Thursday, November 15, 2007

26. Fake It 'Til You Make It !

This is an open appeal to those of you who have gone on job interviews and said that you knew much more about .... lets say AutoCad, than you actually do. After you got the job, you went home with a book and studied the basics. When you went to work, you really learned how to do it on the job.

That's called faking it till you make it for beginners!

What I am saying here is to take this to a whole other level. To become the Famous Architect, you will need to create an illusion and mystique so grand that the whole world looking will believe you. You need to become a kind of a magician-al-a-con-man.

To illustrate my point, take a look at this clip from Catch Me if You Can. This is based on a real life magician-al-a-con-man.


His formula: Study the industry, learn all the lingo, the body language, the attitudes, all the trappings and outward appearances like an actor preparing for a role. Study, study, study and then put on the performance of a lifetime.

In this clip below, look at how he manages to communicate using "industry terms". Just marvelous!


An outsider listening to this conversation can not understand what the hell is going on. That's the point! you are in a club, and like any club or fraternity you have secret code language.

Compare this to famous architect Peter Eisenman. He uses a lot of "industry terms" Listen for catch words like "Radical", & "Disturbance".


These are big "industry terms" there are lots of them, study them and learn them.
If you cant find any more of these words in the dictionary, be creative, make some up or look realy deep into the dictionary for almost defunct words. As long as it sounds interesting and obscure it's fine. Peter Eisenman uses some like "interstitial" and "Canonical", learn those too.

After you have begun to master this game you will find that you are no longer faking it. This is because you have made it! You are left with two choices. You can either tell everyone how easy it is to climb up the ladder like a "monkey" or you tell them that a monkey has no brains and can not climb ladders. If you are a true "Hobsian Warrior" you will tell them that a monkey at a type writer will produce gibberish. Discourage, Discourage, Discourage: More space at the top for you.

In this next clip, notice how Eisenman immediately maintains control and dominance by positioning himself above the rest of the Jury. He looks at his nearest subordinate Professor Wolf Prix, and directs attacking questions to him. Prix was suddenly thrown in the position of defending his teaching methods; like a stuttering kid in front of his school teacher. Brilliant!

A big part of the illusion is creating a sense of authority. You talk down to people, yell if you have to. The Famous Architect lets everyone in the room knows who is in charge when he enters. Students are of the lowest rank and must be spoken to accordingly (if you have to speak to them at all). Notice how Eisenman speaks about the young architecture student, she is referred to as "the Student" and is not spoken to directly. She is spoken about in the third person case, as though she was not in the room and compared to a monkey.

If you keep people intimidated and on their heels, they will be too busy trying not to look stupid in front of you to question you!

This is a classic technique used by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie. Look at how he swindles doctors into submitting to his authority.


The real life Frank Abagnale was only 17 years old when he pulled this off. His actual formula was slightly different though. Instead of intimidation and redicule, he used charisma.

Frank used humor to cover the fact that he lacked the basic knowledge of a pediatrician. If he didn't know something or was asked an uncomfortable question, he would joke about it and skirt around the issue, often leaving the actual details of the work to other resident doctors. His wit and humor worked well for him. It successfully covered his ignorance, but at the same time also earned him a reputation as a jovial, if eccentric, doctor who was much liked by the hospital staff.

He used the same formula to become a lawyer. If he wanted to play the role of an architect, he easily could. So my dear architects, use what ever suits you, there is no shame in faking it.

Just be careful, but not too careful! When you follow this path look for the writings on the wall;"Peter Eisenman wuz Here!"


By Conrad Newel,
Staff writer
Liberating Minds Since August 2007

8. Develop a Mystique
17. Blow your own horn!
21. Get it Straight! Famous Architects are NOT Gods


Anonymous said...

This is what Eisenman and Tigerman did at UIC in Chicago in the early 90s.

Stanley knows more about Architecture than Peter although Peter's work is more daring.

BUt in 100 years they'll both be forgotten.

joanna said...

For shame Mr. Eisenman! Anyone who derides a student to boost their own ego and to exhibit how "smart" they are via ridicule didn't learn the golden rule. Your folly is in your hubris, but that is beyond your comprehension. It is not necessary to be cruel and brash to enlighten and share knowledge. This is unfortunately how schools and the workplace typically operate. There's always at least one of these jokers. All we must do is to smile and nod and move forward without giving up.

Anonymous said...

Eisenman perpetrates music knowledge horrifically in his speech. He references "cording" (should be cord structure), "8 tone or 12 tone"(7notes in a scale or 8 if you count the second octave of the origin note) 12 tones maybe in India were they use quarter tones. Maybe he meant key, or cord progression, or maybe four part harmony. Who knows.

Know your Lingo oh famous one.

In response to his question how should he judge a student who doesn't know the tools of architecture the student should have said, how should she listen to a critic who makes ignorant references to music. Even more egotistical is Eisenman's belief that he can make up anything about any subject and not be questioned.

Chuckles said...

good grief what a pr*ck. What the hell is classical ordination? Leon Krier my ass.

Anonymous said...

I have a lot of sympathy with Eisenman. As someone who has critiqued architecture students I agree wholeheartedly that there is often a lack of depth and knowledge in modern students. Eisenman wasn't exerting his power, he was critisising the person who he felt was most responsible - the tutor, not the student.

And "classical ordination" relates to the orders of columns in classical architecture - Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan and Composite. If you don't know that you're just making the point Eisenman is.

As for the nitwit "Anonymous" - twelve-tone music doesn't use quarter tones - just the twelve semi-tones in the chromatic scale. Eight tone music uses a mix of full tones and semi-tones to create the do-re-mi scale.

It seems unfair to criticise Eisenman without seeing the Students full presentation.

Lucas Gray said...

It is fair to criticize Eisenman. What did the student learn through this exchange? I mean isn't the point of reviews to learn about the mistakes you made with your design and then use that information to improve with your next project? Instead this student stood in the background and Eisenman berated her professor. Even when the prof. asked Mr. Eisenman to talk to the student he refused. What a joke. Highly entertaining video though.

-Lucas Gray

Anonymous said...

The Only Monkey I see here is Peter E. He even went to Cambridge University, has a doctorate and all he can do here is, more of less, to call the student a monkey. Is that what you learned at Cambridge, Peter? It is a measure of his creative thinking - none at all. He is the one who had been so worked up in his own PoMo theories with such a myopic vision that he totally missed out on the development that Rem K so successfully propelled and now pervades the world and Peter just ended up running some sideshows like this one at schools.

How about calling the student a nightingale, Peter? (Point that Wolf P. was trying to make.) I used to live in a second floor vintage apartment with windows overlooking a neighbor's backyard. Little birds would come and go, singing so beautifully that I always had to turn down my Itzhak P's Bach.

What about ancient Japanese architecture? I love it. These Japanese architects developed their own, equally useful and equally beautiful architecture without ever having to study Vignola. This student can also develop her own architecture without ever having to know anything about classical architecture although, I am certain, that in one way or another she will end up studying it which will certainly help her to be a better architect. Steven Holl did not even know Le Crobusier (even a lot of K-12 kids know about Le Corbusier) until he graduated from University of Washington. One cannot take everything in all at once and much less so at Eisenman-Certified sequence.

Steven Park, Chicago Architect

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add that you don't have to study Eisenman. He's a footnote you can dismiss. Instead, look at Foster, Piano, Rogers, Gehry, Ando, Meier, Wright, Mies, Corbu, etc and do study Palladio and Brunelleschi but Eisenman. It's a waste of time.

Steven Park, Chicago Architect

Anonymous said...

Correction: About Steven Holl, I meant to say that he didn't know Le Corbusier until after he graduated from University of Washington. It's recorded in his interview for El Croquis issue# 78.

Steven Park, Chicago Architect

Anonymous said...

awsome .. just awsome dude this really helped