The short story: From a young age I’ve loved two things: building and writing. I pursued a career in architecture but after five years of school and another five years of practice, I unexpectedly found myself writing more than building. Now I write about buildings. And occasionally art. Also, design. And sometimes, rarely, history and pop-culture.

I’ve contributed criticism, essays, and articles to publications including The Guardian, Smithsonian, and Wired, and my first book, Pedagogy and Place: 100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale, was published in 2016. I’ve also conducted interviews and moderated conversations for print and film, and have helped architects and artists write and edit applications, statements, and monographs. I pride myself on making complex ideas accessible and, more importantly, interesting. It’s all about finding a narrative and telling a good story. Whether that story is about a a 80-story apartment tower, a new subway station, or the origin of the fire hydrant, it should be informative and engaging.

The longer story: After graduating with a degree in architecture from Tulane University in 2004, I started the blog Life Without Buildings and spent the next five years designing buildings by day and blogging about them by night. When I realized that I enjoyed writing about architecture more than I enjoyed practicing architecture, I decided to pursue it more seriously.

In 2011 I graduated from the M.E.D. research program at the Yale University School of Architecture, where I learned the importance of history and thorough research, the value of experimentation, and the proper way to make a martini. My thesis explored the history of glass and its uses in architecture, from stained-glass windows to the touchscreens in your pocket. You’d be surprised how much Chartres cathedral has in common with your iPhone.

From 2011-2015 I wrote about the history and design of everyday objects for Smithsonian while also researching and writing Pedagogy and Place, co-authored with Robert A.M. Stern. I’ve also contributed to The Journal of Architecture Education, Dwell, Curbed, and many other websites and publications. I’ve lectured and served on juries at several schools, and I can occasionally be heard on public radio discussing everything from the origin of the outhouse to Michelangelo’s David (You probably wouldn’t be surprised how little those two things have in common).

Currently, I’m taking all that experience and working on my second book, which has been described as “a slightly tongue-in-cheek field guide to urban design” while continuing to work as an editorial consultant helping architects and artists write and edit their own publications. When I’m not working, I enjoy baking pies, drinking bourbon, and working with my wife to redesign and renovate our 100-year-old bungalow.

If you’re looking for a writer with a penchant for Piranesi and pop-culture, please do get in touch. You can find me wandering through Brooklyn or Philadelphia, dreaming of Gotham City and missing New Orleans. Or just email me at jamestamp@gmail.com