Monday, December 30, 2013

An architect's resolutions for the new year.

It's easy to lose track of the fundamentals when one is working on the daily grind of shop drawings, change orders, field reports, and plumbing schedules.  I'd like to step back from the chaos of real life practice for a moment to make six resolutions that I hope will help improve myself as an architect and a person in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Better Late Than Never, I Guess: The AIA Gold Medal Award

The AIA Gold Medal, the highest award of the American Institute of Architects, has been awarded posthumously to Julia Morgan for 2014.

Morgan is the first woman architect to receive this award from the AIA - an award that has been in existence since 1907.  It's taken 107 years for the AIA to award the Gold Medal to a woman architect.  Let me repeat that:  it's taken 107 years for the AIA to award the Gold Medal to a woman architect.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Community and Diversity: A Dialogue

In response to this article at Atlantic Cities called "The Paradox of Diverse Communities", my fellow editor-architect onymously and I had a discussion/hashing out of ideas/questioning session via email that I think really helps illustrate the architect's lens of seeing the world.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Fountainhead, revisited.

Following up on this post about The Fountainhead film, I started wondering how the story would be reinterpreted in the hands of a contemporary (or nearly) director.

  • John Waters' The Fountainhead, with bonus smell-o-vision!  
  • Spike Lee's "The Fountainhead: A Spike Lee Joint."
  • Pixar's The Fountainhead, in which Roark is not an architect at all but instead a modern building trying to get established in a neo-classical city.  Dominique is a flirty and flaky piece of marble.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Architects in Cinema - "The Fountainhead"

The movie The Fountainhead was released in 1949, starring Gary Cooper as Howard Roark, architect, and Patricia Neal as Dominique Francon, architectural critic and author mouthpiece.  Roark is arguably the most well-known fictional architect ever, and this film (based on the book by Ayn Rand of the same name) helps illustrate just why this is such a problem.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Field Guide to Architects: Identifying In The Natural Habitat

For avid architect-watchers in the US, spotting and correctly identifying a typical architect in its natural landscape seems easy, but only on the surface.  One must be careful not to mistake an architect for an interior designer or even a German tourist.  Here are some tips for correct identification.


"We can begin by understanding that we interpret the world through specific lenses, and it's within our own power to change our glasses."
 – Bruce Nussbaum in Creative Intelligence

So true. It isn't a wrongness to have a lens and view but it is also a big importance to realize that we are all standing somewhere that makes a point of view,  and  to understand there are many different glasses in the world, many different points to view from... Some of it overlapping, some of it divergent, mostly complicated and conflated for it's inter-being in a larger soup pot. Our common humanity.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Inaugural Post!

Beginning a blog about architecture begins with the question: why?  Or perhaps more accurately, why do I care?

Architecture is that inescapable backdrop against which life happens.  Human existence is always somehow influenced by the architecture in which it takes place, for good or for ill.  I hope (with help from my co-editor!) to make this blog an interesting mix of discussions about high- and low-brow culture and what impact architecture has on all these different aspects of life.  I want to talk about the field of architecture and its relationships to feminism, social and geopolitical revolutions, government corruption, the ethics of practice, etc., just as much as I want to talk about architecture in comic books and movies.

And since I know architects don't read, I'll be adding posts with photos and drawings as well, don't worry!

Stay tuned for forthcoming posts about (among other things) the following topics:
  • The Pritzker Prize - often called the Nobel Prize of architecture, which I believe is completely facetious and I explain why.
  • A comparison of urban centers in the DC universe versus the Marvel universe, and why these differences are part of the greater differences between what stories DC and Marvel choose to tell.
  • Howard Roark, and why this archetype of architect can't die off quickly enough.
Want to read about something in particular?  Have some thoughts of your own that you'd like to share?  Just add a comment to let me know!