Editors: Jennifer Sigler, Leah Whitman Salkin
Publisher: Harvard University Graduate School of Design
208 pages, 30.5 x 22 cm

Price: 74 lei

Like all animals, humans are programmed for survival. Fight or flight? Duck! Run for cover! Our reflex, when we register fear, is to protect ourselves. Architecture’s answer, “shelter,” is said to derive from sheltron, or “shield” + “troop”; phalanx.
But what shields or defends can intimidate, exclude, and punish. Architecture is not just refuge, but target and weapon; buildings entrap, collapse, explode, segregate.
This issue of Harvard Design Magazine explores how fear—of assault, of nature, of power, of the Other—shapes our physical world, and how the built environment provokes, prevents, or palliates fear.
Today, we move about our cities and spaces warily, attuned to threats of violence, disease, economic crash. Sensations of dread, awe, vulnerability—both perceived and real—are mirrored and magnified by the people, objects, and media that surround us. In panic, we run toward and away from the structures and landscapes that figure in our fears; we succumb to lockdowns; we migrate, seeking safer worlds. All the while, we blind ourselves to the regimes of control enacted in the name of safety which ultimately encroach on our civil liberties.
Our instinctive urge to hide under tables might save us when faced with a shooter, a bomb, or an earthquake, but more abstract threats ask our minds, not just our adrenaline, to intervene. Can we think our way out of fear? Design our way through dread?
As the makers and inhabitants of this militarized “age of terror,” we reach for our “shields” automatically, often avoiding the deeper sources of fear. “Run for Cover!” suggests that maybe designers need to unlearn the shelter reflex. Fear can be a motivator for progress—not for walling in or walling out, but for imagining, configuring, and instrumentalizing spaces that foster coexistence, cooperation, and trust.

Table of Contents:

Editor’s note: Dreadful Design

Jennifer Sigler

Wide Open
Nancy Etcoff

Fortress London: The New US Embassy and the Rise of Counter-Terror Urbanism
Oliver Wainwright

Feeling Invaded
John Kuo Wei Tchen

Gimme Shelter: Refugee Architecture in Germany
Niklas Maak

Phobia and the City: Rome
Lars Lerup

Holding Fear
Sonja Dümpelmann

Unsettling Unsettlements
Marianne F. Potvin

Anthropocenophobia: The Stone Falls on the City
Renata Tyszczuk

Solitary in Solidarity
Daniel D’Oca

Fear Ebbs on the Skyline but Rises on the Ground
Blair Kamin

Get Me Out of Here: The Solemn Geography of Women in Horror Film
Caryn Coleman

Reading Jane Jabobs in the Era of #BlackLivesMatter
Stuart Schrader

Krzysztof Wodiczko

Animal Eyes & Invisible Hunters
Eugénie Shinkle

Fearful Asymmetry: Insurgency and the Architectures of Terror
Joshua Comaroff

Die Noctuque
Enrique Ramirez

A Certain Darkness
Demdike Stare & Robert Gerard Pietrusko

Who’s Afraid of the Covered Face?
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi

Artifacts of Exclusion
Interboro Partners

Fear Is in the Detail
Francesca Hughes & Gergely Kovács

The Iconic Ghetto and the Stigma of Blackness
Elijah Anderson

A Toxic Patrimony
Dan Borelli

The Green Zone: Architectures of Precarious Politics
Amin Alsaden

How to Draw Medellín
Alejandro Echeverri & Alejandro Valdivieso

Mortal Cities
Arna Mačkić

Bringing Back the Front: Relieving the Great War
Justin Fowler

Home Safe
Geoff Manaugh

The Fall of Postmodernism and the New Empowerment
Michael Murphy

Building for the Total Breakdown
Jacob Lillemose

A State of Emergency
Léopold Lambert

Conflict Urbanism, Aleppo
Laura Kurgan

Nuclear Pillowcases
Andrew Wasserman

The Real Move
Elizabeth Streb & Chelsea Spencer

Fear, Faith, and Disaster Preparedness
Arif Khan

The House of One: Facing Fear
Lara Schrijver

Pastiche of Ghosts

Second Nature
Ralph Ghoche

Suspunk: Thinking with Suspicious Packages
Javier Arbona, Bryan Finocki, Nick Sowers

The Horror, the Horror
Bart Lootsma

Robert Smithson, Evel Knievel, and the Landscape of Reclamation
Edward Eigen

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Feared Spaces, Feared Bodies
Toni L. Griffin

Fear, Fire, and Forty-One Snakes: Notes on the Burning Theater
Thomas A. P. Van Leeuwen

Ambiguous Thresholds
Nuttinee Karnchanaporn