Bullet Proof

June 2, 2022

It’s that part of the week when I want to talk about Architecture, where I wrestle with the dialogue of the week and wonder what to bring forward. It’s no joke how fast the week goes, the raw number of emails and the tangible ups and downs.

To say we've gotten used to the whiplash is not true. To say that we've learned to enjoy the roller coaster, is not true. To say that the number of nights coming home late to play Xbox until my eyes water, has reduced, is not true.

It’s been a hard week, and not only because of the woes of the small business, but also because I’ve been reading the news, and we work in the world, and we watch our friends react to the nature of the American environment. These things affect design. They affect the number of people who show up for work on Monday, and the clarity of mind when we make a decision on furniture or insulation.

To work in the world, to re-create the world piece by piece, is to react and to respond and to learn and to care one for another.

And how does this apply to architecture, to our contracts without clients? It applies in every way.

We can have the opening line that we consider security, and we specify the locks on our doors, and that we can even specify bullet-proof glass. In fact, we can specify glass without saying the word "bullet" so that we're only afraid in the contexts we choose while we send the project out to bid.

We can do our work through the threat of violence; we can design for safety. I heard myself say this week that we live in a safe town - how ridiculous to compare this town to another one, when the guns are in the culture, and concealed-carry is the civilized option.

We long to build our schools like the NGO’s build in Africa, with no windows, with no doors that might be locked or not locked, and with no air conditioning, only the thatched roof for the gift of rain, and the partitions that define a place of purpose from the wilderness of natural danger and the unknowable openness.

Instead, we build our schools like prisons, and that's okay. The language of durability is constant and defines our character. If only it was bulletproof.

Blessings to those who lost everything, through the tragedy of our poor decisions.

May we design again with beauty and hope, and with lightness and delight.