I received the following questions from a reader, Francis Raven, and thought I’d post my responses.

(1) What do you think the most pressing issues in architecture are?

Sustainability – how we deal with energy, materials. How do we make use of what’s already here? How do we make new stuff less disruptive?

(2) How does your blog address these issues?

I call attention to the efforts of architects and designers working toward sustainable solutions. We aren’t going to achieve some kind of green nirvana overnight, but I think highlighting the efforts will encourage more efforts – good begets good.

(3) How is the way we are living changing as a result of current architecture?

I think the general public is becoming more aware of architecture and design. Magazines like Dwell are helping to educate the general public about sustainable design. People are moving back to cities. People are making different choices about their environment based on their growing knowledge.

(4) What’s your favorite building?

S.R. Crown Hall, by Mies van der Rohe. The first time I entered the building, it spoke to me. It’s the reason I went to IIT.

S.R. Crown Hall by Mies van der Rohe

(5) What was your childhood home like?

The defining element of my first house (birth to age 10) was the solarium my dad added to the 1920’s stick built house. It was beautiful and functional – the large expanses of glass collected heat in the winter to offset the cold Minnesota weather, and the energy was stored in the dark slate floors.

My second house (age 10 to 18) was also stick-built, designed and constructed by my parents (dad was a carpenter, mom was an accountant). A simple shed-style building, with the tall face (including LOTS of glass) to the south (free heat); the northwest corner bermed into the existing hill (free insulation), the east catches the sunrise over the lake.
My second house

(6) Describe where you live now.

I rent a 520 SF studio with my husband. Facing east on the 20th floor of a 50 story high rise, we’re virtually eye to eye with Tribune Tower. One block from the Chicago River, I can see Trump Tower rise.
Trump Tower Chicago