens” for reasons we begin to sometimes understand to a level where cancer has become more hated than feared.

But more often than we’d like our understanding does not prevent the same outcome as the victims of Shah, Lubitz or Lanza. Their actions have no registration with the most basic understanding we share: There should be rules we can understand.

That single cell often kills all the other cells that allowed it to exist, and then ultimately itself: to what end? Completely senseless.

Religion, law and science try to give a matrix of understanding to the senseless. But no level of faith in anything can make sense of the nonsensical.

For me, Lent helps with that imponderable. The previous 36 prices of this stream are at

GENDER AND HOME: are there male/female House Rules?

March 26, 2015



On Home Page Radio, Binnie Klein and Duo Dickinson risk political incorrectness and talk “Gender and Design” Are man caves just an outdated cultural trope? How did pink and blue get assigned gender? Do men and women have different dreams for their living spaces? Binnie & Duo are joined by radio personality Bruce Barber & design maven Lori Corbman in this free-wheeling discussion


March 26, 2015



IMG_2721 copy IMG_2717 copy


As Seen in the New York Times, 12/2/2014



Under Construction

:photo (2)________________________________________________________

Recently Completed!

photo (5)

photo (4)photo (3)


 photo (6)episcoglass

photo1johnsongardenphoto4photo-1IMG_9634 (1) (Copy)


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.

CEPHAS-Existing-001-copyCephas Ext4aCephas Ext2Cephas PR Dwg4ps


In New Haven Register: Villas on a ridge, New Haven’s Hillhouse Avenue

In Townvibe: Simple Pleasures, an Artful Blend of Modern and Traditional

In Hartford Courant (login required): A Classic Street Ages, But Retains its Beautiful Bones

In New Haven Register: Forum: Yale, Pearl Harbor bridge projects show branding matters, money follows

In New York Times: Everything and the Kitchen Sink

In New Haven Register: Millennial Meme Housing Sprouts in New Haven

In Hartford Courant (login required): “Christmas in Connecticut” was Perfect for War-Weary 1945 American Moviegoers

In Room One Thousand: Sixty Panes of Faith

In Behind the Walls: The Not So Tiny House Movement (Part 1)

In AIA: It’s not the Media: It’s the Work

In New Haven Register: Quarantining Architecture

In New Haven Register: Weeds on New Haven’s Oak Street Lawn

In New Haven Magazine: Back Yard Forward

In New Haven Register: Ultimate Gesture of Architectural Modesty is a Buried Building

In New Haven Register: Tulips, Architecture Students & Bubbles that Burst

In New Haven Register: Flood tide of rental housing could change New Haven’s landscape

In New Haven Magazine: Still by the Sea

In New Haven Magazine: Preserving the Past for the Future

In River & Shore’s Coastal Homes: Boy Was It Worth It

In New Haven Magazine: From Family to Farm

In The New Haven Register: Ultimate Gesture of Architectural Modesty Is Buried Building

In The New Haven Register: Yale’s Evans Hall: Overdressed for Success

In New Haven Magazine: Cubed

In New Haven Magazine: Finding Design

In The New Haven Register:  Pearl Harbor Bridge in New Haven Extension of Greatest Generation’s Legacy

In Hartford Faith & Values:  An Elevator on Orchard Street

In The New Haven Register:  Are Neighbors More Neighborly when there is Greater Density?

In New Haven Magazine: Lawyers In Love

In Ink Magazine:  Architect Duo Dickinson: Celebrating 35 Years of Good Design for Everyone

In New Haven Magazine: A House of Homes

In The Source:  Duo Dickinson, Architect at Large

In River & Shore’s Coastal Homes:  On the Indian River

In The New Haven Register:  Aesthetically inconvenient Mudd Library faces death sentence

In Connecticut Magazine: Elements of Surprise

In The New Haven Register: Real Icons Aplenty in New Haven

In The Mercurial: Erosion Revelation

In Architecture Boston: Post-Modernism and Intelligent Design

In Design Bureau: Steve & Frank

Archive: Real Life Survival Guide



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

On HGTV:  Mercedes Home Diaries       Password: mercedes



On Home Page, Binnie Klein & I debut our new radio show. Listen here!

On A Miniature World, Binnie Klein & I discuss springtime striving, mislaid spirituality & the folly of architectural terms. Listen here!

Babel Time

March 25, 2015


I am a prisoner of NPR by day. It has its mock-able memes (think “Svetty Balls”), but it has one clear, overriding bias (no, not that one) – clearly the programmers at NPR believe that:

An English Accent Makes Everything Better

Its a distinction without a difference as the same words oathed with a Brit residue have a gravitas that those who speak American simply lack in the ears of NPR. And we who are sadly limited to American can find some solace in the fact we always sounder smarter than those who speak Southern.

Right now in architecture several angry articles about the devaluation of my profession have rightly focused on its recent tone-deafness to popular culture, context, social integration, and plain old just not leaking.
The essential truth is that any fine arts endeavor can get lost in itself – and that’s the inexorable recent slump of architecture, historically “the mother of the arts” – towards living and bathing in the fine arts, away from the concerns of the bourgeoisie.

The oxymoronic “New Classical” music is unlistenable to all but those who are “in the know”. Ezra Pound and James Joyce enrapture a tiny few who can delve into their exquisitely hypercomplex syntax and structure. And sculpture is the product of architect Zaha Hadid.

Becoming irrelevant is a problem.

But blaming the language and not the mindset is a bigger problem.

In Genesis God “confuse(d) their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” In architecture this has devolved into a high school food fight between the Popular Kids (Modernists) and the Nerds (Traditionalists). Those recent articles in the New York Times, Forbes, and earlier Slate all saw a Naked Emperor, Architecture: declaring its emptying importance, true that.

But then, those articles took the easy way out: they ascribed tone deafness a style, Modernism, decrying its out of touch British Accent of architectural expression as inherently disingenuous.

Humans are disingenuous, things are just things – the person who loves sculpture deserves to live or work in one. To say one eyewash is Ugly and one Holy is to be one of those running from the crumbling Tower of Babel cursing the foreign language of your fellow flee-ers.

Humans are so terrified of insignificance that we create differences just to feel safe from the other side of the differences we create.

No matter what we do or say, there is something that either the passage of time or our willingness to listen will reveal: the truth.

And it doesn’t have a style (or an accent).

Sleep Is Not Rest

March 21, 2015

We all must sleep.

Like eating and not freezing or frying its one of the bio mechanical necessities.

Unlike calories or hypothermia, science really does not “get” sleep: its woven into us (we are not, after all, Vulcan), but its a trait billions of earth rotations has ground into the warp and woof of our genomes, and the genome of almost every living thing. Maybe like the defragging of hard drives in the 1990’s or power washing mold off our brains or just the spin cycle of our daily dance with life, sleeping is natural and necessary.

We must sleep. And dream, apparently.

Dreaming is when our mind completely disengages from our control. In adolescence sex dreams thrill and scare, in school (and seemingly forever after) we are naked and late to a final we did not know was happening, or we are suddenly able to fly without crashing.

Or we have nightmares.

Apparently nightmares and night terrors are not just “bad dreams”, they actually stress more than they relieve stress or depict fears. Nightmares take damage: PTSD, rape, wrecked childhoods and transform their problematic presence while waking into uncontrollable terror while sleeping.

I am pretty sure I have not had a happy dream in my adult life.

Of course the 18oz grease blob barely chewed into a belly 20 minutes before going comatose has created any number of bad dream outcomes, but every sleep I fall into has an unannounced revelation of the paper-thin coping that must be my brain.

Inarticulate extremity, unremembered ruinous failures: all with a single egomaniacal lynchpin: somehow I screwed up.

Here the usually tenuous lurch to metaphor is not strained: we all live with the reality that we have failed, will fail again, and are in deep anxiety over failing. We are, by necessity living 99% of our lives in the niceties of a world under relative calm, sometimes control, and, for me, blessed outcomes.

But our fragility amid happy circumstances is made brutally ominous when our minds are not in a world we have created, but when we have no choice but live in the world our lives have been shaped by.

Psychotherapy could help, but it will not change the first 15 years of my life: which I remember well, and kind of understand.

We want understanding to reduce fear – and it does in the places we control – but before understanding was possible, those fears became part of who we are, just like the necessity of sleep.

The living of that comes from a Greater Place than my puny brain. Working at resolution pushes it farther away, as coping is not curing. So I have no choice but to trust what I cannot earn – Grace.

The place where dreams come from is not heaven, or for me, hell. But the place where peace comes from is certainly, assuredly, not from me.

If you want to read the rest of this thread, click:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 103 other followers