43: Shelf Life F/W 2016

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No. 43, F/W 2016 Shelf Life

The more stuff we accumulate, the more space we need to store it all. Vast portions of the landscape are claimed and governed by spaces of storage, their maintenance, and the goods that move through them—or remain buried within them indefinitely.

This issue of Harvard Design Magazine investigates and unpacks the contents, containers, and systems of storage that organize our world.

Storage is the aggregation and containment of the material and immaterial stuff of culture; but also the safeguarding—or hoarding—of energy and tools for some imagined future purpose. How does all this stuff mask or overcompensate for economic and ecological bankruptcy? Is storage about greed or need? Storage, perhaps, is everything we can live without but insist on living with.

“Shelf Life” explores what’s inside the box (shed, tank, urn, vault, crypt, crate, case, pot, bag, vat, morgue, safe, bin, archive, warehouse, cabinet, cellar, cemetery, depository, locker, freezer, landfill, library). Even as we attempt to reduce and recycle, the stuff that we dispose of also needs to be stored. Where do we put it? Our planet is now a saturated receptacle. This warehouse is full, and we’re all inside it.

Table of Contents

Editor’s Note

Socks and Stocks

Jennifer Sigler


Learning from the Steel

Susan Nigra Snyder

Mammoth and Other Frozen Meats

Hi’ilei Julia Hobart

A Civic Monument That Never Was

Fabrizio Gallanti

Built Like a Skyscraper

Craig Robertson

Catching Rain in Singapore

Benjamin Leclair-Paquet

Grain Silos Go to India

Ateya Khorakiwala

Information Material

Jesse LeCavalier

Keeping It Fresh

Melissa Cate Christ, Tomas Holderness, Daisy Tam

Marking Toxicity

Robb Moss, Peter Galison

Meals, Ready to Throw Away

Jesse Connuck

Media Clutter

Lynn Spigel

Slope to Drain

Kate Orff

The Other City

Samuel Medina

Trash at the Center of the Theater of the World


Use in Case of Emergency Only

Jacob Lillemose

When Aalto Met Google

Rory Hyde


Crackers, Granite Mountain, and Future Memories

Brian Evenson

Cupboard Love

Emily King


Jonathan Olivares

Anxious about Stuff

Martti Kalliala

Architecture without Content

Kersten Geers

Carry, Conceal, Hide, Suggest, Cover

Femke de Vries, Joke Robaard

Formatting the Modern Dream

Anna-Maria Meister


Barry Yourgrau

The Five Points of Cloud Architecture

Antonio Furgiuele

The Temperamental Interior

John May, Zeina Koreitem


Before BILLY: A Brief History of the Bookcase

Shannon Mattern

Storage Flows: Logistics as Urban Choreography

Clare Lyster

La Esmeralda, and a Brief Interrogation of Prison Ship Memory

Bryan Finoki

Gray Space

Alex O’Briant

Hiding in Plain View

Mark Mulligan

Hoarders of Magnitude: Super (and Not-So-Super-) Organisms

Kiel Moe

Life in Storage

Peggy Kamuf

Notes on More

Andrew Holder

Objectives: The Architectural Potentials of Storage

Megan Panzano

The Trove: On Vaults, Innards, and the Broad Collection

Mimi Zeiger


In My Possession

Maira Kalman


Talking Objects

Martin Roth, Mohsen Mostafavi

Under the Bed Is a Dark, Cool Place

Darra Goldstein, Christina E. Crawford

Designing the Void

Anupama Kundoo, Ateya Khorakiwala

Unité as White Cube

Tom Burr, Alex Kitnick

Photo Essay


Armin Linke


Lager: Two Storage Buildings for Ricola

Jacques Herzog


Rhonda Ganz


David Zielnicki


Editor in Chief
Jennifer Sigler

Deputy Editor
Leah Whitman-Salkin

Publications Coordinator
Meghan Ryan Sandberg

Creative Direction & Design
Jiminie Ha, Fahad Al–Hunaif
With Projects, Inc.

Editorial Support
David Huber, Gina Ciancone

Rebecca McNamara

Die Keure, Belgium