Pink Noise Machine for Baby Fred and Other Tiny Humans

Needing a distraction from the idle thoughts that come with global pandemic and democratic collapse, I started working last year on a pink noise machine to help our then-expected child. We welcomed Fred in December and he’s enjoying the lullaby block—Lullablock—on a daily basis, so I’m sharing the files in case it’s useful to others (link below).

It started with an innocent search for a noisemaker with a minimal appearance and no internet connection. Since the minute we told friends and family that a child was coming we have been fighting a war against the lazy aesthetic of baby things…

An online interior design service could vaporize the industry on the way to making shopping more efficient

I live in a townhouse in Lafayette Park, Detroit, a neighborhood designed by Mies van der Rohe, and am also an architect with a background in technology. When I saw the website Modsy offering interior design services for under $100 per room, and all conducted virtually, I needed to find out what makes it possible. So I signed up and asked Modsy to redesign my living room. Pitting Modsy vs. …

Once you see the #eaglepants you’ll never unsee them

This essay was written for Midwest Architectural Journeys, an excellent collection of essays about buildings and spaces across the center of the United States. Though the essay is about Detroit, the photos in this online version are from other cities. Use the text to find Detroit geo-eagles on your own. Buy the book and support small publishers!

Exploring a city for the first time, one chooses what threads they will pull to understand the architecture of the place and the people who built it. I look to the geo-ornithology: the population of stone and metal eagles that can be found…

“In the evolutionary urban order, Detroit today has always been your town tomorrow.” -Coleman A. Young, first Black Mayor of Detroit

Reading this quotation by Mayor Young for the first time, you will not know if it is an invitation or a warning until you visit. Some cities wow you with their skyline, others grab you with their natural beauty, or electrify you with their vibrant culture. Detroit has all of those things but Detroit is not about you, it is about Detroit. Come here and you will find a city that is proud of what it is today, while simultaneously and aggressively working towards whatever is next. This is not a place to be idly consumed, but a place to…

How do we keep and share memories in the design studio?

Think about this next time you’re high up in a skyscraper: the architect probably slept through structures class. That’s because in architecture school, and design schools more broadly, studio courses are the pinnacle and students often devote a huge amount of their effort to studio at the expense of other coursework (if you‘re wondering what a studio is, scroll down to the bottom of this essay).

Experimental memory device. Materials: paper, non carbon copy paper, pen

Typically studio is centered around two forms of interaction with the professor, desk critiques and pin ups. The latter are formal presentations in…

What happens to architects who graduate into uncertainty and recession?

This post is for my students and other designers and architects graduating in 2020. As part of my role as visiting professor of practice at the University of Michigan I’ve been listening to students ask questions about what COVID-19 means for their careers. The students I teach are working on their thesis projects right now, which means they’re facing an extremely high degree of uncertainty in the coming months. Seeking the wisdom of others who’ve been through similar experiences, I put a call out via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and am collecting a summary version of those threads below.

What could this mean for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction as an industry?

Week two of Teaching Remote but not Distant

How do 14 people scream all at once, via separate internet connections, in separate rooms, together across four cities and two continents? By drawing. We began the week with a shared whiteboard and a five minute countdown:

Remote Architecture Education, March 2020

From everything that we know right now, the coming weeks will not be easy ones as COVID19 cuts the bottom out from under us. Everyone is adjusting, and in multiple ways, as each of their roles reorient to the reality at hand. Lots of plans changing, discussions about plans changing, and then all of it changing again before you can even get used to the new new.

At University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning I am teaching a graduate thesis studio with thirteen students at the moment. First the College went online-suggested, then online-only. The thesis…

An experimental workshop on urban spaces, interactions, and institutions

Looking out at the skyline of Manhattan, my father (a Texan at heart who had not been to NYC before) remarked in reverence, “look at all those bricks… all that work!” Cities are a matter battle of bricks and concrete and glass and steel and asphalt and bikes and people and trees, and they are each an unceasing work of art.

It’s not the bricks that make Copenhagen different than Detroit though, it’s the way those cities make decisions about their respective piles of bricks: who uses them, how to use them, who gets to be involved in deciding…

Bryan Boyer

Buildings & cities & all the things between. More at

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