Margaret Helfand frames a discussion of her design philosophy around a three-year world tour. She characterizes her photographs of the Galapagos Islands as a document of “life at its most basic.” She reflects on the various vernacular architecture styles and building techniques she encountered on her travels. Helfand argues for a return to simplicity in contemporary architecture practice. Helfand discusses a series of recent projects. In a recent office renovation she stresses materials and details. She presents some furniture designs, stressing the simplicity of construction. Helfand discusses her strategy for dealing with a “peculiar site” in her competition entry for art galleries and a sculpture garden in Providence, Rhode Island. She concludes with a presentation of two retail showrooms, each employing natural materials and intricate construction details.