Alice Heinz

A Sensitive Shelter

A new project by the Canadian design firm molo, called softshelter, considers the frightening reality of homelessness after a natural disaster, a topic which is unfortunately never too far from recent events. Only a few months ago, tornados leveled homes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and the Mississippi River swelled to its highest water levels since 1937, flooding neighborhoods in Illinois, Missouri,…

Remembering Sylvia Harris

The Metropolis office was saddened this week to hear of the sudden loss of a visionary leader in the design community. Sylvia Harris, the founder and principal of Citizen Research & Design and a designer at the Public Policy Lab, passed away on Sunday. Harris is remembered for her pioneering approach to improving the usability of public spaces and programs…

Three Novel Lighting Designs

Even with the necessary emphasis on LED technology and efficient materials, many lighting designers can’t resist experimenting with products that are just, for lack of a better word, cool. While strict functionalists may cringe, I admire this vein of creative conceptual design, in the tradition of Isamu Noguchi’s sculptural Akari lamps. Last week saw the debut of three new lighting…

Tomorrow’s Designers

I’m trying to remember, did I ever think about things like public design, civic planning, or product innovation in the eighth grade?  I’ll be honest, the eighth grade wasn’t all that long ago. I know that in language arts we mapped sentences; we learned about Julius Caesar’s murderous frenemies in Latin class. But the real-world work of designers–isolating problems, then…

The Artist in the Architect

Large Baths, Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli; Louis I. Kahn, 1951; Pastel on paper; 7 ½ x 8 ½ inches. Looking through the Metropolis magazine archives, I recently came upon a quote from Eero Saarinen, “To me, the drawn language is a very revealing language; one can see in a few lines whether a man is really an architect.” Reading this quote,…