We Have an Issue: Staying Present, Preparing for the Future

This week’s cover story looks at how the pandemic is shaping architecture and design


Illustration by Jason Stout / Getty Images

Paradoxically, I think the best stories are the ones that distract you. That's because the concepts they're presenting, or the emotions they're tapping, are so fruitful, you have to pause your reading in order to do some serious thinking.

That was my experience with this week's cover story, a piece about how pandemics inform architecture, design, and urban planning, and how one Austin architectural and design firm in particular is looking to the future. "Design for Living ... in the Aftertimes" comes courtesy of Arts & Culture Editor Robert Faires, whose work always communicates deliberateness and thoughtfulness. No surprise then that his story will get all your synapses firing.

One of the things that most struck me about the piece is how the principals at Forge Craft Architecture + Design began their pandemic design in crisis mode, reimagining mobile hospitals, and then, as quarantine stretched from days to weeks to months, turned their focus to reimagining, well, everything. Everyday living. And with that, the implicit understanding that we're not going back to what everyday living looked like before.

Mentally, I've made a sort of similar transition in the past couple of weeks. I've stopped thinking of this time of intense sheltering as a pause, a break step in operations before regular life is resumed. The days are hazy enough without feeling like they don't count. This process is changing me, and I'm trying to pay attention to that. That means celebrating the changes that feel positive, like learning how to ask for help when I need it and say no when I've hit my limit, and trying to curb the changes that are more worrying. (I'm thinking of setting a stopwatch limit on certain emotions, maybe adjust the daily budget of "helpless rage" time.) I don't mean to imply I'm not still mostly a mess, as I suspect many of you are too. But better to feel like a work in progress than something put on a shelf indefinitely.

Online This Week


Riders Against the Storm's Jonathan "Chaka" Mahone and Ghislaine "Qi Dada" Jean from Black Everythang Matters, a benefit for Mahone's DAWA (Diversity Awareness and Wellness in Action) Fund

Enter the Musicmakers: Raoul Hernandez's ongoing "Checking In" series hears from Jazz Age channeler Kat Edmonson, Dieselbilly guitar great Bill Kirchen, South Austin song seer Seela Misra, and Como Las Movies projectionist (and fifth-grade teacher) Nelson Valente Aguilar; plus, Derek Udensi reviews last Thursday's Black Everythang Matters livestream.

The Art of Cinema: One Perfect Shot, the Twitter feed run by Austin-based movie site Film School Rejects, is being turned into a half-hour unscripted series by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay, with FSR founder Neil Miller executive producing.

Texas Book Festival: has announced another 15 for its planned 125 authors participating in this year's virtual iteration of the fest, which will span Oct. 31-Nov. 15. They include suspense writer Dean Koontz; Crazy Rich Asians novelist Kevin Kwan; Yaa Gyasi, repping her follow-up to 2016's Homecoming; comedian Michael Ian Black; and environmental crusader Erin Brockovich.


Photo by John Anderson

Protest, Counterprotest, Arrests: Staff photographer John Anderson documented Saturday's pro-police "Silent No More" demonstration and counterprotest, which resulted in a dozen and a half arrests.

When Your Dog Has More Social Dates Than You Do: If you've adopted a dog during the pandemic, you might want to hear how Paz Veterinary has moved their puppy socialization classes to Zoom.

Minnow Mountain Needs Artists: With season 2 of Undone and Richard Linklater's Apollo 10½: A Space Age Adventure on the horizon, the Austin animation studio is hiring.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

COVID-19, architecture, pandemic design

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