Two articles, one in the NY Times Magazine on Sunday, April 16, titled “Level Up” by John Herrman, and another in the Architects Newspaper Magazine, AN-Interiors, March-April issue, titled “House on a Stick” by Matthew Messner, got me thinking. (I know, this is dangerous).

The “Level Up” article is about how the tech world talks about the “stack” of software (used to refer to for hardware too) with which new software products are built. Mr. Herrman uses the smart phone as an example of “a ‘stack’; a layered structure: There’s the low-level code that controls the device’s hardware [design alert: the foundation], and then, higher up, it’s the basic operation system [design alert: the structure], and then even higher, the software you use to message a friend or play a game [design alert: the materials that you actually touch].” I hope my bracketed design alerts help make the “stack” clear. These are my words, not Mr. Herrman’s. The point of the article is that the concept of the “stack” can be applied to ourselves, to the world of politics, to life itself!

In the article, “House on a Stick”, Mr. Messner describes a design firm from Athens, Point Supreme, as having sculptural totems made from the actual materials used in the firm’s Petralona House. Illustrated by the architect’s sketches and photos of the sculptures, the totems look like a design “stack” – randomly assembled for their visual impact, not to explain foundation, structure, or materiality.

This did make me think about the practice of architecture and interiors: Is our “stack” merely the functional, like foundation, structure and materials? Or merely the decorative, like materials, colors and lighting? Or, as I put my stack together, a team made up of clients, brokers, designers, engineers, contractors, suppliers, and people who actually use our spaces?

Perhaps architecture and interior design is a lot like technology in its combination of hardware, software, and user interface/experience.

What is your “stack” like? If you are part of the LS&A “stack” (or family), please comment below. To learn more about how to get started on your next architecture or interiors project, contact me directly at or call the office at (617) 234-5300 x 0. We would love to be a part of your functional and beautiful project stack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *