Thursday, July 30, 2009
An Amazing Life
For my bedtime reading lately, I've been reading On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change, a collection of essays on architecture that my dad gave to me a while back. I've always had an interest in architecture - I even wanted to be an architect when I was a kid. I like to look at random buildings and imagine what it would be like to repurpose them, usually as houses. What if you converted that strip mall to apartments? Or that office building? These essays, by Ada Louise Huxtable, are mostly reviews of buildings (such as museums & corporate headquarters). I wish there were more pictures to go with what she's describing, but it's still fascinating to read critiques of structures. One of the architects who comes up frequently is Mies van der Rohe, who is basically the guy who came up with what we consider now to be the default corporate skyscraper - a giant glass-covered rectangular prism. One of the articles happened to mention that he lived from 1886 until 1969. What an incredible time to live - can you imagine if your living memory covered from a time before cars & planes and only a rudimentary electrical infrastructure, up to the development of computers and the landing on the moon? (Not to mention all the world-changing global conflicts in that span) We study all those things in history and know the dates, but it's still pretty incredible to think that they all really did happen in close enough sequence for someone to have lived through them all.