Friday, December 14, 2007

29. Take a lesson from Thom Mayne


  • Architecture is a public act: What is architecture really? It is taking our world view, how we exist, how we deal with each other in a civil society, and it concretizes it, it makes it permanent, It makes it evident. The social act and the aesthetic act comes together
  • Architecture can only finally be about our social space: connections between people, a public space, the connective tissue.
  • The development of a young architect as you mature moves from something that is conceptual to something that is more connected to the realities of our political, cultural, social, economic world. As it (projects) increases in scale specifically your strategies your tactics your methodologies has to become more resilient more compatible with the vast contingencies that all architects have to deal with.
  • Architecture as an art form is different from painting, sculpture, literature, and music in that it is inescapably connected to reality; it requires huge investments and includes an agreement with a client.
  • Film and architecture share quit a bit; the same economic and development forces that push the main stream film industry would be parallel to what takes place in architecture.
  • The films that I am interested in are just about only on the outside of the system in a way. For years I thought I could only work as an outsider, outside the main stream, outside the traditional notions of the larger architectural forces that come outside of large firms.
  • The Transition to Fame: First you are published, ( I did a project for a school in 1972) someone else looks at it and you exist. Someone goes "oh, more of these exists". Slowly people begin to see you as representative of something that exist in Los Angeles. Someone else comes along and say "thats the LA school!". They group 6 of us and that gets published. All of a sudden now you are part of the LA school. 10 years later you done a few more things, and you are known clearly among the academic world and in the architecture world as an innovative office that is providing ideas for the rest of the profession. Then something else happens; a certain building and then things take off.
  • I like architects, I am proud of my profession, I am honored to be in this group of people
  • Produce something that demand inquires, that is not status quo. It doesn't mater if people like it or dislike it. The question is does it stimulate you. The horror is to do something neutral. Thats the failure.


Anonymous said...

I was with landscape firm participating in the Giant Group Pharmaceutical project in China, the main event of which was Mayne's "Dragon" building.

I spent the entire time I worked on this project wondering whether I was the only one who felt disgust at the taint of working in a country so infamous for its human rights violations, suppression, and completely rampant corruption at every level in every sector - public, private, government.

By the way, as an amusing aside from my project manager, I was told that the land for this bloated homage to ego was supposed to be some sort of ecological reserve but, well, you know how persuasive rich and powerful people. I spent the rest of my tenure after hearing this feeling sick to my stomach for not being a whistle-blower - but then, who would listen, and who would do anything?

Money, and fame, talk.