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Forwarding Address - Waaaaaaay too late [Dec. 28th, 2011|10:21 pm]
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Sorry for abandonning you.
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Love Letters to Dead Architects: Snow Day Letterpalooza [Feb. 7th, 2010|09:51 pm]
[mood |happyhappy]

Dear Imhotep,

Admit it, you’re a woman.

Listen, I know it wasn’t cool in your day to come out as a pre-opt trannie. But it’s been a couple of millennia since then and I don’t see why you need to hide this anymore. You may say to yourself “where is your evidence of this?” the simple answer is: I have none. Except that every sculpture of you has gigantic boobs.

I know they put the same treatment on you as they did to Hatshephut. Putting a beard on you and everything, but don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

But all of this is irrelevant because FACT: you made the most recognizable building in the world. I have to hand it to anyone who can design a structure that can be seen FROM SPACE. The pyramid may be one of the simplest forms known to man, but that’s only because you made it part of our vocabulary. I know that somepeople believe that aliens brought the pyramids from the planet Krypton or  Vulcan or Ottawa or whatever but I think they don’t put enough faith into the sheer power of a design, and also the probably forced seasonal labor for generations that took to create it. 

Long story short: someone had to think of the word “Cat” and I am so glad it was you.

Love, eternally,

Retly Corm 


My Dearest Inigo Jones,

I look to the horizon and think of you adoringly, passionately, deeply and desperately. I know you had to go, but now without you, the blistering Italian sun feels like a stab of coldest winter, come actual winter I am sure I will die. Andrea Palladio told me to forget you, he said you were a fling, there to study from him, doing the grand tour. Deep down I think Palladio wants me to forget you, in favor of him, but I can’t.

            Far from where you are, I just think of the last time we were together. In Greenwhich. I remember having to wade through all the dark Tudor wood of London, the insufferable half-timbering. Layer and layer of cloth masking the stink. Before I knew it I was in an open field of perfection. I was far from home but there was a gleaming white Jacobean dream. Italian, with a thick English accent, Just like you. Clean and organized with an inner passion that burns like a fire in the night.

            I wasn’t sure you had missed me, but after seeing the spiral staircase I knew I had at least meant something.

Find me soon,

Retly Corm


Did you ever notice that Earl of Bedford’s chapel looks like a barn? Granted the finest barn in England, but STILL.


Did you ever notice that you look like “the Dude” from “The Big Lebowski”?


Dear Adolph Loos,

You don’t know what you want.

You tell me that all ornament is crime...and then have a mustache? If no one else is going to tell you, then I guess I have to. MUSTACHES ARE ORNAMENT.  

I can’t live like this anymore, no spices in the food, no flowers in the kitchen and every time I try and get these things or tell you that I want them, you talk down to me, like I’m too stupid to know better.  Well let me tell you something, buddy.

Yes, decoration is unnecessary, and so is art. And so is a soft kiss in a rain. And so are love letters. Like the ones you sent me. I don’t need them, they are unnecessary, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want them. Maybe those things we don’t need are the things that make us the happiest. You used to understand that. Back in those drifter days before you got all ridged and hard.

I know that nothingness makes you happy, but it’s not enough for me.

This is goodbye you will not see me before I go,

Then again, you don’t need to do you?

Retly Corm

Dear Otto Wagner,

I know you detest the superfluous, so allow me to be frank. Since the first moment I met you I have come to feel for you deep respect, furthermore, as of 3:07 pm today I have fallen in love with you.

I know you are planning to secede from Academy of Fine Arts and I’m coming with you when you do. But might I offer a suggestion? Let’s only be loosely affiliated the New Artists Liberation Front, who I think are changing their name to the much less catchy “L’art Nouveau”. I mean “New Art” what an obvious name, what’s next? Calling something “The Style”? Or just simply “Modern”? Honestly, so stupid. They really need to work on their names.  

Together, you and I, we can cast away the shackles of bourgeois oppression. They wrap themselves so tight so they never have to feel anything. Not the cold of night, not the hunger of passion, not the harsh reality that, they too will die. We can cut through the cloth and reveal the rigorous forms of truth.

I believe that concludes my business, but as a recap.

1. I respect you

2. I love you

3. “Modernism” is a dumb name

Oh, and tell Joseph Maria Olbrich that MARIA is a girl’s name. He’s not fooling anyone.

Yours ever,

Retly Corm


Professor Carlo Scarpa,

What was I supposed to do? How could I fight you? I tried, I tried so hard not to be where I am now. I’ve had my heart broken so many times and I’ve done terrible things, awful things to other hearts.

I just want what you do to concrete for you to do to me. You take something naturally formless, stubborn and hard and make it sing with elegance. I spend so much time running, trying to forget, dying to remember, but when I see your work, I know you are the kind of man I could grow old with.

More so than anyone else you think about the full life of your structures. I see you, never forgetting the past but beating relentlessly and determinately to the future. I want so badly to be part of that future. Your future

I love you and all your infinite possibilities.

Retly Corm


Dear Gianlorenso Bernini,

Don’t think that I’m not onto you; I know this good guy act you give everyone is a front. No man who sculpts David like that can be as holy as you keep presenting yourself.

Now, don’t get me wrong sweet cheeks, you’re good, maybe even the best. But your buildings don’t have an original bone their  handsome, chiseled bodies. Every time you make a dome, or add some welcoming arches to St. Peters, I know what you do. You steal from someone poorer, younger, more obscure, or in the case of Borromini, uglier and then cover it in gold and expect everyone to freak out. 

Why don’t you try once, just once, to have an original thought. Your sculpture does it, learn from that. But before you do, look around you, all you see are yes men and cronies. They make you think you’re king around here, but remember, eventually heads will roll and I’d hate to see your pretty face covered in blood.

Take care, my love,

Retly Corm

Dear Antonio Palladio,

You little rascally tramp. You’re a scoundrel, you know that, right. Showing up all over Northern Italy like the little flirt you are, creating an intellectual yet accessible guide to good taste. I bet you think pretty highly of yourself, changing your name to “Pallas” like you’re the great goddess of wisdom come from the head of the Zeus himself. Geez, you enlightenment groupies and your classical allusions, it’s like you guys just can’t get ENOUGH Ovid.

Your arrogance is almost insufferable, luckily for you, you can seamlessly mix architectural orders under the guise of neo-classicism (nice marketing by the way), oh, and then there are all those palazzos. Each one individual, but unmistakably done by your elegant hand. The light, the space, the clarity, it’s all so ordered. No wonder the Georgian Architects are falling all over themselves for you. (I think Christopher Wren is still crying himself to sleep over your rejection and Thomas Jefferson, last I heard, was moping around Paris making himself a nuisance.)

But how do you handle it? Having people declare their eternal love for you constantly. It must get annoying. Then again, if Goethe had called me a genius (don’t worry he never will), I think I’d feel pretty confident.

Well, don’t worry, I’m never going to tell you how I feel about you. You’ll just have to figure it out on your own.

-Retly Corm

Dear Lu Ban,

Thank you for sending the grappling hooks so promptly. They will come in handy soon.

I have never wanted to see you as badly as I do right now. I am at war, and as such I know it is sacrilegious to think of you as I stand here, stained with the blood of my enemies. When the night falls and the horses become restless, I think only of you in your workshop hammering away, mastering the art, working the material to your whim.

Even when the wood would not bend, you always found a way. Your sharp mind and superior craftsmanship, the always win in the end. The other day I saw a hawk flying over the battlefield and briefly remembered you wooden bird that flew for three days straight. I was sure it was magic, and when you explained about the wind and how it overpowered the weight of the bamboo, I must admit I stopped listening. I decided that magic was enough of an answer for me.

I must finish now, for fear I will not be able to write again.

If that is the case, you know the workings of my heart as well as you as the mechanics of a ladder, so I need not be explicit.

Retly Corm


Dear Donato Bramante,

You can fool the other eyes, but you can’t fool mine. You play this bad-boy routine, but I know you’re just hiding the truth; you’re a sensitive little boy who’s trying to handle the hard, cruel world.

Your work is harsh, fast, loose, but also painfully poetic and earnest. Look at the Piazza Navona for example the sexy expansiveness is at first dramatic, but then you realize it’s all a set-up for the specatacular buildings and fountains. You think you’re only good enough to be a middle man, but hide behind your muscles because…do I have to say it? You’re insecure.

Of course You know your best was in the Tempietto de San Pietro, the first true Renaissance masterpiece. The clarity, the proportions, the mathematical rigidity, its all there to try and convince people why it’s perfect, but it’s not perfect, it’s just beautiful.

You don’t have to hide anymore Don, its’ ok to be your wonderful self. No one will judge you…no, that’s a lie, everyone will judge you but I’ll love you, and isn’t that more important.

With Love,

Retly Corm

P.S. if you say “it’s not more important” I’m going to sock you straight in the jaw.

Dear Louis Kahn,

I don’t want to be the one always thrilled, but I think people have started to see me that way. So I’ll level with you here Lou, I hate mostly everything. The only joy I have now is in fleeting novelty. True greatness is almost extinct. I just walk the streets, annoyed. Seeing all these glass boxes is like going to a “Retly’s Exes” convention. (Oh, and Philip Johnson is exaggerating, it’s not been That Many) My day is just a series of bad memories and tired regrets punctuated, matrimonially, with incompetence. This is exactly why I can’t be around you anymore Lou.

You remind me of who I used to be, defined, not by a style but by an interpretation about what buildings could be. Buildings without agenda, without social dogma, without a little red book or flag, I don’t know if I know how to deal with that. Your goal is to understand the material, the light, the spaces alone, not the fame they can gain you.

Your work is just so Nostalgic and Intellectual yet Relevant and Clear, like Shakespeare or Fried Chicken. I’ve become so jaded, and you scare me because you shout, (through glass, through steel and mostly through concrete) that the delight of architecture is still there. I don’t want to get hopeful again, it just hurts too much in the end.

I don’t want to leave, so I’m putting the ball in your court. You can stay and make things awkward and horrible for me, or you can go and leave me pining and unharmed.

Just so you know, this is a multiple choice, not an essay test.


Retly Corm

Luis Barragan Morfin, mi amor,

He decidido para escribir en su lengua maternal, sobre todo porque, usted ha traído gran orgullo a la gente Mexicana. Qué Frank Lloyd Wright hizo para los Estados Unidos, usted hizo para México . Usted demostró el mundo la originalidad y el alma de una gente, eso había sido imitada y puesta en ridículo por Europa, como si usted estuviera debajo de ellos. Eran incorrectos.

Su trabajo es más que “máquinas para vivir” si, si, son “lugares a amar”. La púrpura que encanta tan, la madera tan serena. Recuerda me noches calientes, y los mares fríos. Agudo, elegante, encantador y no demasiado presuntuoso. Como usted.

Mi amor para usted es como un semental salvaje. Usted ha ahorrado el modernismo para un sino frío, terrible. Y estoy por siempre en su deuda.

Venga verme pronto,

Retly Corm


Conduzca excusan por favor español terrible de las albóndigas.

Dear Philip Johnson,

I don’t get you, man. You are always changing your mind. Are you absent minded, or just indecisive? I just sit there watching you change your life dramatically, never batting an eye. Are you a leader or a follower, I don’t think there is a way to tell. You don’t ever invent the ideas, but often you perfect them. Now, I know you make friends and enemies as quickly as you take breaths but how can one man be so many different things to so many different people. How can you stand being so complicated?

First you’re a modernist, then a post-modernist, then a deconstruvist, but you slide right into those styles, as if you had been there the entire time. Maybe it was all that time in the MOMA, you figured that everything has its time and place. I guess you’re the lucky one who gets to dictate when that is.  

I can’t ever really see what’s good for me, you might be the worst thing that’s ever happened. Or the best. I don’t know. Who cares. I just need to be near you, with you I become a fully fleshed believer in my own style, rather than a silhouette admiring the sun.  

I guess I’m not asking you to explain yourself, I’m asking myself to understand.

Retly Corm


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Spicing it up [Jan. 26th, 2010|09:34 pm]
[mood |bouncybouncy]

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about how much you could learn about a person just by reading their google searches. While, these are not necessarily architects; I thought was close-enough to warrant joining this blaaaahhhgg.

Great Artists and Their Google Searches



“Leonardo Da Vinci sucks” “Everyone around me is incompetent and sucks” “What jobs can I get my brother” “How do I deal with my incompetent brother?” “Marble” “What to do if I hate the pope” “How can I tell if I’m gay”” “hot + naked + dudes” “How to prove I’m not gay”



“How to be more assertive about sharing credit” “working with difficult personalities” “Bernini is a jerk” “my hair looks awful all the time” “Everyone likes someone and they suck” “ Vatican Hill core tests” “PSI formulas” “How to deal with popularity” “Bernini is a BIG STUPID JERK” “No one ever pays attention to me” “discount swords”



“Sketching is for nerds” “How to be a Bad-ass” “Legal advice-Rome” “How to knife fight” “sword carrying rules-Rome” “Is stabbing always fatal?” “Trains out of Rome” “how do I convince people I’m a good person” “How to become a knight of Malta” “getting over guilt” “Legal Advice: Malta” “Newsfeed: Caravaggio, Guilty or Not Guilty” “Cargo ships to Rome



“Life is a highway-youtube” “What do old people like?” “Cashing out on the elderly” “Ebay” “sharperimage.com” “brooks brothers” “custom pools that look like my face” “freecreditreport.com “Debt solutions” “Dutch origin” “Damn Kids and their stupid fads”


Jacques Louis David:

“speech impediments” “Bad-ass Roman Myths” “Revolution activities in my neighborhood” “Marat” “Marat + revolution” “Marat + revolution + awesome” “Charlotte Corday is a filthy whore” “What to do if the tides have turned in your revolution” “how to prove I’m innocent” “Napoleon” “Napoleon + horses + alps + AWESOME” “Napoleon is my best friend” “Mapquest: Paris to Brussles”


Van Gough:

“Walking on sunshine Lyrics” “craigslist: Houses in southern France” “I’m in love with someone but they don’t love me back” “My roommate hates me” “Christmas gifts for your roommate” “How to stop hemorrhaging” “James Blunt- Goodbye my lover lyrics” “How can I tell if I have syphilis?”



Pablo Picasso

“women” “Picasso” “women in paris” “Pablo+ Picasso” “how to make sure you’re girlfriends don’t find out about each other” “Pablo+ Picasso+ Great Painter” “what do I do if my girlfriend is pregnant” “Pablo + Picasso+ Great Painter + Better Lover” “how can I change the entire course of western culture with one painting?” “Picasso has great abs”


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Because, that's why. [Jan. 26th, 2010|09:30 pm]
[mood |chipperchipper]

Great Artists and Their Google Searches

This was inspired by a conversation I had with Heather Elomaa. Like how looking into a woman's purse will tell you everthing you need to know about her, so looking into people's google searches will let you see their deepest, darkest secrets. 


“Leonardo Da Vinci sucks” “Everyone around me is incompetent and sucks” “What jobs can I get my brother” “How do I deal with my incompetent brother?” “Marble” “What to do if I hate the pope” “How can I tell if I’m gay”” “hot + naked + dudes” “How to prove I’m not gay”



“How to be more assertive about sharing credit” “working with difficult personalities” “Bernini is a jerk” “my hair looks awful all the time” “Everyone likes someone and they suck” “ Vatican Hill core tests” “PSI formulas” “How to deal with popularity” “Bernini is a BIG STUPID JERK” “No one ever pays attention to me” “discount swords”



“Sketching is for nerds” “How to be a Bad-ass” “Legal advice-Rome” “How to knife fight” “sword carrying rules-Rome” “Is stabbing always fatal?” “Trains out of Rome” “how do I convince people I’m a good person” “How to become a knight of Malta” “getting over guilt” “Legal Advice: Malta” “Newsfeed: Caravaggio, Guilty or Not Guilty” “Cargo ships to Rome



“Life is a highway-youtube” “What do old people like?” “Cashing out on the elderly” “Ebay” “sharperimage.com” “brooks brothers” “custom pools that look like my face” “freecreditreport.com" “Debt solutions” “Dutch origin” “Damn Kids and their stupid fads”


Jacques Louis David:

“speech impediments” “Bad-ass Roman Myths” “Revolution activities in my neighborhood” “Marat” “Marat + revolution” “Marat + revolution + awesome” “Charlotte Corday is a filthy whore” “What to do if the tides have turned in your revolution” “how to prove I’m innocent” “Napoleon” “Napoleon + horses + alps + AWESOME” “Napoleon is my best friend” “Mapquest: Paris to Brussles”


Van Gough:

“Walking on sunshine Lyrics” “craigslist: Houses in southern France” “I’m in love with someone but they don’t love me back” “My roommate hates me” “Christmas gifts for your roommate” “How to stop hemorrhaging” “James Blunt- Goodbye my lover lyrics” “How can I tell if I have syphilis?”


Pablo Picasso

“women” “Picasso” “women in paris” “Pablo+ Picasso” “how to make sure you’re girlfriends don’t find out about each other” “Pablo+ Picasso+ Great Painter” “what do I do if my girlfriend is pregnant” “Pablo + Picasso+ Great Painter + Better Lover” “how can I change the entire course of western culture with one painting?” “Picasso has great abs”


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The Newseum in Washington, D.C. [Jan. 19th, 2010|09:03 pm]
[mood |sympatheticsympathetic]

Over the weekend, I finally got to the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

I am a little predispositioned to like it, as the title is a portmanteau, which is usually pretty amaziful.

What struck me the most was how much this building reminded me, not of journalism, but of journalists. Overall the structure was driven, determined, accessible, honest, pompous and flawed.


 The interior spaces were open, filled poetically with the blinding light of criticism and truth. The whole building sits gingerly and tidy on the edge of its seat, like a well-dressed wallflower begging to be asked by anyone.


What bothered me the most was that the floor plan and progression of spaces were overly complicated. You are confused on purpose and I suspect the intention was to force discomfort which then allows you to discover how to get along on your own. It’s possible that this was the architect’s intention, because that’s what reporters have to do when they follow a story.


That may be what journalists have to do, but it shouldn’t be what architects do. Museums are for the people, and as such you should make it as clear as possible for us to understand why we should know what’s going on. It may be my own bizarre bias, but I think confusion only works in religious space and homes. Being lost should be a personal experience, just like finding your way is always a measure of personal success.


Confusion, when pushed onto other people, is just rude and inconvenient.


The one area I did like was the +40’ First amendment etched in stone on the front. Often journalists are accused of hiding behind the first amendment, but that’s what its there for. And having it physically shielding the building not only allows it to pay homage to the other great architecture in DC


but it also shields this building from the terrible fate of being overly indulgent and boring.


Long Story Short: Stephen Colbert, may have been right: Newsoleum.


Also, Jo, we might have competition: community.livejournal.com/doorwindowwall/

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Love Letters to Dead Architects: Mrs. Potter's Lullaby [Jan. 19th, 2010|07:59 pm]
[mood |busybusy]

Mi Caro, Antoni Gaudi,

Before you, what was there? I can’t even remember.

In my foggy memory there are visions of flat forms and half-hearted cold, stone, dead flowers. Buildings that seem like cracked china dolls in dresses of ancient and stained lace. Then out of no where, a Skeletal, Barcelnonian Dragon bursts through and consumes all things with the flames of passion, hyperboles of terror and arches carved from purest love. That dragon’s name: Catha Bathillo. No knight in shining armor is coming to stop this monster. It was the shining knight that set it free.

You set my world on fire, and filled me to the brim with your glory. 

Well what now then? You and I both know what is coming: You’re going to give yourself to that Church. La Sagrada Familia. I have been to the beginning and I will never need anything to make me see the infinite you create there, no concoction, no drug, no drink. In your perfectly imperfect hallucination there is only true beauty…this does not mean I will not have a drink, drug or concoction anyway.

So GO. Fight that clean industrial and unforgiving crispness, Go to your church, GO to God, and don’t forget to put in a good word for me. I will need it.


With Love,

Retly Corm

My Dearest William Le Baron Jenney,


I’ve missed you terribly. More than I thought I would as a matter of fact. Ever since you went away I can barely look outside without thinking of you and slowly but surely I realized how much you meant to me.


I know I pushed you away. I can’t tell you how many times I regretted yelling at you. I’m sorry for telling you that your desire for change was just an unpractical dream and that you chase these strange visions through moats, boats, jungles and cities only to find nothingness. I was wrong, but you didn’t need me to tell you that, you already know.


Will, do you remember that day in Paris when you gave us all such a great scare? You fell off the bridge and I went diving in after you, and when I pulled you to shore you were babbling about how stone was a pathetic structural choice, that you could do the same job at one third the weight with steel. You said we could be free, all of us. You said that stone just made us cling to our notions that we had to pay homage to the ghosts of dead empires we no longer feared. We all thought you had a concussion.


Then Gustave Eiffel brought you a flask of wine and you refused to drink it. He listened as you continued to ramble. I realize now what I should have realized then. That in those few moments of terror you had reached a clarity it would take me years to see.  


I know that it’s too late, for me, for us. I’m here. You’re in Chicago. You can’t possibly leave, what with that team of Lost Boys you call a firm, and my duty is here. But know that if I had to do it all over again, I still would have jumped into the Seine, but this time I would have listened to your nonsense.


With Love,


Retly Corm



Dear Margaret Macdonald,


I can’t take it anymore darling. Last time we sat there, our merry little party; your sister, Frances, her husband McNair, Charles, you and I, I realized I can’t keep this is a secret anymore. I know my timing is horrible and it doesn’t make any sense for me to feel this way; our lives are such that any sort of action on these emotions on my part would be foolhardy and inevitably lead to heartbreak.


 That being said, I didn’t want to lose the lottery jackpot just because I didn’t buy a ticket, so you see why I had to tell you how I feel… Your paintings are so beautiful; I fell in love with them, and with you. And not just the paintings, you are a true renaissance woman. Metalwork, ceramics, textile, all of them speak not only of the modern aspect but also speak of your deep investment in your Scottish heritage. You prove that a lack of formal decoration does not mean a lack of history and memory…


Come with me, you can escape the eclipse of your husband. He may be a good architect, but you are great everything.


Yours, ever,


Retly Corm


Dear Charles Rennie Mackintosh,


Fine. Be that way. But JUST SO YOU KNOW, Margaret was coming to tell me that she is staying with you.


You didn’t need to make that scene in the Willow Tea Room. We could have been adults, we could have talked. But what you did, honestly, it was just embarrassing. Just because you designed it, doesn’t mean you can smash that perfectly executed chair over my head.


I think your rage was just because you know deep in your heart that I see what you see. Margaret has real genius, you only have talent. Look at your work before you met Margaret and your work after her influence. It’s undeniable.


Admit it. Hill House never would have happened without her. The clean, angular lines are out of her sketchbook and transferred into three dimensional spaces by your hand. Your work is impressive Chuck, maybe even timeless, but that is no excuse for your behavior towards me.


By the time you read this, I will have left with Giles Gilbert Scott. If you want to fight me, find me in London. I’ll be the one in Red Glass box.


-Retly Corm


Salve Marcus Vitruvius Pollio,

It is no longer possible for me to live with you, yet I cannot live without you either. Is it secure to feel this way? In short, tortured by you, am I.

Firmitas, Utilitas, Venustas. You are my strength, my utility and my delight. I have never found a man who is more the balance of all three like you. Often, both in men and in buildings, there is clarity and strength but no joy. With others, their charm is unmistakable but so it their frivolity.

Now I know that you, yourself have never created a structure to match your dogma perfectly, clearly this is intentional on your part. For as your patron’s sire once said “Creating is better than learning. Creating is the essence of life.” Following rules to the letter is irrelevant as long as beauty in the end creation is your desire.    

Sometime now I’ve have feared your wary eye,

The logic and order of these things gone by,

Having seen you at lupercalia, that great festival,

So now there is nothing for me but to fall.

Eternally yours,

-Retly Corm

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The Architect in Fiction: Battle for the Ultimate TV Architect. [Oct. 26th, 2009|12:00 am]
[mood |nerdynerdy]



Ted Mosby Vs. Mike Brady Vs. Marshall Darling

Let's look, first, as to why they’re similar:


They are all men and TV Dads who are all the ultimate authority when you’ve accidentally stolen something, or have hit your sister with a football, breaking her nose and ruining her chances for romance at the dance (or did it?). While they all proudly state they are architects, we rarely see them working. A little odd, since architects LOVE to work and rarely do anything else. When we do see them working, the work is beautifully crafted or impeccably drawn and pretty much finished. In my limited experience, that is pretty much impossible on a first go.


Ok so that is how they are similar. How are the Different?


Contestant Number One: Ted Mosby How I Met Your Mother


            How do you make holidays special?

·        I watch my friends slap each other


            What do you look for in a woman?

·        I always ask is she the kind of woman who I could marry and discuss constantly but never meet until my show is no longer profitable?


            Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

·        Oh My God I want to be married.


Ted Mosby is a funny dude, and out of all three of these men, most blatantly carries on the quirks common amongst architects. Ted is equal parts neurotic, egomaniacal, earnest and sneaky. He will a become a Mike Brady but he is still in the early stages, making mistakes and finding his Carol. Ted is more ready to geek-out then his rivals, I think my favorite moment being when he goes on and on about the 5 architects he would like to have dinner with, I realized I had done that myself, many a time.


Contestant Number Two: Mike Brady The Brady Bunch

You need to cancel your weekend plans because of rain, what do you do instead?

·        Might I recommend a house of cards to settle a family dispute?

What color best describes your personality and why?

·        Either Burnt-Sienna or a Chocolate Brown. Neutral, safe and probably smells like meat-loaf.

Your work let's you out early, what do you do with this free time?

·        Potato Sack Race, Bitches.

Mike Brady, The most stereotypical TV Dad available just happens to be an Architect. He does that thing where he pauses before speaking, as if what he is about to say is the smartest thing you have ever heard, even if it doesn’t make any sense. Throwing Latin around all willy-nilly and yet we still believe him. Unlike the other two, Mr. Brady is a vague architect, never really showing any interest in his work, which is understandable, because, well, he has 6 kids.

Contestant Number Three: Marshall Darling Clarissa Explains It All

Your house is on fire, what do you grab as you run out?

·        Besides my children? My awards.

If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

·        I would design more buildings that look like things.

What do you wish you could change, if you could change one thing?

·        I wish my Mies-esque mentor would remember my name.

Marshall Darling is a mix of Mike and Ted. He has the vague wisdom of a Brady, but the endearing quirks of a Mosby. Unlike the other two, we get a clear window into the kind of Architecture Mr. Darling works on. He designs buildings that look like things, making him an inexplicable post-modernist. Unlike Mike Brady, Darling embarrasses his children with his excitement rather than his general lameness.


So who wins the TV Architect-off?

Personally, I think Ted Mosby wins this one, even though not technically a “TV Architect Dad”, (He is a father in the show, but we never see him actually interacting with his children, as they are in the future after the story-line is concluded.) He is the best portrayed TV Architect.

So why Ted?

Because he is the narrator and protagonist, we get the most feel for him out of the three so unlike Darling and Brady, Ted is not a satellite character who is in constant but distant control. Ted tells you he is facing hardships with a rival, or that he had to turn to academics when his attempted one-man firm failed. That insecurity, timed with the Older Mosby’s witty interjections, work to create a fuller kind of depiction of an architect. Ted Mosby proves that architects aren’t born old or wise, but many become that way just because they keep finding new ways of messing up their lives and live to embarrass themselves further.

But that’s just my opinion: you be the judge, do you pick:

  1. Immature yet Sincere, Ted Mosby
  2. Boring yet Wise, Mike Brady
  3. Geeky yet Handy, Marshall Darling


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Escapism [Oct. 9th, 2009|09:56 pm]
[mood |peacefulpeaceful]

So here is what I've decided to do: every so often I decide to get away, while sitting on my couch. So I design imaginary hide-outs. I'll post them all when I get to 50, 50 is a good number of hide-outs to have. Keep watch.
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Magical History Tour [Sep. 3rd, 2009|09:42 pm]
[mood |chipperchipper]

I forgot to put this up last summer... enjoy!

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And Then There Were Three [Aug. 10th, 2009|08:59 pm]
[mood |thankfulthankful]

We have all at least heard of the New York Five, a group of provocative architects who were the standard-bearers of neo-modernism, each one of them a unique individual, each one of them obedient to a common dogma. Personally, I like to think of them as the characters of a Saturday morning cartoon show or a boy-band. Just think. It totally works:


The Quiet One

The Tough One

The Funny One

The Cute One

The Nerdy One


I’ll let you guess which one I think is which. Of course, Arthur Drexler is Simon Cowell.


But on a more serious note, this month we lost Charles Gwathmey at 71 to esophageal cancer and while he may not have been the most famous of the Five, he was part of a movement that defined a lot about what architecture is today, especially in the United States. Gwathmey was born in 1938 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He did his undergraduate degree at Penn and got his masters from Yale. His first major work was the house he designed for his parents in the mid 1960’s:



This work, unlike so many early modernist works of the 1920s and 30s, is not additive, but subtractive. When looking at any Le Corbusier work you’ll see his theories of the basic Roman forms connecting to create a whole, but here in the Gwathmey House you’ll see that the building was already a whole, to which the cuts have been made and portions removed so that we may live in the nook. Like a bird living in a tree or marble as it is chipped away to become a sculpture. Where modernism stopped there the Five began.  


Probably the most famous of all his works was the addition to the Guggenheim Museum in New York, originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and opened in 1959 (Wright had died six months before the official grand opening). In the early 1990’s Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects LLC was commissioned to make an addition to the iconic building and the controversy was rampant. There were some who would have preferred an entirely new building built to house the over-flowing connection somewhere else rather than an addition to the pre-existing. When Gwathmey and Siegel’s scheme was revealed the collective snickering response was:


 “They’ve made the Guggenheim into a toilet”  




(This was especially true for me, because I was seven at the time and anything that has to do with a toilet was, is, and will forever be, hysterical.)


However! If we look past the one-liner, we can see that by creating an addition specifically different in form, texture, philosophy and soul, Gwathmey wanted to create a balance for the Guggenheim. Gwathmey put up something so radically unlike the original that no one would ever confuse them. By creating a building that is a humble backdrop (though he would never agree that the addition is either humble or a backdrop), Gwathmey may have saved Frank Lloyd Wright’s magnum opus the shame of having a pretentious copy built next to it. Can’t you just see it? Just lying there, embarrassing everyone who would have had to walk by. Love it or hate it you have to admit Gwathmey was wise not to try and imitate or intimidate a master.


As for his affiliation with the New York five, they went the way all boy-bands go. One of them flirts with an equally volatile pop-singer who drives a wedge in the group (I’m looking at YOU Michael Graves/Postmodernism) and eventually they all break off and start solo-careers. Some of them can escape the Teen Scene (Architectural Record), Tiger Beat (Harvard Design Magazine) and, god help you, BOP (Architectural Digest) posters but most can never shake what they used to be. But Gwathmey didn’t want to, like Richard Meier, he truly believed that modernism holds the answers to Architecture. This is not to say his style didn’t evolve and mature, but he never lost what the New York Five was really about.   




Also, in case you were wondering:


John Hejduk

Richard Meier
Peter Eisenmann

Michael Graves

Charles Gwathmey


In that order specifically.


R.I.P. Charlie you'll be missed.

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