40: Well, Well, Well S/S 2015

No. 40, S/S 2015 Well, Well, Well

Health, and the information around it, is messy. As are our bodies and the systems intended to help sustain them. No anatomical chart, in its immaculate precision, can articulate the ooze of our fluids and secretions, or our sensations of pain and fear; or the strain of accumulating medical bills; or the clash between the cult of wellness and rampant addiction; or the inequality of access to basic hygiene, nutrition, and medical care. Like health itself, our power—as individuals, citizens, and designers—to heal or to harm ourselves and the spaces in which we dwell is full of contradictions.

These contradictions are what generated this issue of Harvard Design Magazine. “Well, Well, Well” explores some of the tensions and transformations of the landscape of health and illness. As both designers and inhabitants, we create this landscape, and in turn, must navigate our own well-being within it. And as the rules of wellness continue to change—along with political events, science and technology, and nature itself—design and planning must adapt and respond accordingly. Architecture’s panaceas are not without expiration dates, and might even turn out to do more harm than good—but ultimately design has the power to promote and support health and healing in preemptive and progressive ways.

Table of Contents

Editor’s Note


Jennifer Sigler


Sculpo, Ergo Sum

Jörg Scheller

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Hui Wang, Yuko Tsunetsugu, Julia Kane Africa

Valerio’s Ark

Peter Sealy

A Hygiene Hypothesis

Hilary Sample

Delivering Scent, Designing Memory

David Edwards

Everyone Needs Everything

Nicholas Fox Weber

Flying Buttresses

Matthew Allen

Healing the Machine

Jeanne Gang

Holistic Planning

Ann Forsyth

How Not to Die

Jenna Sutela

In Your Backyard

Jose Ahedo

Off-the-Grid Treatment

Peter Rose

Reading Hollywood in the Smog

David Gissen


Susan Merriam

The End of Sitting


Youthfulness without Youth

Deane Simpson


Neuromancer Sport

Claire L. Evans

Out-of-Body Experiences: The Polis in Sickness and in Health

Brooke Holmes

White Coat

Nancy Etcoff

Designing for Dignity

Ai-Jen Poo

Healing Cuban-American Relations

María Magdalena Campos-Pons

What Is Medicine? And Where?

Charles E. Rosenberg


Concrete Therapy: Paul Rudolph’s Architecture of Mental Health

Mark Pasnik

Iatrogenic Architecture: Unreliable Narratives of Sustainability

Kiel Moe

In Search of the Water Pump: Architecture and Cholera

Michael Murphy

Messages from Material Reality

Salmaan Craig

The Missing Link: Architecture and Waste Management

Hanif Kara, Andreas Georgoulias, Leire Asensio Villoria

The Non-Spaces of Medical Tourism

I. Glenn Cohen

A Medical-History Tour of Pretoria

Sean O'Toole

Architecture that Breathes

Annmarie Adams

Freedom by Design: The Paradoxes of Psychiatric Architecture

Leslie Topp

Piss and the City

Thomas A. P. Van Leeuwen

The Forgotten Birth of Parametric Design

David Theodore

X-Ray Architecture: The Tuberculosis Effect

Beatriz Colomina


Artificial Natures

George Church, Matthew Allen

Urban Age

Linda Fried, Interboro Partners

No More Shadows

Aaron Betsky, Barrett Brown-Fried

On Atmosphere and Landscape

Germán del Sol, Silvia Benedito

Photo Essay

Silver Lining: The NORCs of New York

Tim Davis, Interboro Partners


Afflicted Form: A History of the Hospital

MASS Design Group

Rereading: My Dear Richard (February 9, 1968)

Raymond Neutra, Barbara Lamprecht

Ten Commandments of the Public Bath

Tuomas Toivonen