Growing up in California, Deb Sokolow would stroll the sidewalks in of her drought-plagued suburb, looking at her neighbors’ houses, which, despite the lack of rainfall, often featured neon-green front lawns. “I was very visually interested and aware of my surroundings to a point where I was critical of them,” she says. “But I remember seeing one yard and thinking it was the coolest thing because it was the one yard that was nonconforming.” Instead of conventional lawn ornaments or manicured gardens, this house’s yard was strewn with pottery and blooming with native flowers. Young Sokolow took note of its originality and wondered why more homeowners didn’t forge their own aesthetic path.
Now, Sokolow creates highly detailed architectural drawings. She used to focus on politics—drawing books of dictators, politicians, and cult leaders—but after the 2016 election, she needed a break. Yet even her newer works, with their crisp lines and saturated colors, have a political edge. Each drawing in her series A Visionary (and Somewhat Skeptical) Architectural Future presents a sharp, three-dimensional idea for a model office space. However, Sokolow also questions the god-complex of architectural firms and others who plan our cities, buildings, and workspaces. “I’m skeptical that architecture always has a vision,” Sokolow says. “Sometimes [that vision] is a utopia, but I often feel like there’s no possibility of that.”
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