Potential clients have come to my office asking for three free designs from which to pick—“the way we saw it on HGTV.” My anger aside from how reality TV twists reality, the client’s request compromises the integrity of the architectural process.
“Hey Anthony, what is your favorite building in the world?” I am often asked.
I might reply obnoxiously but with reason, “What is your favorite painting, favorite book or favorite ice cream?”
Just as there is no one favorite piece of music, there is no one favorite work of architecture. There are hundreds. But here I try. In this list of some of my favorites (in no particular order), I selected different building types and sizes from a house to a parliament building, from a public plaza to a winery. I have also included a few of The Usual Suspects.
Many have heard the instructional 1960’s acronym from the U.S. Navy: K-I-S-S.
It stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. These days, this pithy recommendation is delivered from anyone in the role of doling out advice, from architecture professors to life coaches, from advertisers to attorneys, from editors to campaign managers.
But life gets complicated, and keeping things simple is not so easy. So what do we do?
ONE. The social importance of what we do. Architects design everything from a retreat home to a veterinarian office, from a homeless shelter to a public school, from a park to a temple. Doctors have been plagued by insurance headaches. Bankers have confronted corruption. Well, lawyers? Not too much new to say there. What fields still have nobility?
I recently had the joy of visiting two homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: a modest design and his most ambitious.
The cozy Pope-Leighey House in Virginia totals a mere 1,200 square feet. In stark contrast, the visionary estate known as Fallingwater in Pennsylvania has a 2,900 square foot residence, 2,500 square feet of terraces, and a guest house of 1,700 square feet. Surrounded by 5,000 acres of the Bear Run Nature Reserve, this house cantilevers over a waterfall.
When historians speak of Wright’s homes as being intimately scaled, was this because Wright had a unique interpretation of domestic life, or was it because he was petite? Only 5′ – 7”.
I got the job! Unfortunately.
Not too many architecture companies were hiring during the economic recession of the 90’s. Though I held an impressive piece of simulated parchment that stated in fancy calligraphy, “Master of Architecture,” I could only find temp work as a paralegal, basically a data entry person.
After two years, one of my hundreds of resumes reached the right person. I received a call from the offices of Frank O. Gehry and Partners!