It’s Okay to Change Your Name

It’s Fine to Take Your Spouse’s Name

There are many reasons people still do it—and to misunderstand them is to misunderstand the possibilities of the modern family.

Pacific Standard, Aug. 31, 2015

Is your name the heart of your identity, or a patriarchal hand-me-down? If you lose it, is that choice or capitulation? The debate over women changing their names continues, and—at the risk of adding oxygen to a curiously unquenchable fire—I’d like to argue that supporting women who keep their names (as we should!) doesn’t necessitate scolding women who don’t. We should also resist making easy assumptions about why women take their spouse’s name; it’s the conventional path, yes, but that doesn’t mean their reasons are necessarily conventional.

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Photograph: Shutterstock / Fabrik Bilder



Architects and Second-Tier Cities

Why Architects and Second-Tier Cities Need Each Other

CityLab, Jan. 23, 2015

 A couple of weeks ago, the American Institute of Architects announced which buildings had won its annual honor awards, one of the highest prizes in the field. The real winners, of course, are not the buildings but the architects who designed them. This year the group includes many elite New York firms, plus others from big cities like Boston and San Francisco. But one of the most talked-about buildings on the list—a modern spin on a barn that serves as a visitor center for a bourbon distillery—is the work of a relatively little-known practice from Kentucky named De Leon and Primmer Architecture Workshop.

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Ban Flash

Best Practices: Revamp Your Website

Architects’ sites all tend to suffer from the same set of problems. Here’s a guide to avoiding those mistakes and ensuring that your firm puts its best face forward online.

Architect, November 2014

Squinting to read tiny white words set on a black background? Not knowing whether to click or to scroll? Do these problems sound familiar? Your website is the face that most of the world will see—even more than your latest building or monograph—so get it right by following a few simple rules:

Don’t do Flash: It’s easy to see the appeal of Flash animation as a dynamic splash page to introduce your practice. Resist the temptation. Your content will be invisible to search engines and impossible to view on mobile devices.

Think beyond the portfolio: Many architects still treat their websites as digital monographs—heroic project images front and center, with descriptions and design philosophy at the margins. But more firms are chafing at the restrictions of the “grand showcase,” as NBBJ communications director Helen Dimoff, Assoc. AIA, calls it.

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Married to the Mayor

Being City Hall’s Plus One Has Never Been So Complicated 

Next City, Aug. 25, 2014

A Forefront story; subscription required. 

No one can really say what the job of a mayoral first lady (or gentleman) is, and that includes the people who’ve held it. What are you supposed to do when you’re married to the leader of an American city? “That was the big question I had,” says Megan O’Hara, the wife of R.T. Rybak, who was mayor of Minneapolis from 2002 until earlier this year. “No one could answer it.”

And who exactly are you supposed to be? That became an urgent question this spring, when Bill de Blasio won the mayoral election in New York City.

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Success in Succession

Finding Success in Succession

As the baby boomer generation approaches retirement, firms should strategize for smooth leadership transitions.

Architect, August 2014

When you own a design firm, “there are two exit strategies: death and quitting.” That’s what Rob Girling, co-founder of the design consultancy Artefact, recently wrote in a blog post for Fast Company’s Co.Design. But Girling omits the third, far more preferable strategy, which is a well-handled leadership succession.

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