Dear Architects, I Am Sick of Your Shit,
Once, a long time ago in the days of yore, I had a friend who was studying architecture to become, presumably, an architect.
This friend introduced me to other friends, who were also studying architecture. Then these friends had other friends who were architects - real architects doing real architecture like designing luxury condos that look a lot like glass dildos. And these real architects knew other real architects and now the only people I know are architects. And they all design glass dildos that I will never work or live in and serve only to obstruct my view of New Jersey.Do not get me wrong, architects. I like you as a person. I think you are nice, smell good most of the time, and I like your glasses. You have crazy hair, and if you are lucky, most of it is on your head. But I do not care about architecture. It is true. This is what I do care about:
As you can see, architecture is not on the list. I believe that architecture falls somewhere between toenail fungus and invasive colonoscopy in the list of things that interest me.
Perhaps if you didn't talk about it so much, I would be more interested. When you point to a glass cylinder and say proudly, hey my office designed that, I giggle and say it looks like a bong. You turn your head in disgust and shame. You think, obviously she does not understand. What does she know? She is just a writer. She is no architect. She respects vowels, not glass cocks. And then you say now I am designing a lifestyle center, and I ask what is that, and you say it is a place that offers goods and services and retail opportunities and I say you mean like a mall and you say no. It is a lifestyle center. I say it sounds like a mall. I am from the Valley, bitch. I know malls.
Architects, I will not lie, you confuse me. You work sixty, eighty hours a week and yet you are always poor. Why aren't you buying me a drink? Where is your bounty of riches? Maybe you spent it on Merlot. Maybe you spent it on hookers and blow. I cannot be sure. It is a mystery. I will leave that to the scientists to figure out.
Architects love to discuss how much sleep they have gotten. One will say how he was at the studio until five in the morning, only to return again two hours later. Then another will say, oh that is nothing. I haven't slept in a week. And then another will say, guess what, I have never slept ever. My dear architects, the measure of how hard you've worked and how much you've accomplished is not related to the number of hours you have not slept. Have you heard of Rem Koolhaas? He is a famous architect. I know this because you tell me he is a famous architect. I hear that Rem Koolhaas is always sleeping. He is, I presume, sleeping right now. And I hear he gets shit done. And I also hear that in a stunning move, he is making a building that looks not like a glass cock, but like a concrete vagina. When you sleep more, you get vagina. You can all take a lesson from Rem Koolhaas.
Life is hard for me, please understand. Architects are an important part of my existence. They call me at eleven at night and say they just got off work, am I hungry? Listen, it is practically midnight. I ate hours ago. So long ago that, in fact, I am hungry again. So yes, I will go. Then I will go and there will be other architects talking about AutoCAD shortcuts and something about electric panels and can you believe that is all I did today, what a drag. I look around the table at the poor, tired, and hungry, and think to myself, I have but only one bullet left in the gun. Who will I choose?
I have a friend who is a doctor. He gives me drugs. I enjoy them. I have a friend who is a lawyer. He helped me sue my landlord. My architect friends have given me nothing. No drugs, no medical advice, and they don't know how to spell subpoena. One architect friend figured out that my apartment was one hundred and eighty seven square feet. That was nice. Thanks for that.
I suppose one could ask what someone like me brings to architects like yourselves. I bring cheer. I yell at architects when they start talking about architecture. I force them to discuss far more interesting topics, like turkey eggs. Why do we eat chicken eggs, but not turkey eggs? They are bigger. And people really like turkey. See? I am not afraid to ask the tough questions.
So, dear architects, I will stick around, for only a little while. I hope that one day some of you will become doctors and lawyers or will figure out my taxes. And we will laugh at the days when you spent the entire evening talking about some European you've never met who designed a building you will never see because you are too busy working on something that will never get built. But even if that day doesn't arrive, give me a call anyway, I am free.
from www.partiv.com. originally published in Pidgin, a Princeton School of Architecture Publication under the title “Dear Architects, I am sick of your shit.” Annie Choi is an independent writer, you can visit her website at www.annietown.com.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Dear Architects, I Am Sick of Your Shit,
Monday, August 27, 2007
HE IS the man behind the new design for Wembley Stadium - which controversially scraps its famous twin towers.
But whatever your opinion of Sir Norman Foster and his futuristic visions, no one can deny that he has become the style guru of modern architecture.
Clients around the globe are queuing up for a Foster "signature" building with its trademark sleek, smooth lines.
Today Sir Norman, 64, employs almost 500 people, has offices in London, Tokyo and Hong Kong and a business that enjoys a pounds 20 million turnover. He even owns his own fleet of aircraft.
That's not bad for a working-class lad from Manchester who left school at 16 and drove an ice-cream van to get himself through university.
What makes Sir Norman's story all the more remarkable is that he is the only British architect of note who comes from such a modest background.
An only child, he left school for the traditionally safe white-collar job in the local town hall - but he wanted so much more. As a boy, he had read books about the designer Frank Lloyd Wright in the public library and was gripped. But the odds were against him.
"The idea that anyone in the neighbourhood where I grew up would go to university was like saying: `I'll be the next Pope'," he recalls.
"I wasn't able to get a grant to go to university so I paid my own way. I sold furniture, worked in a bakery, a cold store and drove an ice-cream van."
He also applied for every scholarship and drawing competition he could. In 1959, his hard work paid off and he won pounds 100 and a silver medal from the Royal Institute Of British Architects for a measured drawing of a windmill.
SIR Norman says: "I took off to Scandinavia to look at the new architecture and I haven't stopped travelling since."
His current portfolio includes a transformation of the British Museum, building the first new bridge over the Thames for a century and, of course, the hottest job in the industry - the design of the new Wembley Stadium, which he unveiled on Thursday.
His previous projects have moved from being architectural talking pieces to household names. The Reichstag Building. The Hong Kong And Shanghai Bank. Stansted Airport.
He has also designed the huge new Canary Wharf Jubilee Line station and HSBC tower, a proposed assembly building for the new Lord Mayor Of London and a plan for a Millennium Tower in the City. The London headquarters of his firm Foster & Partners, in Battersea, is a modern riverside palazzo overlooking the Thames. Rows of architects toil on long tables in a room like a railway terminus. At the helm sits Foster himself, notorious for his high standards and drive.
One visitor described it as a cross between a Manchester cotton mill and the headquarters of IBM.
Poised and perma-tanned, Sir Norman - a quiet man whom some regard as cool and detached - looks more like a pop star than an architect. And he has the accessories to match.
A keen flier, he jets around Europe in a white Cessna Citation - one of several planes he owns.
He is a regular on the well-heeled party circuit and in 1990 was embraced by the Establishment when he received a knighthood for his services to architecture.
His private life has ensured him constant media attention. His first wife, architect Wendy Cheesman died of cancer in 1989, leaving him devastated. After a brief liaison with Anna Ford, he married Sabiha Malik, the flamboyant ex-wife of Andrew Knight, chairman of News International.
His current wife Elena Ochoa, whom he married three years ago after meeting at the University of Barcelona, is a psychopathologist known in her native Spain for presenting the hit show Hablamos De Sexo (Let's Talk About Sex). The pair have been seen together on the pages of Hola! magazine, that bastion of celebrity life.
But the publicity surrounding Sir Norman's professional endeavours has not always been flattering. Many of his most daring designs such as the Millennium Tower have been ridiculed.
BUT his commitment to his work has never been in doubt. Many say it borders on the manic. "I don't know how to stop," he agrees. "Like a child's toy, I keep spinning. If I stopped, I'd fall over.
"I took my son to Scandinavia and we went sledging with teams of huskies. At first I thought the dogs were being overworked, but I quickly learnt that they are never happier than when pelting flat out.
"I'm not very different."
When the architectural historian Charles Jencks asked him whether his working-class background had been a disadvantage he replied: "Not in the least."
"It gave me a single-minded vision as I sat in the public library as a boy reading about Frank Lloyd Wright.
"None of those middle class kids knew what they wanted from life."
Lord Foster: Stormin' Norman
Norman Foster - Architect
See Also: Note #7. If you've got "it" use it!
Monday, August 20, 2007
Gladwell asserts that most trends, styles, and phenomena are born and spread according to routes of transmission and conveyance that are strikingly similar. In most of these scenarios, whether the event in question is the spread of syphilis in Baltimore’s mean streets or the sudden spike in the popularity of Hush Puppies sales, there is a crucial juncture, which Gladwell terms the “tipping point,” that signals a key moment of crystallization that unifies isolated events into a significant trend. What factors decide whether a particular trend or pattern will take hold? Gladwell introduces three variables that determine whether and when the tipping point will be achieved.
The three “rules of epidemics” that Gladwell identifies are:
the Law of the Few,
the Stickiness Factor,
and the Power of Context.
the Law of the Few
noting that the origins of most major epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases can be traced back to the disproportionate influence of a few “super infectors” who are personally responsible for dozens, or in some cases, hundreds of transmissions. This role is analogous to the category of people that Gladwell identifies as “Connectors,” who play an inordinate role in helping new trends begin to “tip,” or spread rapidly.
The attainment of the tipping point that transforms a phenomenon into an influential trend usually requires the intervention of a number of influential types of people. In the disease epidemic model Gladwell introduced in Chapter 1, he demonstrated that many outbreaks could be traced back to a small group of infectors. Likewise, on the path toward the tipping point, many trends are ushered into popularity by small groups of individuals that can be classified as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.
Connectors are individuals who have ties in many different realms and act as conduits between them, helping to engender connections, relationships, and “cross-fertilization” that otherwise might not have ever occurred.
Mavens are people who have a strong compulsion to help other consumers by helping them make informed decisions. Salesmen are people whose unusual charisma allows them to be extremely persuasive in inducing others’ buying decisions and behaviors. Gladwell identifies a number of examples of past trends and events that hinged on the influence and involvement of Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen at key moments in their development.
The Stickiness Factor:
Another crucial factor that plays a key role in determining whether a trend will attain exponential popularity is what Gladwell terms “the stickiness factor.” This refers to a unique quality that compels the phenomenon to “stick” in the minds of the public and influence their future behavior.
An interesting element of stickiness, as defined by Gladwell, is the fact that it is often counterintuitive, or contradictory to the prevailing conventional wisdom. To illustrate this point, Gladwell undertakes an in-depth discussion of the evolution of children’s television between the 1960s and the 2000s.
The PBS show Sesame Street represented a vast improvement in the “stickiness” of children’s television, in large part because it turned many of the long-established assumptions about children’s cognitive abilities and television-watching behaviors on their heads. These changes, based in large part on extensive research, resulted in a show that actually helped toddlers and preschoolers develop literacy.
Years later, the television show Blue’s Clues applied many of these same techniques to Sesame Street itself, resulting in the development of a program that research has shown can generate significant improvements in children’s logic and reasoning abilities. The attribute of stickiness, Gladwell argues, often represents a dramatic divergence from the conventional wisdom of the era.
The Power of Context
Clearly, in order for a trend to tip into massive popularity, large numbers of people need to embrace it. However, Gladwell points out that groups of certain sizes and certain types can often be uniquely conducive to achieving the tipping point. He traces the path of the novel The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood from regional cult favorite to national best-seller. Gladwell notes that the unique content of the novel appealed strongly to reading groups of middle-aged women in Northern California, and that these women were uniquely well-positioned to catapult the book to national success as a result of an informal campaign of recommendations and advocacy.
Gladwell also remarks upon the unusual properties tied to the size of social groups. Groups of less than 150 members usually display a level of intimacy, interdependency, and efficiency that begins to dissipate markedly as soon as the group’s size increases over 150. This concept has been exploited by a number of corporations that use it as the foundation of their organizational structures and marketing campaigns.
an edited summary from wikisummaries.org
Sunday, August 12, 2007
February 9, 2003
Let Me Guess, You Must Be an Architect
By RUTH LA FERLA
He has not had a run on them yet, but Robert Marc, a New York eyewear designer and retailer, would not be surprised to hear customers pleading, "Make me a pair of glasses just like Daniel Libeskind wears."
Mr. Libeskind, the Berlin architect, became the focus of attention last week when it was announced that his firm, Studio Daniel Libeskind, was one of two design teams with a project under consideration for the World Trade Center site. The other was the Think team, headed by the architects Frederic Schwartz, Rafael Viñoly and Ken Smith of New York and Shigeru Ban of Tokyo.
the architects' eyewear. Mr. Viñoly appeared in photographs wearing two pairs of spectacles on his head — something of a fashion signature. Mr. Smith wore his trademark darkWith their soaring towers and memorials, both concepts were the talk of the town. A few New Yorkers, however, seemed almost as impressed by spherical frames, and Mr. Libeskind had on a pair of heavy rectangular spectacles that highlighted his stern expression.
"Libeskind's glasses are out of control," said Brian Sawyer, a New York architect, his amusement mixed with admiration. He knows that for architects, signature glasses are a conscious attempt to trademark their faces, much as they trademark a building. Mr. Libeskind's frames are a particularly severe example of so-called statement glasses, meant to confer a degree of gravitas, but hinting all the while that he (or she) has raffishly artistic leanings.
Spectacles with a pronounced geometric shape are a natural style choice in a profession focused on structure and form, Mr. Sawyer pointed out. "For me they are just like a watch," he said. "I revel in all the miniature aspects of their mechanics, but they are also a beautiful thing."
So prevalent are they as an insignia of the architect's profession that ordinary people often try to copy them.
"You never hear customers saying, `Make me look like a lawyer,' " Mr. Marc observed. "It's always, `Give me that architect type of look.' "
At Alain Mikli or Selima Optique, among the brands professionals prefer, shoppers go in for eccentrically spherical or rhomboid shapes, some owlishly endearing, some as forbidding as Dr. Frankenstein, depending on one's point of view.
Joseph Lee, an architect with G Tects, a New York firm, favors Dolce & Gabbana glasses with a clear acrylic rim. Mr. Lee is perfectly aware that his glasses give him the aspect of a mad scientist. But their look is only fitting, he maintained. "We think of ourselves as working in a research lab, where we like to explore different aspects of theory," Mr. Lee said.
It was Le Corbusier who first made owlish black spectacles a signature, thereby giving generations of followers permission to adopt a similarly geeky look. "He made it safe to make a statement through eyewear," said Mayer Rus, the design editor of House & Garden magazine.
Indeed, Le Corbusier inspired Philip Johnson to design a similarly rounded pair of glasses for himself in 1934, which he had manufactured by Cartier. Ken Smith, the landscape architect, has adopted a contemporary version of Mr. Johnson's black-rimmed orbs — the perfectly rigorous complement to his black-on-black attire.
Like Le Corbusier, architects today are often remarkably loyal to their chosen eyewear style.
"Just as you want to be identified with a particular design approach, you want to be known for your glasses," Mr. Sawyer said. "Sometimes they are the only things that basically don't change about you."
Often those glasses suggest a balance of weirdness and starchy conservatism. "Of all the applied artists, the architect most often resembles a Wall Street banker," Mr. Rus said. "They don't want clients to feel they are some sort of kook who is going to make them a crazy blob of a building."
Determined to strike a sober note, a few fall back on glasses with a look that, sadly, verges on cliché. "They rationalize their glasses as being some sort of minimalist style statement," Mr. Rus said, "but they end up looking like something from an avant-garde German performance troupe."
That kind of assessment does not faze eyewear obsessives, for whom glasses are often their only concession to style — the ostentatiously understated equivalent of a nylon Prada coat.
Some also see them as marvels of invention. Gordon Kipping, who heads G Tects, is immoderately attached to his IC! Berlin stainless-steel sunglasses, stamped out of five sheets of metal, making their hingeless design as flexible as a hairpin.
"I just like the fact that they're an innovative technology," Mr. Kipping said. The architect, who spends between $250 and $350 on each pair of glasses he owns, is no less fixated on his Sandy Grendel glasses, Swiss made and designed especially for dentists.
"I like the all-titanium armature across the top, and that it comes with a visor and fiber optic light fixtures that snap on," he said.
Strangers quickly peg him as an architect, but that's all right, Mr. Kipping said. "I just tell them, it's the glasses, right?"
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
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ALSO SEE THESE RELATED NOTES FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS:
8. Develop a Mystique
9. Fight! Its a Hobbesian war
2. Use stratagies of a publicist to get in the news
Cultivating the Gimmicks of the Trade
By JAMES GARDNER
February 23, 2006
An anecdote: When he was a young man, Robert Stern, the current dean of the Yale School of Architecture, was walking down 57th Street and ran into an assistant of Paul Rudolph, who was then Yale's dean of architecture. According to Mr. Stern, the man was carrying 50 pairs of the sort of Corbusian glasses that Rudolph - not to mention Philip Johnson and many others in the profession - liked to wear.
"I said, 'Jeff, what are all those glasses for?'" Mr. Stern recalls in Perspecta 37, the latest issue of Yale's architecture journal. "He said, 'Well, Big Daddy is afraid that they may not be available in the future so he bought them all.'" Mr. Stern goes on to inform us that Rudolph "didn't even need glasses."
What is this obsession that architects have with eyewear? The case could be made that Daniel Libeskind won the commission for ground zero as much for those rebarbative honkers he favors as for any competence in planning or design. Presumably glasses indicate that one is "visual," that one is an intellectual and a professional, as opposed to artists, who, the theory goes, befoul themselves with pigment and the like. Whatever the reason turns out to be, you can be sure that it has everything to do with vanity and empty posturing. Mr. Stern is probably correct to invoke the words of one of the hookers in Stephen Sondheim's "Gypsy": "You gotta have a gimmick."
Perspecta 37, devoted to fame in architecture, could not have come at a more opportune moment, given the ever-increasing intimacy of architecture with art, fashion, and publishing. For the first time in its history, the profession has become, in the words of our foremost cultural critic, Paris Hilton, "hot."
As you might expect from such a compilation, Perspecta 37 is a mixed bag, with much of the usual humbug that occurs when architects think they think. But this volume contains a refreshing candor that also can be typical of the trade. One example is the eight-step guide on how to become a famous architect, compiled by the firm FAT. Consider Step 4: "Now that you have a name, you need a project. It must be a radical design of a house. It needs a catchy title. Pick a popular word or phrase then add 'house' to the end of it."
Such talk seems to square with Mr. Stern's jaundiced view of his profession as a Hobbesian war of all against all in which vanity and self-interest are so rampant that no one - not even Louis Kahn, the patron saint of those who didn't sell out - emerges as anything other than an operator with varying degrees of shrewdness and hustle. As is made clear in several of the essays here, everyone got into the act: not only Frank Lloyd Wright, whose acrobatic self-promotion was legendary, but also such noble northerners as Mies van der Rohe and Alvar Aalto.
At the heart of this collection, which includes writings by or interviews with Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Charles Jencks, and Peter Eisenman, among others, is a paradox. The editors place before us two propositions: "Fame empowers architecture" and "Fame undermines architecture."
At one level, it is easy to see the truth of both propositions. Many architects who have succeeded in recent years, among them Messrs. Libeskind, Gehry, and Koolhaas (despite his affected disdain for the blandishments of fame), have won important commissions by successfully marketing or branding themselves.This is not a lovely or edifying spectacle, any more than it is in pop music or film, but in architecture, as in anything else, you do what you have to do.
At the same time, this frenzy of renown has taken its toll, debasing a profession that appeared, until recently, to be largely divorced from the follies of popular taste and the degradation of having to serve, or even to acknowledge the existence of, the unwashed multitudes. The argument could be made that the new Hearst Building on West 57th Street is schlock that got built because of Norman Foster's international celebrity.
But fame in architecture is a relative concept. What Perspecta 37 scarcely addresses is the obscurity in which most architects are destined to live out their lives. Two of the most prolific architects in the history of New York, Costas Kondylis and Frank Williams, are entirely unknown outside their profession, and scarcely known within, it either. The important thing is that they are very well known to the seven or eight extremely wealthy developers whom we have to thank for much of the building stock that has risen in Manhattan in recent years. Even the cynosures of the moment, architects like Steven Holl and Zaha Hadid, however they may enjoy the esteem or the envy of their colleagues, are all but unknown beyond their own profession and the relatively tiny subset of nonarchitects who have any interest in the subject.
More essentially, consider that of all the millions of buildings erected throughout the world, most people cannot name the architect of a single one, even though many people know who wrote "American Psycho," who composed "Rent," and who painted "Guernica." Indeed, you yourself, dear reader, who have at least enough interest in the subject of architecture to follow the discussion all the way to this penultimate paragraph, probably cannot name the architect of the building in which you live or work.
Writing in the middle of the sixth century, the court historian Procopius discussed hundreds of massive structures built at the command of his employer Justinian the Great. With but one exception, no architect is named. Instead we read that Justinian built this and Justinian built that. When all is said, the public interest in architecture has not progressed very far beyond that point, 15 centuries later.
ALSO SEE THESE RELATED NOTES FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS:
8. Develop a Mystique
Friday, August 10, 2007
How to Become a Famous Architect
Death to Manifestos. Viva How-Tos!
Becoming a famous architect shouldn't take too long, but don't expect too much. It's not a passport to riches, nor an introduction to high society. But if it's what you want, here's how to do it.
First, pay a visit to any well stocked newsagent. Buy one copy of each design magazine. You will use these to find out what not to do.
Now go to your local remaindered book store. Buy a copy of a design book with lots of pictures in. Not only is the remaindered store cheaper, but it's stock is between ten to fifteen years old. These are the least fashionable and so most shocking of all styles. You will use this to copy your new designs from.
On the way home, choose a name for your cutting edge design firm. Something punchy, arty, and a little stupid should do. There are not too many rules about this but make sure it doesn't include 'urban' or 'studio'. Your name will present an efficient image, suggest an office in a fashionable part of town, and a committed workforce. No one will know that you are really operating out of your bedroom.
Now that you have a name, you need a project. It must be a radical design of a house. It needs a catchy title. Pick a popular word or phrase, then add house to the end of it. If it sounds good, it is good.
Scan in some of the pictures from your new book. Scan in some other pictures you like. Stick them together in the latest version of Photoshop. Play around until you get a nice picture that you can believe in. Check that it dosen't look too much like the pictures in your magazines.
Now it's time to develop your mystique. This is all important, because it is what you are selling. Remember, you won't have to design a building for at least ten years. And in this time you will live off your mystique, so make it good. Mystique is what you say, and the way that you say it.
If you come from continental Europe, great. If you don't, pretend that you do. Mystique should also suggest revolutionary politics and French philosophy. Don't talk about these things directly as it never makes good copy and will only confuse you.
In order to alert the magazines, you must write a press release. This should be full of your mystique, good copy, and have your telephone number on it. Know your audience: Journalists. It's important to remember that design journalists are desperate for anything interesting. This is because architecture is mainly boring. So be interesting. Make outlandish claims; tell them everything they know is wrong; most of all, be prepared to have a radical opinion on anything that may crop up in conversation. They will print it and thank you.
Email your press release to the magazines. The addresses will be in the magazines you bought earlier. No rest yet, because you must now prepare the packs that you will send out. You will be too busy answering the inevitable calls over the next few days, so do it now. The pack should contain your new picture and a radical design statement (see how useful developing that mystique was?).
When the phone starts ringing, you know what to do: Use your cutting edge firms name, your exciting new house title, and your fascinating mystique to full effect. When the phone stops ringing, go to the post office and send your project packs out.
Now it's time to relax. Head on down to a fashionable architects bar (you will recognize it by its converted industrial look, expensive bar snacks, and people with strange glasses on). Enjoy yourself, but remember your mystique! All you need to do now is remember to buy the magazines that you feature in.
from FAT, Fashion Architecture Taste: www.fashionarchitecturetaste.com
Being good won't make you famous
“the famous architect requires no clients”
To be a good architect, you must have a modicum of talent and many happy clients, pleased with your buildings. You won't be able to pay your bills, otherwise.
To be an internationally famous architect requires no clients at all, and certainly no buildings. Ms Zaha Hadid, one of the most lauded and famous architects of our time, was lauded and famous before she ever built so much as a brick sh*thouse. She received her first paying commission for a real building after 25 years in the business. Like many others of the greats — especially the postmodernists — her reputation was based entirely on images, not real-life.
Being a famous architect requires little contact with reality; only an indulgent benefactor who will pay your bills year after year. You can spend many a happy decade entering international competitions, which you never seem to quite win. With the right connections, though, you can have your drawings published in the right avant-garde magazines, books and sites, thereby garnering the fame you so rightly deserve.
Why you don't want to win a competition
The last thing that you as a potential genius wants is to win a competition before you are forty and your benefactor's money and tolerance has run out. Oi vey! Then all the problem fairies will appear, fairies who never before set a foot on your pristine drawing board or screen.
You've spent your life designing self-indulgent fantasies. Now you actually have to make one come to life.
You probably won a competition in a country you've never set foot in, so you have no more idea of local building regulations and customs than a mouse does of string theory. The client actually works to a budget, so you have to assuage his or her constant meddling in your expensive genius. The sad fools who certify building health and safety are so arrogant as to tell you how to distribute toilet facilities, or how much car-parking you must have, or that your creation must satisfy fire regulations. What pish-tosh!
And then there is the actual builder! My God, what a vulgarian!
Here is our simple plan for international success:
* Be born rich, so you have class from the start. Then your parents will be able to afford to pay the hefty fees when you ask to…
* Study at the right hip school. While there you will…
* Refine the exquisite tastes and habits that will mark you forever as one of the culturati. And your parent's and your school's connections will enable you to…
* Get into the most-talked about practices. Your boss can then use his (oh so rarely her!) connections so that you can…
* Meet the right critics, who will talk about you, and publish all your drawings for architecture that no one actually wants built. While you are waiting for that to happen, you will…
* Return to teach at the hip schools that taught you. There you can earn a living with minimal effort, since your own unbuilt works will be the ready-made basis of all your courses.
Take a look at the play or film Six Degrees of Separation. If that is your family background: settle back, relax, and play the game as you innately know how to — you are already on your way.
Rich parents and friends will help you tide over the lean years (which can stretch into decades) while you wait for your first prestigious commission.
The rest of your contemporaries have a family and a mortgage: if they don't please clients by designing real buildings, they will starve.
With money behind you, you can spend your twenties, thirties and even beyond as a dilettante. How many architects could afford to wait to receive their first commission until 44 years of age, the age at which Ms Hadid's first design was actually built?
Copyright © 2001-2007 Garry Stevens.
The two types of greatness
“what we mean by greatness”
First, let's clarify what we mean by 'greatness'. In the terms of the theory of our guru Pierre Bourdieu it means accumulating either of two sorts of capital. We're not talking about money, here. Well, not just money. 'Capital' can also mean things like degrees and diplomas; social contacts; knowledge; and prestige. Broadly, capitals can be divided into two groups. The first is 'temporal' capital', which corresponds to earthly things, such as money or the power that comes from running a large architecture firm. The second is 'symbolic capital' or 'intellectual capital'. You can be poor as a church mouse but be rich in symbolic capital. A classic example would be Frank Lloyd Wright in his middle period: not doing too well financially, but a towering giant as a master of architectural form.
The two forms of capital, intellectual and temporal, are quite distinct and independent in the English-speaking architectural field. An architect can become the president of his or her national association, or sit on government boards, or found a large and wealthy firm, thereby accumulating great temporal capital, without acquiring the least intellectual capital. In American Architects and the Mechanics of Fame, Roxanne Williamson recorded that after 1910 those who won the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal were never those who were important professionals. She pointed out that the biggest and wealthiest firms with the greatest volume of business were only rarely remembered beyond their own generation. In Behind the Postmodern Facade Magali Sarfati Larson made the same point:
‘Large architectural firms… are known, sought after, and handsomely paid for providing… service efficiently in very large and very costly projects.… From the practical professional point of view, these firms offer clients unmatched guarantees of competence, efficiency, reliability, and technical support. To employed architects, they offer the prospect of regular career advancement. Yet public fame, the aura of architecture as art, and the creator’s aspirations to immortality are seldom, if ever, attached to the rationalised corporate form of professional practice.’
On the other side of the coin, one need only recall that Frank Lloyd Wright never desired or achieved the slightest professional position, but in his later years at least, was honoured and deferred to by all those in the highest ranks of professional power.
How to be a great architect
So when we talk about becoming a great architect, we could be talking about achieving greatness in either a temporal or a symbolic sense. The presidents of associations, and those who sit on government boards, are not necessarily those who win the design awards or who end up in the history books. They look more like René than Corbu.
And those who end up in the history books won't often be found wandering society's corridors of power. They are usually having too much fun designing to sit all day in meetings. They don't want fancy titles (Director of this, Head of that, Advisor to, Professor of, Chairman of so-and-so). The architects interested in temporal power could produce a CV in a flash, listing all their commissions and appointments, for forty or fifty pages. Probably show you photos of them with the Spice Girls, too. Not so the heroics. They wouldn't know what a CV was.The secret is class, but of the right sort. Not money, but symbols.
Copyright © 2001-2007 Garry Stevens
American Architects and the Mechanics of Fame
by Roxanne Kuter Williamson
Argues that the success of architects is not due only to education and self-promotion, but rather is dependent upon knowing the "right person at the right time", and analyzes the success of famous architects to justify this claim.
Probably the most solid evidence on how to achieve fame is provided by
Roxanne Williamson's book "American Architects and the Mechanics of Fame".
She concludes that the most likely mechanism for success is to work for
Great Architect (tm) at certain key periods in the GA's career, which she
goes on to define as 'dynamic shifts'.
Dept of Architectural and Design Science
University of Sydney
Phil Hansen is not only tearing down the “gallery” walls that keep many people from seeing and enjoying art. He’s also showing us how it’s made -- all on the Internet.
In this piece titled “48 Women.” Hansen creates a portrait of convicted serial killer Gary Ridgway, aka The Green River Killer. The portrait is made of pixelated photos of a few of his forty-eight victims.
In this portrait of Bruce Lee. He uses karate chops to make the portrait. He films the event, see the video here
With his own blood, Hansen produces an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong II as a protest against nuclear proliferation. See video here
In this work he uses passages from the bible to create an image of KKK members to make a statement about religion
article about Phil Hansen
Daniel Edwards is a sculptor. His pieces address celebrity and popular culture in ways that have often stirred controversy.
His works include a sculpture of the disembodied head of Ted Williams, a life-sized statue of Britney Spears giving birth while nude on her hands and knees on a bearskin rug, a provocative bust of Senator Hillary Clinton, and a 25 foot bust of Fidel Castro.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
How to Get Famous -- In only 90 Days!
by Joe Vitale
"I am indebted to the press of the United States for almost every dollar which I possess..." -- P.T. Barnum, 1891
Charlie Stratton was a little boy who would not grow. He was destined to be less than three feet tall.
His parents accepted the fact that he would never become a full sized adult. The neighbors felt sorry for the nice family and their midget. But no one saw an opportunity for greatness. No one saw the potential for fame and fortune. No one, that is, until one man came along in 1842 with an eye for hidden possibilities. That man was P.T. Barnum.
Barnum taught the child to sing and dance. He taught him to express himself, to accept how he looked, to feel good about who he was. He also taught the boy how to charm and entertain crowds. And he named the young prodigy a name that still lives today: General Tom Thumb.
Years later, after Tom was rich and world famous, his Connecticut neighbors would shake their heads and smile. "We always thought little Charlie was a nice boy but not very special," many said, "but we never knew he would become a celebrity until Barnum took him and Barnumized him."
P.T. Barnum took many people who were talented but unknown and made them rich and famous. While Jenny Lind was known as the greatest Swedish soprano in all of Europe, few had any idea who she was in America. Yet Barnum hired her, managed her, promoted her, and Jenny Lind became so famous that 30,000 people met her ship when it docked in New York in the mid 1800s. Again, Barnum had practiced the art of "Barnumizing" someone.
And to prove that his techniques worked, when Lind decided to save money and manage her own concerts without Barnum's help, her crowds grew smaller. Lind didn't get media attention. And she returned to Europe without fanfare. Yet it was the same Jenny Lind that the crowds had gone wild to see under Barnum's art!
That art is not lost today, of course. Throughout 1997 I smiled whenever I saw an article on the singer Jewel. Here you have a woman barely out of her teens, with only one CD released at the time, making front page headlines and cover stories on national magazines. Last I heard she had been hired to write her autobiography (!) and was paid more than a million dollars for it. Yet Jewel is barely an adult! How is this happening? Clearly, Jewel is being Barnumized.
And that's how anyone can become famous today. You need someone skilled in the art of Barnumizing. There should be a latent talent or trait that can be publicized, of course, but even that can be gotten around. Richard Branson, the tycoon founder of many businesses, including Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines, Barnumizes himself by creating balloon flights around the world. Whether he actually succeeds at the trip doesn't matter. His events bring himself international publicity. And he is not promoting any talent except maybe the bold desire to be famous.
I've been personally fascinated by publicity and publicists since I began researching P.T. Barnum a few years ago. Here's a taste of some of the people I've discovered:
* Harry Reichenbach was an audacious silent movies publicist who made people famous in the early 1900s. In fact, his incredible creative ideas helped stop World War I.
* Edward L. Bernays helped make such stars as the singer Caruso famous. And he got American women to smoke with a publicity event he helped orchestrate in 1929.
* And publicists today continue to Barnumize people like chicken soup authors Mark Victor Hanson and Jack Canfield. One reason Deepak Chopra remains a bestselling author is the publicist behind him: Arielle Ford.
But let's forget actors and actresses, authors and speakers, singers and celebrities for a moment. What about the average person? What about you? Can you be Barnumized? Can you be made famous?
Without hesitation, I say yes. The secret is in hiring a publicist who knows how to find or create a news worthy subject out of you or something you do.
There isn't any one way to fame that fits for all people. Sometimes all you need is one wild event to draw attention to everything else you do:
* Barnum once showed a preposterous "Fejee Mermaid." The curious half-monkey-half fish increased his ticket sales 33%.
* In our own century a circus once displayed a "Unicorn." While everyone knows unicorns aren't real, ticket sales increased 55%. Again, the one publicity stunt drew crowds to see everything else being offered.
But you don't have to be wild and crazy to get attention. In an article I wrote titled "Hidden Selling," I talk about the various people who are getting rich and famous by sponsoring events that serve a good cause. Bill Phillips, for example, is selling people on the idea of getting fit. He gives away his book, and a video, and holds yearly contests. He donates his money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. All of this is making Bill internationally famous. How does he make any money? He sells nutritional supplements. Back this fact is "hidden." What Bill is doing is getting fame, and then using that fame to make money. Very, very smart.
One of the easiest ways to begin to seek fame is to write a book. You still have to promote the book, of course, but as an author you have an excuse to get publicity. That's what Evel Knievel wanted when he called me. He wanted me to help him write his life story. He knew that a book could bring him more fame. (I turned him down.) Many other people know this fact, too, from Donald Trump to J. Paul Getty to Madonna, and that's why they write (or hire someone to write) books for them.
By now you've heard the quote from Andy Warhol that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. My belief is that if you create fame for yourself that sticks, that fame will be a credential you can bank on for the rest of your life.
Take Evel Knievel. His publicity stunts Barnumized him in the 1970s. Yet we still know his name today, thirty years later. He wedged his name into public awareness through his fame tactics. And he's still cashing in on his name. In fact, his name is so strong that it has helped launch the career of another daredevil: Evel's own son, Robbie Knievel.
Most people know the name Tom Thumb today, as well. Why? The fame Barnum created for his little friend still lives. Fame can do that for you, too. It can become a lasting advertisement for who you and what you do. From then on, everything you touch will get automatic attention. Tom Thumb used to sell toys and other products. So did Evel Knievel. As a result of their fame, these otherwise mediocre products sold. The products weren't important, it was the name associated with the products. The more famous the name, the more easily the products sold. That's why Pepsi hires the latest hot stars to appear in their commercials. Their fame brings favorable attention to Pepsi.
But what if you can't afford a publicist? Easy. What you have to do is become your own publicist and Barnumize yourself.
Let me explain:
A year or so ago I wrote a news release that helped make Jeff DeLong---barely 28 years old---wealthy. The headline read:
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (or anyone else); Unusual cards don't greet, say Hit The Streets
Paul Krupin of the ImediaFax news bureau sent it out by fax and email. As a result, Jeff did twenty radio interviews the day his release hit. The Associated Press picked up the story at least twice and spread the word to the media nationally. The number of times the story was reprinted is impossible to tally. But as a direct result, Jeff's website sales at blasted to $20,000 a week. (A week!)
What made his news release so successful?
1. There was news here.
I didn't have to dig too hard to see that Jeff's greeting cards were newsworthy in and of themselves. (You send his c-ya cards out when you *end* relationships.) Too many people send out news releases without any news. They are thinly disguised ads. Editors hate ads. They want NEWS.
2. We tied it to current news.
Valentine's Day was right around the corner. While Jeff didn't want to tie his release to that event, I knew that doing so would cause the media to grab his release. It helped make his news relevant. Whenever you can tie your product or service to existing news, you up the odds in being used by the media.
3. We distributed the release to select media.
Paul Krupin hand picked a list of media contacts. What you send out has to match the interests of those receiving it. Don't send artillery news to an anti-gun newspaper.
You can get publicity for virtually any product or service. The media is desperate for news. Provide it and they'll advertise your business. But how do you find the right news angle? There are at least three ways: (1) Have news, (2) invent news, or (3) tie your business to current news.
Jeff's release was an example of one and three. (His cards were news, and we tied it to Valentine's Day, which was current news.) Here's an example of number two: Inventing news.
When Barry Michaels in Australia hired me to write a release for his clothing store at , I had to hunt to find the news angle. I talked to him and learned that because he was getting bogus orders online, he started calling virtually *everyone* who contacted him. This turned out to be a breakthrough. Customers were in awe that a retailer in Australia would call them. Not only did Barry stop the bogus orders, but he increased his sales with this extra personal service. So I wrote a news release with this headline:
Retailer Finds Way to Turn Bogus Orders Into Profit; Australia teaches the globe how to make money online
As a result, the Investors Business Daily called him. Since that is a national publication, Barry's news release will turn into *thousands* of dollars in free publicity. Very nice.
Finally, let me tell you what I did a few months ago. In mid-June I bought a mermaid. Yes, a mermaid. P.T. Barnum had one and I figured it would be cool if I did, too. It turned out to be a disappointment and I felt like an idiot for getting it. But then I saw a publicity opportunity. So I wrote a news release (using method number two) that began with this headline:
Barnum Expert Suckered Into Buying "Real" Mermaid; Discovers curiosity as powerful marketing tool
The response stunned me. The editor of the American Legal Association's newsletter asked if they could run the story. Radio hosts wanted to interview me. An A&E Biography TV show on Barnum plugged my book, causing my book to sell out overnight. Ah, I love this!
The point is, news angles are everywhere. Start to think like a reporter, get creative, and plug you or your business *within* your story. It's the key secret to getting rich and famous today----within only 90 days---and with or without a mermaid!
How to Get Famous Fast
The Proven Method for Skyrocketing to Fame in the News Media
by Rusty Cawley
Walter Winchell was the most influential newspaper columnist of the 1930s and 1940s, a time when newspapers were the most powerful media in the world. He rose from obscurity as a third-rate vaudeville performer to become feared, hated and widely imitated.
His formula for success?
"The fastest way to become famous," he said, "is to throw a brick at someone famous."
Winchell fought publicly with entertainment's biggest names, from Al Jolson to Josephine Baker to Lucille Ball. Later in his career, he swung toward political reporting. Winchell championed an unprecedented third term for President Franklin Roosevelt as well as the Red Scare for Joe McCarthy.
He threw bricks in every direction. And this made him among the most famous men in the nation.
Winchell's tactics have been adopted and adapted by scores of ambitious individuals and organizations.
How did Ralph Nader become famous? By attacking General Motors.
How did Jesse Jackson become famous? By claiming that racism is systemic at virtually every major U.S. corporation, then attacking those corporations one by one: Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Viacom, Verizon, Ford and on and on. Not only has this made him famous, it has made him wealthy, with an annual income estimated to exceed $300,000.
How did style guru Mr. Blackwell become famous? By issuing an annual list of the Worst Dressed Women in the World, and thus attacking some of the most famous females on the planet.
After more than four decades, Mr. Blackwell's list remains among the most anticipated - and dreaded - bricks in all of entertainment and fashion.
Among his recent victims: Princess Stephanie, pop singer Britney Spears, game show host Anne Robinson, royal companion Camilla Parker Bowles, film star Kate Hudson and TV actress Gillian Anderson.
Check out the sudden ascent that comedian/actress Janeane Garofalo's career has taken since she took the lead in attacks on President Bush's policy in Iraq. Agree or disagree with her, there's no doubt that throwing bricks at the White House has benefited her.
"Before this I was a moderately well-known character actress," Garofalo recently told the Washington Post. "Now, I'm almost famous."
Famous enough to warrant an ABC sitcom, as well as more than 53,000 Google hits using her name alone.
Throw the right brick at the right person, and you gain fame.
Obviously, throwing a brick isn't for everyone. It takes a strong stomach, a steady nerve and the willingness to dodge a few bricks thrown in your direction.
But it works.
The keys to creating a Targeted Newsworthy Appeal with this tactic are to find the right brick and the right target.
The right brick is a criticism or a charge that:
1. Your target cannot easily deny or dismiss with a few well-chosen words.
2. Arouses your target audience - your potential customers or clients - to take action against the target.
3. Brings your issue into stark clarity for the public to see, to study and to digest.
The right target is:
1. An industry leader with a well-known brand name.
2. A famous person who practices or champions what you oppose.
The PR Rainmaker knows: Walter Winchell was right. If you want to become famous fast, throw a brick.