About

Kurt Kohlstedt‘s new book, The 99% Invisible City, explores the hidden world of everyday design. Kurt is a an author, editor and the founder of multiple digital magazines. He is currently the digital director and a producer at 99% Invisible, the best (radio show and) podcast in the world. He writes on topics including design,¬†architecture, urbanism and infrastructure and can be heard on episodes now and then, too.

Kurt was the keynote speaker in 2012 for the Highlands & Islands Awards for Architecture ceremony of the Inverness Architectural Association, and has spoken at other design events including Adobe MAX and the American Institute of ArchitectsPostcard Identities & Esoteric Landmarks.

Kurt studied art, design, theater, and other things at Carleton College where he got a BA in Philosophy before spending a few years in occupations related to residential design and construction. He worked with a small architecture firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, followed by an apprenticeship at a graphic and industrial design agency in Bayreuth, Germany, all before diving into freelance construction and carpentry projects in Seattle, Washington. He also designed theatrical sets for independent plays along the way. He eventually began and completed a graduate degree (Master of Architecture) at the University of Washington, Seattle, with a theoretical design solution for the underside of the Spokane Street Viaduct incorporating research on nomadic urbanism, adaptive reuse, portable cargo container architecture and modular design approaches.

Upon completion (or, more accurately: during procrastination) of his final thesis project for the MArch program in Seattle, Kurt started to write articles about urban art, design and visual culture. Before long, WebUrbanist became a full-time (pre)occupation. Next came WebEcoist (sibling site to WebUrbanist), followed by Dornob and Gajitz. A few of these publications have since been sold to larger publishing companies including Evolve Media and Internet Brands. WebUrbanist, his original creation, has been sunset but the archives remain available online.

Kurt was born in Upstate New York, grew up in the Twin Cities of Minnesota (with brief periods living in Germany and Australia) and resided for a number of years in semi-sunless (but beautiful) Seattle. He currently resides in Oakland, California, after some years as a part-time digital nomad, enjoying the mixed bag of challenges and benefits that come from being an independent writer, publisher and all of that — but the grass is always greener, so he decided to try something new, join 99pi and has been having a blast working with host Roman Mars and other creative people at the show for the past 5 years.

Past research and work trips have taken Kurt to Beijing, Hong Kong, Chicago and New York City; longer and more recent extended live/work stays have included San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco. He’s always looking for professional opportunities (or other good excuses) to revisit these places as well as favorite cities like Amsterdam and Berlin.