• Best Practices
    Erin Besler and Ian Besler
    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

In visually cataloging 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 impromptu interventions and incidental ephemera. Drawing on the history of architecture, media theory, cultural anthropology, and urban studies, Best Practices pairs photographic documentation with extensive captions and citations to define 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. This 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.