Friday, July 27, 2007

Designing My Little Architects

Architecture Week 004
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Designing My Little Architects:

A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom.
— Ayn Rand —

I’m a father?

By the looks of it, sometimes, you’d never know it.

Fortunately, for me, it is quite true—I am a father.

Of course, it is not always easy, any parent knows that. For it is always a delicate balance between doing what is right for your children, and doing what is right for you, especially if you have a particular need to understand and catalyze exactly that which you are, as an adult, as an individual, and merely as a man.

Nonetheless, I have long made a concerted effort to understand what I can do to be a good parent considering the circumstances.

Albeit, I may not have daily care of them, when they are in my stead I do try to make an extra effort to make our time extra ordinary, and to show them how extraordinary life really is.

Starting tomorrow, the boys and I will be spending a week together at my apartment in Manhattan. I’ve deemed that it will be “Architecture Week,” so that our activities will be focused on the beauty and art and the amazing craft of what it takes to plan, create and build the houses, the apartments, and skyscrapers that we all live and work in today.

We’ll be going to the top of landmark buildings like the Empire State Building and visiting anicent monuments, such as Cleopatra's Needle, the Egyptian obelisk that stands in Central Park.

We’ll also be going to see two art exhibits that symbolize the monumental framework of architecture. First, at MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, we’ll be seeing SCULPTURE: FORTY YEARS, a retrospective of the work of Richard Serra who creates gigantic pieces that take the viewer through a labyrinth of forms that make one question one’s perspective and the emotions evoked by the experience.

Secondly, I’ll be returning to Storm King so that they can experience the amazing awe and wonder of the congruent beauty of the sculptures with the landscaping of the land and the glory of the vast sky above, a phenomenally existential mesh that I experienced the first time I went there last week with Debbie.

I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build.
— Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

We’ll see movies like:
My Architect: A Son’s Journey, a documentary about the architectural icon Louis I. Kahn;
My Father the Genius, another documentary, “where filmmaker Lucia Small chronicles the rise and decline of her father, Glen Howard Small, a visionary architect whose uncompromising but uncertain career path consistently undermined his personal life at home." Ultiamtely asking, "Is he a true genius?” Or simply avoiding his parental duties?; and finally,
The Fountainhead, based on one of the more influential books of my adolescence by Ayn Rand, who presents a philosophical allegory about Howard Roark, an uncompromising architect who is obedient solely to his own individuality and unfettered expression, and thus questions the compatibility between creative integrity and the demands of the social contract.

In addition, each night we’ll read from one of two books that I gave to my little architect, Nicky, for Christmas: Architecture, A Visual History by James Neal and The World’s Most Remarkable Buildings and How They Came to Be: Uncommon Structures, Unconventional Builders by Alan Van Dine.

Finally, we may also pay a visit to my friend Debbie’s office at Cook & Fox, one of the premier green architectural firms in the world. We’ll see the many models and how modeling, and ultimately buildings, are created via the myriad computer applications and design tools used by architects today.

Overall, our purpose will be to explore the magnificence of mankind’s ability to build, to create and achieve; to erect monuments and skyscrapers and pinnacles of awe-inspiring accomplishment.

And in turn, I hope to have designed a way to instill in my little architects, the inspiration to aspire and accomplish much the same.

Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.
— Ayn Rand —

See related story: Lesson 6: If… (An excerpt from 25 Lessons: The Art of Living.)

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