• Best Practices: A companion to architecture and its messy relationship with building materials, signage systems, communication equipment, plant life, and people.
    Erin Besler and Ian Besler
    Sylvia Lavin
    AR+D Applied Research and Design Publishing, 2021
    Besler & Sons:
    Erin Besler &
    Ian Besler

Erin Besler and Ian Besler, “Doric Affirmation,” Los Angeles, 2015. Courtesy Erin Besler and Ian Besler

A thought-provoking guide to the endearing and enigmatic ways in which the built environment takes shape, Best Practices proposes a new way of thinking about neighborhoods, housing developments, streetscapes, and storefronts, not so much as places defined by building codes, dimensions, or geographic features, but as assemblages of ad hoc interventions and incidental ephemera. Best Practices is an invitation to thoroughly reconsider issues of expertise, professionalism, power, ubiquity, defaults, communication environments, construction practices, and how these things confront architecture. The book proposes a broader and more all-encompassing set of interests and references for contemporary architecture and design discourse. Pairing photographic documentation with extensive captions and citations, Best Practices defines a territory within the margins between the sanctioned and unsanctioned, the regulated and unregulated, the tasteful and tacky, the novel and the nonsense. While not necessarily in opposition of those mechanisms, Best Practices asserts that interest, knowledge, and meaning are more often generated on the lines that divide such categories. The book advocates for a more thorough consideration of the unauthorized remodels, slap-dash handiwork, haphazard paint jobs, half-hearted do-it-yourself projects, cracked facades, contradictions, compromises, and coincidences.

Erin Besler (they/them/theirs) is an assistant professor of architecture at Princeton University and cofounder of Besler & Sons, a studio that designs buildings, software, objects, interfaces, and interiors. Their research is characterized by a particular interest in construction technologies, social media, and other platforms for producing and sharing content where interactions rely less on expertise and more on ubiquity. They are a recipient of the Architectural League of New York Young Architects Prize and the Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome.

Ian Besler (he/him/his) is a visiting assistant professor of design at Pratt Institute and cofounder of Besler & Sons. He is a designer, educator, and writer whose work is situated at the edges between interfaces, media, software, and cities. Trained as a journalist and media designer, Besler’s approach to design research applies tools of writing, reporting, and visual communication to bear on the vernaculars, defaults, incidentals, and workarounds of visual communication and digital interactions.