Issue 11
ISSUE
STORY TYPE
AUTHOR
10
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
May 28, 2024
In Search of Domestic Kintsugi
by Edwin Heathcote
10
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
May 13, 2024
The Perils of the Landscapes We Make
by Karrie Jacobs
10
PERSPECTIVE
May 6, 2024
Using Simple Tools as a Radical Act of Independence
by Jarrett Fuller
9
PERSPECTIVE
April 29, 2024
Why Can’t I Just Go Home?
by Eva Hagberg
9
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
April 22, 2024
Why Did Our Homes Stop Evolving?
by George Kafka
9
ROUNDTABLE
April 8, 2024
Spaces Where the Body Is a Vital Force
by Tiffany Jow
9
BOOK REVIEW
April 1, 2024
Tracing the Agency of Women as Users and Experts of Architecture
by Mimi Zeiger
9
PERSPECTIVE
March 25, 2024
Are You Sitting in a Non-Place?
by Mzwakhe Ndlovu
9
ROUNDTABLE
March 11, 2024
At Home, Connecting in Place
by Marianela D’Aprile
9
PERSPECTIVE
March 4, 2024
VALIE EXPORT’s Tactical Urbanism
by Alissa Walker
8
PERSPECTIVE
February 26, 2024
What the “Whole Earth Catalog” Taught Me About Building Utopias
by Anjulie Rao
8
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
February 19, 2024
How a Run-Down District in London Became a Model for Neighborhood Revitalization
by Ellen Peirson
8
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
February 12, 2024
In Brooklyn, Housing That Defies the Status Quo
by Gideon Fink Shapiro
8
PERSPECTIVE
February 5, 2024
That “Net-Zero” Home Is Probably Living a Lie
by Fred A. Bernstein
8
PERSPECTIVE
January 22, 2024
The Virtue of Corporate Architecture Firms
by Kate Wagner
8
PERSPECTIVE
January 16, 2024
How Infrastructure Shapes Us
by Deb Chachra
8
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
January 8, 2024
The Defiance of Desire Lines
by Jim Stephenson
7
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
December 18, 2023
This House Is Related to You and to Your Nonhuman Relatives
by Sebastián López Cardozo
7
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
December 11, 2023
What’s the Point of the Plus Pool?
by Ian Volner
7
BOOK REVIEW
December 4, 2023
The Extraordinary Link Between Aerobics and Architecture
by Jarrett Fuller
7
PERSPECTIVE
November 27, 2023
Architecture That Promotes Healing and Fortifies Us for Action
by Kathryn O’Rourke
7
objects and things
November 6, 2023
How to Design for Experience
by Diana Budds
7
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
October 30, 2023
The Meaty Objects at Marta
by Jonathan Griffin
6
OBJECTS AND THINGS
October 23, 2023
How Oliver Grabes Led Braun Back to Its Roots
by Marianela D’Aprile
6
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
October 16, 2023
Can Adaptive Reuse Fuel Equitable Revitalization?
by Clayton Page Aldern
6
PERSPECTIVE
October 9, 2023
What’s the Point of a Tiny Home?
by Mimi Zeiger
6
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
October 2, 2023
A Book Where Torn-Paper Blobs Convey Big Ideas
by Julie Lasky
6
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
September 24, 2023
The Architecture of Doing Nothing
by Edwin Heathcote
6
BOOK REVIEW
September 18, 2023
What the “Liebes Look” Says About Dorothy Liebes
by Debika Ray
6
OBJECTS AND THINGS
September 11, 2023
Roy McMakin’s Overpowering Simplicity
by Eva Hagberg
6
OBJECTS AND THINGS
September 5, 2023
Minimalism’s Specific Objecthood, Interpreted by Designers of Today
by Glenn Adamson
5
ROUNDTABLE
August 28, 2023
How Joan Jonas and Eiko Otake Navigate Transition
by Siobhan Burke
5
OBJECTS AND THINGS
August 21, 2023
The Future-Proofing Work of Design-Brand Archivists
by Adrian Madlener
5
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
August 14, 2023
Can a Church Solve Canada’s Housing Crisis?
by Alex Bozikovic
5
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
August 7, 2023
In Search of Healing, Helen Cammock Confronts the Past
by Jesse Dorris
5
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
July 31, 2023
What Dead Malls, Office Parks, and Big-Box Stores Can Do for Housing
by Ian Volner
5
PERSPECTIVE
July 24, 2023
A Righteous Way to Solve “Wicked” Problems
by Susan Yelavich
5
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
July 17, 2023
Making a Mess, with a Higher Purpose
by Andrew Russeth
5
ROUNDTABLE
July 10, 2023
How to Emerge from a Starchitect’s Shadow
by Cynthia Rosenfeld
4
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
June 26, 2023
There Is No One-Size-Fits-All in Architecture
by Marianela D’Aprile
4
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
June 19, 2023
How Time Shapes Amin Taha’s Unconventionally Handsome Buildings
by George Kafka
4
SHOW AND TELL
June 12, 2023
Seeing and Being Seen in JEB’s Radical Archive of Lesbian Photography
by Svetlana Kitto
4
PERSPECTIVE
June 5, 2023
In Built Environments, Planting Where It Matters Most
by Karrie Jacobs
3
PERSPECTIVE
May 30, 2023
On the Home Front, a Latine Aesthetic’s Ordinary Exuberance
by Anjulie Rao
3
PERSPECTIVE
May 21, 2023
For a Selfie (and Enlightenment), Make a Pilgrimage to Bridge No. 3
by Alexandra Lange
3
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
May 8, 2023
The Building Materials of the Future Might Be Growing in Your Backyard
by Marianna Janowicz
3
BOOK REVIEW
May 1, 2023
Moving Beyond the “Fetishisation of the Forest”
by Edwin Heathcote
2
ROUNDTABLE
April 24, 2023
Is Craft Still Synonymous with the Hand?
by Tiffany Jow
2
OBJECTS AND THINGS
April 17, 2023
A Historian Debunks Myths About Lacemaking, On LaceTok and IRL
by Julie Lasky
2
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
April 10, 2023
How AI Helps Architects Design, and Refine, Their Buildings
by Ian Volner
2
SHOW AND TELL
April 3, 2023
Merging Computer and Loom, a Septuagenarian Artist Weaves Her View of the World
by Francesca Perry
1
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
March 27, 2023
Words That Impede Architecture, According to Reinier de Graaf
by Osman Can Yerebakan
1
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
March 20, 2023
Painting With Plaster, Monica Curiel Finds a Release
by Andrew Russeth
1
PERSPECTIVE
March 13, 2023
Rules and Roles in Life, Love, and Architecture
by Eva Hagberg
1
Roundtable
March 6, 2023
A Design Movement That Pushes Beyond Architecture’s Limitations
by Tiffany Jow
0
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
February 7, 2023
To Improve the Future of Public Housing, This Architecture Firm Looks to the Past
by Ian Volner
0
PERSPECTIVE
February 7, 2023
The Radical Potential of “Prime Objects”
by Glenn Adamson
0
SHOW AND TELL
February 20, 2023
Xiyadie’s Queer Cosmos
by Xin Wang
0
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
February 13, 2023
How Michael J. Love’s Subversive Tap Dancing Steps Forward
by Jesse Dorris
0
SHOW AND TELL
February 7, 2023
Finding Healing and Transformation Through Good Black Art
by Folasade Ologundudu
0
BOOK REVIEW
February 13, 2023
How Stephen Burks “Future-Proofs” Craft
by Francesca Perry
0
ROUNDTABLE
February 27, 2023
Making Use of End Users’ Indispensable Wisdom
by Tiffany Jow
0
OBJECTS AND THINGS
February 7, 2023
The New Lessons Architect Steven Harris Learns from Driving Old Porsches
by Jonathan Schultz
0
PERSPECTIVE
February 7, 2023
The Day Architecture Stopped
by Kate Wagner
0
OBJECTS AND THINGS
February 7, 2023
The Overlooked Potential of Everyday Objects
by Adrian Madlener
0
ROUNDTABLE
February 7, 2023
A Conversation About Generalists, Velocity, and the Source of Innovation
by Tiffany Jow
0
OBJECTS AND THINGS
February 7, 2023
Using a Fungi-Infused Paste, Blast Studio Turns Trash Into Treasure
by Natalia Rachlin
Untapped is published by the design company Henrybuilt.
PERSPECTIVE
05.06.2024
Using Simple Tools as a Radical Act of Independence

Building with basic mediums, from HTML to 2x4s, can be a way to assert autonomy and longevity.

Screenshot of Jarrett Fuller's current website.
The homepage of the author’s website. (Courtesy Jarrett Fuller)


A few months ago, I needed to make some changes to my website. What started as simple content edits—updating my biography, adding projects to my portfolio—quickly spiraled into a bigger project. New content types required new templates. My website is hand-built; I don’t use a content management system or an off-the-shelf-platform. Before I knew it, I was staying up late, rethinking the content architecture from the ground up.

I’ve been making websites for 20 years, and have been building and rebuilding my own website for just as long. I taught myself HTML when I was 15 by clicking “View Source” in my web browser, then copying and pasting snippets of code to hack together simple web pages until they looked good and functioned properly. Since then, I’ve used HTML (albeit in a more sophisticated capacity) and CSS, another coding language, to make nearly every website I’ve ever worked on. It recently dawned on me that many of the design tools I used when I began my career are now obsolete or have radically changed. Updating my website these last few months, I sometimes felt like I was 15 again.

Websites are perhaps the only type of design project I can work on the same way I did when I was a teenager. Figma didn’t exist, nor did any of the other upstart design software companies that have come and gone over the years. The Adobe Creative Suite looks increasingly unrecognizable to me, and I’m often unable to open files I created in previous versions. As an undergraduate design student, I took three required classes on Adobe Flash, software that, at the time, felt like the future of web design before it fell out of favor a few years later.

I never used Flash outside of those classes. But a website? My tools of the trade remain unchanged. I can pull out an old hard drive, drag index.html to my browser, and there’s the site again, looking more or less exactly how I designed it. The web designer Peter Ström noted this phenomenon, writing on his own website a few years ago: “It is 2022, and I am still—or maybe again?—making websites the same way I have done for 25 years, with HTML and CSS and some basic JS [Javascript] and it is beautiful. The medium still works. The web is wonderful.”

Part of this is because HTML and CSS are open-format languages, meaning they have publicly published specifications that can be used by anyone. “The beauty of HTML is that these standards accrete,” the writer, programmer, software entrepreneur, and web veteran Paul Ford told me. “They don’t replace, but add to. It’s cumulative.”

HTML, an initialism for HyperText Markup Language, gives a website structure. For example, when a web browser sees <body>, it tells the website where the content will begin; <p> denotes that a new paragraph is beginning. CSS, short for Cascading Style Sheets, gives the site style. With CSS, you can tell a website that a text box should be 1200 pixels wide, for example, or that the page’s background color should be #ed1c24 (a color code for red).

A website is essentially a bundle of HTML and CSS files that are linked together on a server. We access these files in a browser like Chrome or Safari via a URL, such as untappedjournal.com. I like to think of HTML and CSS like the 2x4 in construction: When the nail gun replaced the hammer or the power drill replaced the screwdriver, they changed the context, speed, and process of building a home—but the 2x4 is still the most stable structure.

And, like building a building, building a website has evolved. There have been browser updates, faster internet speeds, and updates to the coding languages, each bringing new capabilities to working on the web. Yet the simplicity—and the accessibility—of HTML and CSS means that one can still build a functional website without any modern devices. “In many ways, it’s easier than ever to get started making a website because the tools are available,” Ford says. “The web is still the easiest document-distribution platform that has ever existed.”

“I like to think of HTML and CSS like the 2x4 in construction: When the nail gun replaced the hammer or the power drill replaced the screwdriver, they changed the context, speed, and process of building a home—but the 2x4 is still the most stable structure.”


But the web isn’t just documents built with HTML and CSS anymore. The open web has been replaced by apps—services, functions, and tools—that are built in a variety of programming languages and often platform specific, at the mercy of its operating system updates. Even the websites we’ve long visited are increasingly platform-ized. “The web that many connected to years ago is not what new users will find today,” wrote Tim Berners-Lee, one of the inventors of the internet, on its 29th birthday. “What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms. This concentration of power creates a new set of gatekeepers, allowing a handful of platforms to control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared.”

Content management systems, such as Wordpress or Squarespace, have made designing and publishing on the internet easier than ever—but they’ve also obscured the simplicity of HTML and CSS pages. As the capabilities of internet browsers have increased, so too have the tools increased in complexity. It would be much harder for a 15-year-old today to View Source and understand the code structure that built the website they’re on. Every site is layered with analytics, code snippets, javascript plugins, CMS data, and more.

This is why the simplicity of HTML and CSS now feels like a radical act. To build a website with just these tools is a small protest against platform capitalism: a way to assert sustainability, independence, longevity. “When I’m working in HTML, I feel like I understand my own line of thinking, and I’m able to make structures that support that,” web designer and artist Laurel Schwulst told me. “Not many tools let you do that.”

We don’t often think of digital design—be it websites, applications, products, or otherwise—as objects that last. They feel inherently ephemeral and fleeting. Perhaps it’s because they are built, tested, used, and discarded on screens using tools made on those same screens. A software update might render it unusable, or an uneven business plan puts the application or service out of the market.

This runs counter to the way we talk about design in other fields: We inherently want to design things to last. We admire the artifacts, the objects, the products that stand the test of time, that can be passed down from generation to generation.

The paradox of designing for the web is that the simplicity of building a website with basic tools means it can adapt to the changing technology around it. “For those of us who’ve had our websites for years, each version tells a story about us from a different era,” Schwulst says. “With my new site, the goal was to build a structure that could last for years.” This is not a nostalgia for a web long gone or a resistance to change, but a reminder for those of us working in digital spaces: Legacy is not a bad word.

I finished the updates to my website. The new biography is live, and I finally documented some recent work. I’m happy with the code. I’m going to bed at a normal time again. But online, what does “finished” really mean? I’ve been working and reworking this website for two decades, and I suspect I’ll continue to do so for the next two. The web around it might change, but I’ll retain my little corner of it, trusting that its infrastructure will always work, in some form. Simple tools, used appropriately, withstand the test of time.