Personal Essay

Compress and Expand

February 10, 2013 • 1
Architects talk about compression and expansion. It is one of architecture’s fundamental techniques, and it has become a trope. The meaning is vague, but understood by all. Compression and expansion is the experience of moving through small, narrow spaces and grand, open spaces — a long, dark tunnel suddenly gives way to a high-ceilinged auditorium. »

“The terror lasted as long as recess.”

September 9, 2011 • 0
The terror lasted as long as recess. I sat cross-legged in the field behind my elementary school, with a few girls from my class. We picked the heads off dandelions and talked about what we’d heard from our mothers and homeroom teachers. Those girls — all eyes, freckles, and bubblegum breaths — talked about planes »

Su Wei and Su Laoshi

April 13, 2011 • 0
In Su Wei’s cluttered office, Chinese calligraphy, framed photographs, and awards cover the wall. Papers and books are spread across every surface. The floor creaks as Su Wei walks across the room. From a shelf filled with thick Chinese encyclopedias, he picks up a baseball and turns it over in his hands. It is a »