Thursday, March 5, 2009

Buildings Alive

This post is inspired in part by kmwthay's recent post on famous folk from her 'hood and Boxer's about her beloved beach house, a structure rich with history and emotion for her and her family. Boxer's post in particular got me thinking again about my own relationship with a house from my past, and of the relationships we all have with both space and place.

In my opinion, Bart Prince is one of the few residential architects living today who understand the relationship between the two – not just how a building relates to its site, but also to the people who inhabit it. Prince is from my 'hood. I have been in and/or seen quite a few of his homes. They are amazing. If I had a bazillion dollars, I'd have him design one por Moi in a heartbeat.


Doris Rose said...

Really interesting work. In another life I wanted to be an architect, but I was afraid that it was too much math, sigh. Beautiful images.

Jenny said...

I love your obessions and I always learn something. The story you told about the house YOU loved has resonated with me. I'm always amazed at people who can move houses every few years. I've been in my little Seattle house for nearly 20 years and I plan to stay for another 20!

I love Bart Prince's ability to meld nature with his designs. Very cool.

fishy said...

You are my kind of person! I have spent my adult life united with the idea of the importance of structures to evoke an emotional reponse to the dwellers as well as the need to integrate the structure within the native environment. Your "hoodie" architect is obviously on this page and succeeding in spreading the light! Kudos.

PS) new post at the Pond

moi said...

Doris: My El Problemo, exactly. Too much math also prevented me from becoming a Civil Engineer and Rocket Scientist. Damn all that ciphering.

Boxer: I know. I get very attached to things, not the least of which is my casa. I'm not budging from this one anytime soon.

Fishy: I can imagine how challenging and interesting your work as an interior designer must be. I would love to know how much leeway clients give you and if you have ever had a commission that went against your every last nerve.

fishy said...

To be honest, I do not accept projects if I disagree with the project or I think I cannot communicate well with the players.
So the "very last nerve" scenario does not happen in that sphere, but sometimes in others.

As for leeway, it depends on the ability of the owners to trust. Most of my clients are accomplished, successful professionals accustomed to making decisions and delegating to a team to achieve a common goal. These people are great to work with because long ago they came to terms with their own strengths and weaknesses. I do have to learn with each client how to tactfully say, " Okay, you own the power. It IS your home, your checkbook, your decision. However, I advise against this choice for the following reasons ...

Last year I did a second home in the mountains for some folks down in Miami. They bought the home from a builder and hired me to finalize all exterior and interior finishes, and completely make the home "guest ready". A budget was established, funds sent and I commenced to design, specify , purchase and install everything. All furniture, rugs, art, accessories, window treatments, electronics, fully stocked baths, fully equipped kitchen, fully dressed beds, terry robes in the closets, food in the fridge. I have yet to meet them in person.
They sent a letter and a bonus check as a thank you note for
"exceeding their most optimistic expectations". Definitely maximum leeway on that one!

Right now, I am working with a really nice lady who struggles and balks with every decision. She is blind in one eye and absolutely cannot visualize or extrapolate one single thing and THAT is really tough to overcome. But, like I said, she is nice and I really want to help her achieve her dream home. As her house is being built and she can see, touch,feel the reality she is starting to trust but it will surely be a struggle to the very last day of this project. Nervy absence of leeway on this one!

Kymical Reactions said...

Wow. His creations are unique indeed. It's amazing that people can just have this 'vision' and then the ability to bring it to life. Just remarkable.

Great post!

Jenny said...

I want Fishy's job. The first one, not the one with the blind eye.

Bretthead said...

He looks like Beau Bridges. I heard 'another obsession' and assumed I could find me some donuts here. Shoot.

Pam said...

Very dramatic buildings indeed. Maybe not to my taste, but we have no scenery around here to keep in harmony with! Thanks for stopping by today and keep your flat iron plugged in!

Aunty Belle said...

WHOA! W H O A ...thas' a whole other order of housin'.

Loved the tree house and the space station --the mushroom houses, not so much.

But the man hisself, oh he is dralin'! Besides, he wears a Panama.

Aunty Belle said...

ooops, thas' "darlin'"...tha man hisself is darlin'.

moi said...

Fishy: I know very well, the people whose egos are fragile and tied up in what you create for them. Sounds like you know how to walk that line without losing yourself or your client. Very interesting work!

kmwthay: His imagination boggles mine!

Boxer: Me, too. Only I'd probably insist on total creative control :o).

WTWA: Moi's Donut Den is closed for bathing suit season. Check back in September.

Pamokc: Oh, I could totally see some of these homes on the plains! Anchored.

Aunty: I used to pass by his main residence every day. It always made me smile. I had to contact him once for a book I was working on and was surprised that each time I called, he answered his own phone, was as nice as could be, and was willing to talk at length about his work off the cuff.

fishy said...

I DO indeed love what I do. But of course my secret wish is to be a client of someone like you .... if I ever find the courage I will write those books that froth up in my brain like watching a movie!

Most creative people, who are about purpose not presence, are very down to earth, phone answering, informative, intriguing individuals!

"Total Creative Control" falls into the celestial paygrade.

sparringK9 said...

architecture is an amazing art. it is art that you live in. anything worth doing is worth doing beautifully, and BP has done it well. Im always struck when there are buildings plopped down having no relationship the the land or the existing buildings. its a selfish terrible act and an eyesore. interesting post i had not heard of Prince. im also a big fan of hat wearing.