Design as Protest event, part of our must-reads

15 Must-Reads to Help You Prepare for 2022

With insightful analysis, critical perspectives, and in-depth reporting, Metropolis contributors give you the tools you need for the year ahead.

How does one prepare for another uncertain year? By throwing one’s mind back, and remembering: we have been here before and prevailed. To help with that, the Metropolis team has gathered 15 must-reads below. Gathered into 5 themes, these selections from a year of painstaking reporting and thought-provoking analysis should help you prepare for the challenges that lie ahead in 2022. 

At Metropolis, we started 2021 knowing our 40th anniversary was coming up, so introspection came naturally to us. Even as we pored over hundreds of student portfolios to select our inaugural Metropolis Future100, launched a new column on product transparency, or picked the best and brightest emerging talents, we kept returning to our archives that represent four decades of storytelling and advocacy. Throughout this year, we asked ourselves: How can we build on that legacy?

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Interior Designers, Commit to Making a Positive Impact

Start 2022 right by signing the Interior Design Pledge for Positive Impact, and join a movement to address climate, health, and equity through design.

It pushed us to create a slew of new initiatives and platforms to help architects and designers fight against climate change. In June, we kicked off the first Metropolis Sustainability Hackathon, bringing together 60 participants representing A&D firms, real estate, construction, manufacturing, industry associations, and clients to create the Climate Toolkit for Interior Design. Meanwhile, we worked with ASID, IIDA, and IDC to develop the Interior Design Pledge for Positive Impact, the first comprehensive framework for interior design that focuses the future of the profession on the triple pillars of Climate, Health, and Equity. Throughout the year, we published projects that represent new frontiers in sustainable practice.

In August, our 40th Anniversary issue put a spotlight on equity, for good reason. Inequity is not a by-product or an exacerbating factor of crises like global warming or the pandemic—it is a structural reason why those problems arise. If we cannot ensure that design benefits all people fairly and equitably, then we doom ourselves to failure in our efforts to address the climate crisis and the health crisis.

This is why Metropolis ended 2021 with a call to recognize Embodied Justice as a key concept in architecture, and why our list of 15 must-reads below begins with the theme of equity and inclusion.

We hope you find valuable insights and inspiration in these articles, and will in turn continue to inspire us with your creativity and resilience in 2022. Happy holidays, and a happy new year!


Why Aren’t Black Firms Working on Memorials to Slavery?
A new memorial in Virginia is the latest cultural project acknowledging a debt to enslaved African Americans. But the most high-profile commissions and contracts are hardly ever awarded to African-American firms.

Six Initiatives Model Ways to Practice True Design Justice
Across the globe, architects, designers, and planners are redefining what it means to be an advocate in the design professions.

Can Craft Save America?
A trio of exhibitions seeks to rediscover something about our nation through the work of its makers and artists.

A New Concept for Good Architecture: Embodied Justice
As the social justice movement thrives and the concept of embodied carbon shifts the climate conversation, architects and designers are reexamining the deep impact of their work.


Form Follows Fantasy: The Rise of the “Dreamscapes” Movement
At the intersection of architecture and advertising, a new aesthetic movement in digital art blurs fact and fiction.

A Neon Pink Structure Rises in the Metaverse
Digital designers Benny Or and Cyril Lancelin discuss their four-story NFT environment, The Meeting Place, and the potentials for metaverse architecture.


What Makes the Perfect Workplace?
From virtual reality to circular design, here is Metropolis‘s vision for today’s dream office.

Can Manuals and Toolkits Help Us Design a Safer Present or Future?
Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, architecture and design firms across the country have shared numerous toolkits and manuals, but will they help build a future rooted in equity?

David Benjamin’s Venice Biennale Installation Makes the Case for Probiotic Living
While some experts seek to protect us from pathogens, others argue that we must learn to live with microbes.

A Pandemic-Conscious Blueprint for Architecture
How uniform standards applied across the built environment can protect our communities from COVID-19 and future pandemics


Biden Must Not Miss the Chance to Build Back Greener
A group of architecture, engineering, and construction firms call on the Biden administration to use the Build Back Better program to raise the bar on the industry’s sustainability.

The American Jobs Plan Should Help Us Avoid Climate Catastrophe, Not Build a Carbon Bomb
Billy Fleming, Wilks Family Director of the Ian L. McHarg Center at the University of Pennsylvania, examines the American Jobs Plan and its implications for the design industry.


Hong Kong’s New M+ Museum Is a Beautiful Study in Contradiction
Designed by Herzog & De Meuron, the impressive building asserts Hong Kong’s cultural ascendancy while also magnifying the region’s unescapable political tensions.

This is What Germany’s First Second-Hand House Looks Like
Outside of Hanover, Germany, a curious client and an innovative architecture office pushed the limits on the possibility of building with recycled materials.

6 Projects That Made the Netherlands a World Capital of Adaptive Reuse
A recent wave of large-scale projects is transforming five Dutch cities and encouraging creative reuse of derelict industrial sites around the world.

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