Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Things architects say

As this fellow says at the Houzz site (very useful site for helping you select your favourite ‘clippings’ for your next architectural project, by the way), all architects are influenced by the architects they studied under who were in turn influenced by the architects they studied under.

For example, I believe that architecture is at its best when all the unneeded elements are stripped away to reveal the fundamental essence of the design. In other words, "Less is more," which the great modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said. I learned this from my third-year studio professor, who used to work for Mies. My fourth-year professor would always ask us to discover "what the building wants to be," which is a phrase he learned from the great Louis Kahn, who he studied under at the University of Pennsylvania. Now I use this phrase once a week.
These are two facts I will mention to you within the first 10 minutes of our meeting because basically I studied under Louis Kahn and Mies van der Rohe, once removed.
That's how it works. It's like the telephone game. Vitruvius whispered something to Palladio hundreds of years ago, and Thomas Jefferson thought he heard what Vitruvius said but totally got it wrong, and leaned over to Christopher Wren to repeat it, but Christopher Wren was sketching a church dome on a napkin, which McMead and White stole and used for their designs at the White City in Chicago, and this greatly offended Louis Sullivan, so he went back to the office and fired Frank Lloyd Wright for stealing his clients. At least that's what Wright's student Kevin Bacon told my second-year professor, who told me this story, although I was sketching a church steeple on a napkin at the time, so I may have misunderstood him. This is how architecture works. It's a flawless system.


Here’s some things architects (and near-architects) said, that are re-said. Often.








More here.

Oh , and then there’s the words of the great Charles Rennie Macintosh (courtesy of the Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery of Glasgow). If you manage to decipher them, you might think the design and message have been perfectly integrated. Or then again, you might not.


PS: And here are eight things an architect will never ever say. Allegedly.



Blogger twr said...

You like your Ludwigs don't you?

15 Aug 2012, 10:56:00  
Blogger Peter Cresswell said...

Yes, I confess. Van Beethoven, Von Mises, Mies Van Der Rohe... not to mention Ludwig Drums, Christa Ludwig and Mad King Ludwig.

Mind you, you can keep your Ludwig Von Frigging Wittgenstein. He really was a fruitcake.

15 Aug 2012, 14:20:00  
Blogger Architect Ireland said...


Interesting story as for Architects In Cork. It would be great to read something more about this theme.
Thanks for posting this info.

11 Sep 2012, 23:05:00  

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