And there was my father, standing with me outside, admiring a day's work,
hair on his head, fully in remission, when he turned to me and he said, "You know, Michael, this house saved my life."
So the following year, I decided to go to architecture school.
But there, I learned something different about buildings.
Recognition seemed to come to those who prioritized novel and sculptural forms, like ribbons, or ... pickles?
And I think this is supposed to be a snail.
Something about this bothered me.
Why was it that the best architects, the greatest architecture -- all beautiful and visionary and innovative
is also so rare, and seems to serve so very few?
And more to the point: With all of this creative talent, what more could we do?
Just as I was about to start my final exams, I decided to take a break from an all-nighter
and go to a lecture by Dr. Paul Farmer, a leading health activist for the global poor.
I was surprised to hear a doctor talking about architecture.
Buildings are making people sicker, he said, and for the poorest in the world, this is causing epidemic-level problems.
In this hospital in South Africa, patients that came in with, say, a broken leg,
to wait in this unventilated hallway, walked out with a multidrug-resistant strand of tuberculosis.
Simple designs for infection control had not been thought about, and people had died because of it.