ABU DHABI TERMINATION (PART 3 OF 3)

THE NEXT SURPRISE WAS WE WERE TO DO THE FINISHED PRESENTATION WITH JZMK OF IRVINE CALIFORNIA. A MIDSIZE OFFICE THAT TDIC WAS DOING DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WITH IN ABU DAHBI .

NATURAL PATTERNS


CHECKING THEIR WEB SITE, SHOWED A DEVELOPMENT OFFICE WITH A BUNCH OF PSEUDO PERIOD FACADES. NOT THE SORT OF FIRM I WOULD ASSOCIATE WITH. I RAISED OPPOSITION , BUT WAS TOLD TO WORK WITH THEM. WE HAD A WORK SESSION IN IRVINE AND I RELATED TO ONE OF THE PARTNERS WHO SAVED MY SITE PATTERN. I WAS PACIFIED.

THE FINAL PUSH WAS IN JZMK OFFICES IN ORANGE COUNTY FOR A TEN DAY PERIOD. THEY HAD ALL THE COMPUTER AND PRINTING STUFF TO DO A BROCHURE. THEIR PLANNING GRAPHIC DEPARTMENT WAS TAPPED FOR SUPPORT. I TOOK THE PLANNER ASIDE AND TOLD HIM I HAD THE BLESSINGS OF LEE TO RUN THIS PROJECT AND EVERYTHING HAD TO RUN THROUGH ME. CHAD CAME DOWN FROM SAN FRANCISCO FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS TO CHECK THINGS OUT. THEY BROUGHT IN A RENDERER ARCHITECT FROM SEA RANCH WHO WAS A DYNAMO OF A WORKER, BUT EVERYTHING TURNED OUT BLAND. I HAD MY MOMENTS WITH HIM, BUT I WAS BUSY FINISHING UP THE DESIGNS , BUILDING ROUGH MODELS, DRAWING SECTIONS AND PLANS.

ONE NIGHT ROBERT VENTURI,S SON JAMES SHOWS UP WITH A PROFESSIONAL FILM CREW TO FILM ME, BECAUSE HE WAS DOING A FILM ON HIS FATHER AND MOTHER. I ASKED HIM, WHY ME? HE SAID I WAS A CULT HERO. I THINK LARGELY BECAUSE OF MY DAUGHTER’S FILM MY FATHER THE GENIUS. JAMES MENTIONED HE HAD JUST COME FROM THOM MAYNE, AND WHEN THOM FOUND OUT HE WAS GOING TO INTERVIEW ME NEXT THOM ASKED, WHY GLEN? GEHRY WAS ANOTHER ARCHITECT HE INTERVIEWED, AND GEHRY TOLD JAMES I DID NOT LIKE HIM. OH WELL , THE CIRCLE IS SMALL AND I DO GET THEIR ATTENTION. RECENTLY I ASKED JAMES IF I HAD ENDED UP ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR, HIS RESPONSE WAS HE WAS NOT SURE, BUT HE LIKED MY VOICE. VENTURI TO ME WAS THE ENEMY. HE PUSHED DECORATED BOXES AND I WAS DEFINITELY DOING BIG DUCKS WITH PLUG ON FEATHERS. I REMEMBER ROBERT VENTURI GIVING A LECTURE AT CRANBROOK AND LAUGHING ABOUT THE OLD FOLKS HOME HE WAS BUILDING AND THE CRASS GOLD ALUMINUM ANODIZED TV ANTENNA HE PICKED. I, THE IDEALISTS, FOUND HIS HUMOR IN BAD TASTE. ROBERT VENTURI DID SEND ME A NICE LETTER THANKING ME FOR COOPERATING WITH THE FILMING. ALL CIVILIZED, WHICH SHOWED CLASS.

CONCEPT PLAN

SITE PLAN (GRAPHICS JZMK)

THE FINAL PROPOSAL WAS A 300 ROOM HOTEL WITH ALL THE APPROPRIATE STUFF, A GOLF CLUB WITH MARKET, DINING, BAR, PRO SHOP CARTS AND EXTENSIVE LOCKER AREA. A YACHT CLUB WITH DOCKS AND 360 HOMES AND SITE PLAN, THE WHOLE PROCESS OF DESIGN TOOK FOUR MONTHS. CHAD DOING PROGRAMMING, SITE PLANNING AND COORDINATION. I PERSONALLY DESIGNING ALL BUILDINGS. WE HAD A RUSH PRESENTATION THAT DID NOT REACH THE STANDARD I EXPECTED WITH JZMK, SO I COMPLAINED. THE DRAWINGS LOOKED LIKE FLINT STONE SKETCHES. ONE OF THE GRAPHIC PEOPLE SAYING HE HAD NEVER WORKED ON ANYTHING LIKE THIS, AND WAS NOT COMFORTABLE WITH ALL THE SHAPES AND DESIGN DIRECTION.

RESIDENCE FLOOR PLAN (GRAPHICS JZMK)

RESIDENCE SECTION (GRAPHICS JZMK)

I WORKED IN ONE OF THE CONFERENCE ROOMS. AND ONE DAY AN ATTRACTIVE WOMAN THAT WORKED IN THE OFFICE SHOWS UP WITH ABOUT EIGHT PEOPLE. I ASKED HER IF THESE WERE HER STUDENTS, OH NO SHE SAID, THIS IS MY FAMILY AND I WANTED TO SHOW THEM THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS YOU ARE DOING.

HOTEL (YACHT CLUB UPPER LEFT, GOLF CLUB UPPER RIGHT) — GLEN HOWARD SMALL RENDERING

HOTEL ENTRY LEVEL FLOOR PLAN (GRAPHICS JZMK)

HOTEL, HANGING OUT IN THE CORAL REEF POOL — GLEN HOWARD SMALL RENDERING

THE DESIGN CAME OUT EXCEPTIONALLY WELL, AND I NEVER HEARD ONE DEROGATIVE COMMENT BY ANYONE. QUITE THE CONTRARY. NOTHING BUT PRAISE FOR THE SENSUOUS DESIGNS. CHAD HAD MENTIONED EARLY ON THAT “ I WAS THE FRANK GHERY DESIGNER, LEE HAD BROUGHT IN, BUT THE RESORT COULD BE DESIGNED AS SIMPLE WELL DETAILED BOXES.” CHAD BLEW UP IN ABU DAHBI ONE NIGHT WHEN I REMINDED HIM OF HIS EARLIER COMMENTS AND STORMED OFF, WITHOUT DISCUSSING HIS ANGER.

STUART HAD MENTIONED UPON COMPLETION OF THE PRELIMINARY DESIGN THAT I AND CHAD WOULD PRESENT THE SCHEME TO THE SHEIK. CHAD HAD MENTIONED THAT WE WOULD BE GOING TO ABU DAHBI TO PRESENT THE SCHEME. WELL THAT DID NOT HAPPEN, AND AT THE VERY LAST MOMENT OF COMPLETING THE PRESENTATION I LEARNED INDIRECTLY THAT CHAD WAS GOING TO ABU DAHBI FOR 3 MONTHS. LOOKING BACK AND REFLECTING, I HAD BEEN TERMINATED BEFORE THE FINISHING THE PRELIMINARY. I STILL REMEMBER CHAD ASKING ME IF I HAD OTHER WORK TO STAY BUSY.

CHAD E MAILED ME FROM ABU DAHBI THAT HE HEARD THE PRESENTATION WENT WELL ON THE PROJECT, BUT THAT HE HAD NOT BEEN IN THE MEETING. I HAD NEVER HAD THIS HAPPEN BEFORE WHERE I WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TOTAL DESIGN AND NOT ASKED TO PRESENT IN PERSON. I WAS TOLD INITIALLY BY LEE THAT IF THE DESIGN WENT WELL, THERE WERE A LOT MORE PROJECTS.

I CONTINUED TO WORK ON THE PERSPECTIVES ON MY OWN, AND SENT CHAD A COUPLE. HIS RESPONSE WAS THESE ARE GREAT, BUT WHY DO THIS? OR SOMETHING TO THAT AFFECT.

THE PROJECT SITE WAS CHANGED, BECAUSE OF A PALACE BEING TOO CLOSE AND THE AIRFIELD PROXIMITY . STUART SAID THE SITE WOULD BE CHANGED AND ALSO THE DESIGN DIRECTION .

YACHT CLUB — GLEN HOWARD SMALL RENDERING

YACHT CLUB FLOOR PLAN (GRAPHICS JZMK)

YACHT CLUB DOCKING — GLEN HOWARD SMALL RENDERING

LEE SENT AN E MAIL STATING I HAD INSULTED HIS TEAM AND CONSULTANTS AND THAT I HAD USED HIS NAME TO CONTROL THE PROJECT. THAT WAS IT, HE NEVER ASKED FOR MY MY SIDE OF THE STORY. HE MADE NO MENTION OF THE DESIGN.

I KNOW MY CAPACITY TO INSULT PEOPLE, AND MY CONDUCT WAS VERY MILD BY MY STANDARDS. ANY PROJECT OF INTEGRITY REQUIRES DIRECT COMMENTS TO PULL IT OFF. BY NOW YOU SHOULD KNOW I AM A FUNNY GUY AND CAN JOKE AROUND AND I DID NOT FIND ANYONE CONNECTED TO THE PROJECT THAT I DID NOT LIKE.

I COUNTERED WITH, I DID MY JOB, THE DESIGN WAS GREAT, I WILL BE CAREFUL NEXT TIME WITH THE TEAM AND CONSULTANTS. NEVER A WORD BACK. SILENCE TO ME IS WARFARE. I AM REMINDED OF A LOT OF SILENT TREATMENT I HAVE ENDURED. IT IS SUCH A WEAK TACTIC AFTER A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP, AT LEAST HEAR A PERSON OUT. ARCHITECTS IN GENERAL ARE NOT PREPARED FOR COMBATIVE DISCUSSIONS. THEY WILL NOT DEBATE, THEY JUST RUN AWAY.

I SURMISE THAT I DID NOT PLAY THE CORPORATE GAME RIGHT . THERE IS A CORPORATE UNIFORM DRESS, CHI CHAT OF GOLF , WINE, COFFEE, CIGARS AND SOME ADVENTURE SPORT ..
NO DIRECT CONFRONTATION. PRAISE AND MANEUVER CAREFULLY. RESPECT THE BOSS. STAY AWAY FROM THE NEGATIVE.

I ASKED TO BE GIVEN THE SAME PLAYING FIELD AS GHERY ETC. WITH MY OWN CONSULTANTS AND STAFF , NO RESPONSE.

LEE, IN MY MIND, WAS STILL MY STUDENT. HE HEADS UP A BUILDING PROGRAM OF 28 BILLION, BUT TO ME HE IS MAKING HUGE MISTAKES AND NEEDS HELP. HE THINKS HE IS JUST FINE AND DOING WELL. MY QUESTIONS TO HIM WERE ASKED TO KNOW HIM BETTER , HE THOUGHT THEY WERE ABUSIVE TO HIM. I NEVER GOT THAT RELAXED LET IT ALL HANG OUT CONVERSATION, THAT COMES WITH FRIENDS.

REFLECTING ON WHAT HAPPENED I FEEL THAT MY MIND WAS NOT IN CHECK WITH REALITY. HERE YOU HAVE A FIFTY YEAR PUS EX STUDENT THAT IS CEO OF TDIC THAT CONTROLS 28,000 BILLION DOLLARS OF CONSTRUCTION, HIRING ALL THE BIG NAMES IN ARCHITECTURE. GETTING 200 IMPORTANT E -MAILS A DAY, TRAVELING THE WORLD AND CONNECTING WITH ARCHITECTS, HEADS OF STATE, AND ALL SKILLED PROFESSIONALS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO HIS DEVELOPMENTS.

I CALLED HIM GOD, APPROPRIATE. HE IS IN A UNIQUE POSITION IN HISTORY WITH RESOURCES TO BUILD IDEAL SOLUTIONS. THIS WE AGREED UPON.

OBVIOUSLY WHAT WE DID NOT AGREE ON WAS FOR ME TO ADVISE HIM ON HOW TO DO SO. HE SAID HE HAD DONE QUITE WELL WITHOUT MY ADVISE.

LOOKING AT THE PSEUDO FACADES AND PROSAIC PLANNING HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR, IN MY NAIVE WAY, I THOUGHT I COULD BE BROUGHT ON TO PROPERLY DIRECT HIM. HE HAD NOT SOUGHT ME OUT INITIALLY AND WAS CHARGING ON HIS OWN. HE WAS A HAPPY CAMPER.

HIS COMPANY IN A COUPLE OF YEARS HAD GONE FROM 30 PEOPLE TO OVER 130 PEOPLE AND GROWING.THE PEOPLE I CHOOSE TO CRITICIZE WERE ASSISTING HIM. I CRITICIZED NOT FOR WHAT THEY HAD DONE FOR HIM, BUT FOR WHAT THEY HAD DONE FOR ME. I DEMAND A HIGHER STANDARD AND CONTROL.

MY DIRECTNESS OF BEING CRITICAL IN HIS INSIDE CIRCLE, HE COULD NOT DEAL WITH. THERE WAS A REASON THAT MOST OF HIS WORK THAT NEEDED TO MAKE A PROFIT WAS QUESTIONABLE. HE HAD PUT TOGETHER A BUNCH OF REALISTIC DEVELOPER TYPES, AND THEY WERE NOT EQUIPPED TO SELL ECO AVANT GARD DESIGN FOR HOUSES AND HOTELS. THEY GOT TO LEE AND HE PULLED BACK. THE NEW LARGE SCALE VILLAS I SAW IN ABU DAHBI, WERE JUST BIG AND PRETENTIOUS. I WAS PUTTING THE ARAB RESIDENTIAL INTO FERRARIS, MOULDED SHAPES. WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT IT WAS TOO MUCH CHANGE TO PULL OFF, AND THE SET WAYS OF HOUSING CONFLICTED WITH MY SHAPES AND CONCERNS. ALTHOUGH I DID ALL THE FUNCTIONAL STUFF IN THE FLOOR PLANS TO REFLECT THE ARAB FAMILY LIVING NEEDS. I AM A THEME DESIGNER THAT ONCE THE THEME HAS BEEN SELECTED ALL THE PARTS BUILD ON THE THEME. YOU DO NOT DO STANDARD HOUSING WITH THE THEME I PUT IN MOTION. THE WHOLE PROJECT WAS A SYMPHONY OF ECO ARCHITECTURE AND SITE SPECIFIC BEAUTIFUL FORMS.

GOLF CLUB — PLAYING IN THE SAND DUNES — GLEN HOWARD SMALL RENDERING

GOLF CLUB FLOOR PLAN (GRAPHICS JZMK)

GOLF CLUB — HAPPY HOUR — GLEN HOWARD SMALL RENDERING

THE MONEY WAS GOOD, BUT DID NOT REFLECT DESIGNING A GOLF CLUB, YACHT CLUB, 300 ROOM HOTEL, 4 MODEL HOMES FOR 360 HOMES, AND WORKING CLOSELY ON THE SITE PLAN WITH ALL THE CONSULTANTS AND OVERSEEING THE PRESENTATION. RAY KAPPE THOUGHT I ALLOWED MYSELF TO BE RUN OVER FINANCIALLY. I WAS NOT COMPENSATED FOR SPEED AND TALENT . I WAS IN A FINANCIAL BIND WITH DEBT TO FRIENDS AND BANKS. SO WHEN TERMINATION CAME MY WHOLE FINANCIAL WORLD COLLAPSED.

THE ETHICS OF SERVING A GOVERNMENT OF QUESTIONABLE STANDARDS WAS NEVER AN ISSUE WITH ME. I WAS DESIGNING AN ECO RESORT, HOPEFULLY TO IMPROVE HOW THEY BUILD IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD. I FLIRT WITH THE IDEA OF A BENEVOLENT DICTATOR AS A FORM OF GOVERNMENT. WHAT LITTLE I DID OBSERVED, SHOWED NO SIGNS OF BRUTALITY, I REALLY SHOULD HAVE DONE MORE RESEARCH. BUT WAS TERMINATED BEFORE I STARTED TO GET INVOLVED.

WHAT BOTHERS ME IS ALL THE BUILT AND PROPOSED PROJECTS I SAW IN ABU DAHBI WERE FOR THE RICH. ONE HAS TO USE ROLLER SKATES TO TRANSVERSE THE SHINY POLISHED FLOORS. I AM CONVINCED THAT PEOPLE OF MODERATE MEANS CAN LIVE IN ARTISTIC ARCHITECTURE TO ENRICH THEIR LIVES. EDUCATION THAT EMBRACES THE VALUES OF HUMANS IN A POSITIVE MANNER IS THE ANSWER, AND THAT CAN BE DONE IN A MODEST SENSITIVE WAY THAT CELEBRATES THE MIND, NATURE AND THE SIMPLE JOYS OF BEING ALIVE. I LIKE THE STREET SCENE WHERE ALL CLASSES MINGLE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOT LOSE TOUCH WITH HUMANITY.

I THOUGHT THAT I HAD FINALLY FOUND SOMEONE THAT COULD SUPPORT MY IDEAS AND THAT WE WERE DESTINE TO DO GREAT THINGS. LEE HAD MENTIONED THAT THE FUTURE WOULD BRING THE IDEAS OF THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. TO HAVE THIS SUDDENLY STOPPED WHEN I THOUGH MY DESIGNS WERE APPRECIATED WAS A REAL SHOCKER. I STILL HAVE NOT RECOVERED.

LEE CHECKED IN RECENTLY WHEN I SENT HIM AN E MAIL ON AIR CONDITIONING WITH A FAN IN A PIPE SEVEN FEET BELOW THE EARTHS SURFACE FOR A RESIDENCE IN THE HOT VALLEY NEAR FRESNO CALIFORNIA, BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION BY ARCHITECT CRAIG HENRIZY (THE LEEDS ARCHITECTURAL CONSULTANT AT THE ACADEMY OF ART). THE CONSTANT TEMPERATURE IS BETWEEN 45 AND 55 DEGREES F THROUGH OUT THE WORLD, A FACT THAT I HAD USED BY FREEZING GROUND FOR THE FOUNDATION SUPPORT ON THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. LEE MENTIONED HE WAS BUSY AND DOING NEW PROJECTS. CHAD AND LEE BOTH CONGRATULATED ME ON BEING BACK TO TEACHING. I RESPONDED TO HIM BY PUTTING TOGETHER SOME CONSULTANTS TO DEVELOP THE PIPE IDEA FOR A REALISTIC PROJECT THAT LEE MIGHT HAVE IN MIND. LEE BACKED OFF AND WENT SILENT. MY TAKE IS HE WANTS TO BE FRIENDS , BUT MY DAYS OF WORKING FOR HIM ARE OVER.

WHAT A SAD CONSEQUENCE  FOR THE GOOD OF HUMANITY.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIENDS — I THOUGHT THEY'D NEVER END

GLEN

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32 comments

    • CHRIS,

      THANKS FOR THE KIND WORDS.

      WHY DID YOU ASK WHAT I THOUGHT OF KILGORE TROUT?

      I AM CURIOUS TO GET YOUR TAKE ON THAT.

      TO BE HONEST, I HAD TO LOOK UP KILGORE TROUT. MAYBE I WILL VENTURE FORTH TO READ SOMETHING. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST?

      WISHING YOU THE BEST,

      GLEN

  1. I feel…just deep down…look the guy who recomended me to your site was aware of my school blog, of which all critical points have been deleted…but I started some shit at UPENN (’07), made very Glen Small comments about acadmia, and well…what’s left on the web is politically corrected and deleted. this is why i dig your blog (fuckin’ archinect censhorship, also why I love Orhan, he’s honest)
    you have balls!
    most architects loose them first commision.

    this profession is full of Beta Males/Females and lord knows they can’t take critisism. my exitence is decidcated to recreating this profession which has gone to the shitter in this country 50 years ago (read first paragraph that sums this all up qouting Peter Glucks paragraph 2 in recent Yales Constructrs publication)…developers!!!

    anyway…

    Kilogore Trout is the alter Ego among other things to Kurt Vonnegut. I see, feel, similarities…you have to be American to qualify for this postiion and not from some loaded family like Philip Johnson. look Kilgore Trout…the underdog is American, and you can’t go around like some Canadian in LA like making friends to qualify….(love your honest commentary about the truth of our superstars)

    do any developers read this blog? if so, take note you are throwing away good money towards a hoax, often clad in the facade of art and intellectualism,etc…I know you guys want to feel special beyond the millions you are worth..Lee, i feel you feel you read a fortune cookie which just told you bailed on doing anything meaningful and you will now fade in the wake of progess just moving….

    Glenn you just absorbed all the written abuse Lebbeus Woods takes from me on weekends, because I drink and enjoy life with my family…and rant about this bull shit stage Architecture has assumed…

    what like Venturi’s kid got the hint after Kahns…

    a L. Woods G. Small project would entertain the shit out of me. If I win the lottery which I played tonight i’d hire you guys. my wife feels when down and out, blow a dollar on lottery.

    i used to blow hundred’s on penny stocks, because hundred’s is a night of drinking in Manhattan…

    thanks for absorbing the drunkin’ commentary…i love the internet because the true hero’s can be discovered.

    • CHRIS TEETER,

      RANTING AND RAVING IS SO MUCH FUN, I TOTALLY RELATE.

      THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE, OR BROKE, OR RICH, OR REJECTED, OR HAPPY, OR SAD, OR OLD, OR YOUNG, OR TIRED, OR ENERGIZED, HUMBLE, OR PROUD ETC.

      HERE IS TO THE INTERNET. I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS POSSIBLE, THERE MUST BE A GLITCH TO IT.

      FREEDOM OF SPEECH. DID THEY REALLY BELIEVE THIS AND STILL HAVE SLAVES?

      IT ALL STARTED FOR ME WHEN I HAD THIS PILE OF FILES THAT WAS CALLED A BOOK, THAT I HAD BEEN WORKING ON FOR TWENTY YEARS AND HAD NO WHERE TO GO OTHER THAN TO FRIGHTNED PUBLISHERS AND A DISTANT RECOGNITION AS THE FOUNDING REBEL FACULTY AT SCI-ARC FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS. ALL CLOUDED AND A LONG TIME AGO. OH YES YOU CAN PUBLISH YOUR OWN BOOK ON LINE.

      THERE ARE PLUS OR MINUS 2,000 PAGE HITS A DAY ON smallatlarge.com AND BUILDING. THAT IS WORLD FREEDOM.

      I HAVE TO KEEP MYSELF IN CHECK. JUST THE HONEST STORY, IT IS SCARY ENOUGH WITHOUT ANY ELABORATION.

      STAY CLOSE,

      GLEN

      • than you for listening, ranting on the internet can be like ranting at a wall.
        2000 hits, nice. the internet really screws up agendas for people who once had power to control the disinformation of theory. you summed up truth in a nutshell, or the discovery thereof, hence most peoples avoidance. – peace

        • THANKS FOR RESPONDING CHRIS,

          I THOUGHT THE ABU DHABI EXPERIENCE WOULD BRING A LOT OF COMMENTS, SUCH A CURRENT HOT TOPIC. EXCEPT FOR YOU, SILENCE. DOES EVERYBODY WANT A JOB THERE?

          KEEP RELATING,

          GLEN

          • Glen:
            What a story. I must say my first response was surprise at what I detected was akind of naivete on your part. Investment cash for development projects in Dubai have always been really suspect. Have you seen the movie Boiler Room? You should. I’m sure this is presumptious of me but I think the collapse of your project was not really just the result of a comprised personal relationship. Maybe as funding got more difficult to disburse, the need for more predictable design solutions grew. Investors don’t take too many risks when returns become uncertain. I worked for four months on a large residential project in Dubai and after our clients fell over $100K behind in paying invoices, they simply stopped answering the phone. I was laid off a few weeks later. In any event, your work is gloriously complex and simple all at once. It seems you intuitively crank out buildings that gather the landscape and respond to climate, etc. Don’t most offices today require massive computer processsing speeds to ‘study’ these kinds of responses? Keep up the good work and stay away from financial bubbles. Good Luck.

          • THANKS KNOKKO,

            WHEN YOU SAY GLORIOUS, I SHIVER. THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT APPLAUSE THAT BRINGS JOY.

            ABU DHABI IS NOT DUBAI. ABU DHABI LENT MONEY TO DUBAI TO GET DUBAI OUT OF THEIR FINANCIAL JAM.

            AS LEE MENTIONED THEY HAVE MORE NEW JOBS AND ARE MOVING AHEAD. THEY HAVE GOT TONS OF MONEY. THEY HAVE REAL OIL WELLS. WHEREAS DUBAI WAS WHEELING AND DEALING FINANCE.

            WHAT YOU SURMISED AS FAINT HEARTED DEVELOPMENT TYPES IS MORE TO THE POINT.

            THERE MUST BE INSIGHTFUL DEVELOPERS THAT READ THIS BLOG, OR AM I JUST HOPEFUL. I WAS TOLD WHEN YOU ARE HOPEFUL YOU ARE IN REAL TROUBLE.

            I AM A YOUNG MAN, AS ZORBA THE GREEK SAID. ” I HAVE ENOUGH FIGHT IN ME TO DEVOUR THE WORLD. ” WELL IN MY CASE THAT EQUATES TO LEAVING THE WORLD A VISION OF WHAT COULD BE IN ARCHITECTURAL URBAN PLANNING, AND BUILDING A FEW EXAMPLES OF THAT BEFORE I AM GONE.

            WISHING YOU THE BEST.

            GLEN

  2. Thanks Glen, for a wonderful narration of your experience designing for Abu Dhabi developers. Unfortunately for us, as it appears the world has lost the opportunity to experience your incredible meld of context and form in the Gulf, decision-making is very much influenced by personality as much as it is by merit.

    Of course, people want to work with those whose company they enjoy (or values they respect). I suspect this conflict between you and the developers would have surfaced sooner or later given the apparently fundamental differences you describe. But there also seem to be examples of leaders (e.g. Nelson Mandela? though there are undoubtedly many more prosaic examples in everyday life) who are able to command the respect of those they fundamentally disagree with.

    Since we don’t have the luxury of reading Lee’s point of view, I wonder if you would reflect on what you could have done differently, without compromising your principles, that might have changed the course of events?

    Many thanks,
    Ankur

    • DEAR ANKUR,

      THANKS FOR YOUR WISE COMMENTS. WHAT YOU SAID IS ALL TRUE, BUT THE REALITY IS MY PERSONALITY IS MY SPIRIT. IT IS REALLY WHAT IS THE DRIVING FORCE TO BEING HONEST.

      I WOULD LIKE LEE TABLER TO EXPRESS HIS VIEWS AND THAT WE WOULD HAVE A DIALOGUE, BUT HE IS SILENT. IS THAT CORRECT? MANDELA SPENT YEARS IN PRISON FOR HIS POINT OF VIEW AND FORGAVE, BUT STILL HOLDS HIS CONVICTIONS.

      I AM NOT THAT SAINTLY, BUT I DO BELIEVE IN DOING THE BEST ARCHITECTURE POSSIBLE. IS THAT A CRIME? I WELCOME A REPLY.

      WISHING YOU THE BEST,

      GLEN

  3. In the advertising industry, “creatives” are kept caged up by the agencies, and only let out to meet clients on a short leash. Most of the client interaction is done by the account executives, who have the job of representing the firm’s creative work in a way that is palatable to the captains of industry.

    I suspect this is also a factor in architectural firms: some people specialize in managing the client relationship. Perhaps Glen needs a handler, who can represent his work without ruffling feathers? Ideally some of the “agents” he was working with in Abu Dhabi would have provided this service: instead they seemed to be the ones having the immune reaction.

    • TIM,

      THANKS FOR THE REPLY. THE PROBLEM IS THAT I DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN ABU DAHBI TO REALLY MAKE AN INSIGHTFUL JUDGEMENT. I HAVE A FERTILE IMAGINATION, THAT QUITE OFTEN IS INCORRECT. SO I WILL LEAVE IT WITH THE COMMENTS I HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN.

      THE ONLY PERSON THAT COULD SET IT ALL STRAIGHT IS LEE TABLER, BUT HE HAS CHOOSEN NOT TO HAVE A MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE WITH ME AND HAS GONE SILENT.

      I CONSIDER LEE A FRIEND THAT HAS CHOOSEN TO NOT COMMUNICATE. HE COULD CALL TODAY AND PATCH THINGS UP. HIS MOVE.

      KEEP CLOSE,

      GLEN

      • Knokko again,
        Im sorry I gave the impression that I conflated Abu Dhabi with Dubai…. I am well aware of the distinction between the two and I guess my post exposed my dutiful assimilation to this beautiful but ill-informed country (USA). In any event, I just spent the summer working in West Africa (my home–been back for only a week). Your work–your efforts to ingratiate the land and climate to the architecture was very moving to me. I must admit I find the resultant forms of your explorations sort of dated (I was a bitter and pompous Art History major before I studied architecture in graduate school). But they carry within them such a sensitive analysis of site…an analysis which appears to be intuitive and earnest. Are you still teaching? Are you sharing your thinking with those who want to bring natural and daring responses to difficult site conditions? Your work seems to be a natural precursor to the tortured efforts of Thom Mayne. Have you debated him about your approach verses where he is going? I hope I am not asking stupid questions…..Another architect that has always puzzled and amazed me is Carme Pinos…It seems you were thinking along the lines of ground and architecture long before she and her deceased ex-husband Miralles came around. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who is intrigued by your work judging by the growing responses to your blog.
        Anyway, It looks like I’m going to have a career that is off the grid and not by choice. I am going to try to work back home in Africa on a permanent basis…..Looking forward to communicating with you from the “dark” continent sometime soon…where we always look to the ground and the sky to determine how we build…

        • KNOKKO,

          THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS. I WOULD WELCOME A DEBATE WITH THOM MAYNE, BUT HE HAS NOT ASKED TO DO SO. MAYBE I SHOULD VENTURE FOWARD TO ASK HIM. HE SENT ME A COUPLE OF E MAILS A FEW MONTHS AGO THAT I MIGHT EXPOSE. WE GO BACK A LONG TIME AND HAVE A HISTORY TOGETHER AT SCI-ARC AND CAL POLY POMONA. I WROTE A PIECE ON HIS COURT HOUSE IN THE EUGENE REGISTER GUARD JAN 2007 , PROBABLY THE ARTICLE WAS THE BEST THING I HAVE WRITTEN, FUNNY AND WISE, A GOOD COMBINATION. I MIGHT BRING IT TO YOUR ATTENTION IN THE FUTURE. ARCHINET PUBLISHED IT AS WELL.

          I AM TEACHING AT THE ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY IN SAN FRANCISCO, ALBERTO BERTOLI IS THE DIRECTOR. THE SAME AGE, SIMILAR CONCERNS, WE TAUGHT AT SCI-ARC AND INTERACTED TOGETHER IN THE 80 IES

          I HAVE CONNECTIONS IN NIGERIA. WHAT COUNTRY ARE YOU LIVING IN ?

          CHECK MY OTHER BLOGS AT THE BEGINNING TO CATCH UP ON WHAT I AM DOING.

          THANKS FOR YOUR POSITIVE COMMENTS AND INSIGHTFUL CONCERNS.

          KEEP IN TOUCH

          GLEN

  4. Amazing stuff Glen. I love your renderings of the project….so evocative. Also what a great story. It is interesting to think of what makes a client receptive to such ideas as opposed to one who is not.

    Can you provide more information on the house near Fresno that uses geothermal cooling with a pipe 7′ under and a fan? I’ve been thinking of doing the same with my house- I live near Fresno.

    Thanks,
    Enoch

    • THANKS ENOCH FOR YOUR COMMENTS,

      THE PERSON TO CONTACT ON THE HOUSE IN FRESNO IS ARCHITECT CRAIG HENRIZY, LOCATED IN BERKELEY CALIFORNIA. HE IS PROBABLY ON THE INTERNET. IF THAT DOES NOT WORK, GET BACK TO ME AND I WILL HAVE HIM CONTACT YOU.

      GLEN

  5. Thanks for the great story & beautiful honesty. I had a feeling from the beginning this story was not going to end well. Or did it?

    Dubai sounds like a candy store, and the developers are kids who just got handed $50 from Grandma. No matter how hard they try, Mom and Dad are not going to convince them to buy an apple, even if it is good for them. Its not about candy vs. apple, but the feeling of control.

    • THANKS NICK FOR YOUR INSIGHT. I AM NOT SURE WHAT DRIVES THEIR DECISIONS IN THIS REGION. I KNOW THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE OIL IS GONE.

      GLEN

  6. Hey Glen,

    It was predictable to see where this was going but an enjoyable read all the less.
    I too would be frustrated with JZMK if those were the renders I had to work with, I can pull out something far better in minutes, and I am not even really good at renders.
    As far as the pipe below the ground what that influenced by Baruch Givoni? I did some translating for him and it seems to me he was working on similar research years ago.
    I also enjoyed getting a look at some of your renders, they bring a little more body image to the project. I would enjoy seeing some interior renders if you have them to see what you explained to me about the interior sensations.
    If you have 2,000 hits a day you may want to consider advertising. Just in case some developer doesn’t show up.
    Have a good night,
    Dustin

    • DUSTIN THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS.

      I FEEL GUILTY THAT I HAVE NOT REWORKED THE PLANS TO GRAPHICALLY LOOK RIGHT,

      MY ROUGH PLANS I HANDED JZMK LOOKED BETTER THAN THESE, BUT I HAVE MISPLACED THEM WITH ALL MY MOVING.

      THE INTERIOR SKETCHES I DID ARE MISPLACED AS WELL. I NEED TO DO A SERIES OF INTERIOR RENDERINGS, BUT SINCE THERE IS NO PROJECT AND NO MONEY, IT IS JUST AN EXERCISE FOR MY EGO.

      THE PROJECT NEEDS THE ADDITIONAL RENDERINGS TO BE CONVINCING, BUT I ASSURE YOU THE INTERIORS ARE GREAT.

      I LOOK FOWARD TO YOUR COMMENTS IN THE FUTURE,

      GLEN

  7. Glen,

    Found your blog by happenstance. The Abu Dhabi trilogy intrigued me to say the least. Having worked on a research hospital and nurse housing project as part of a JV in Abu Dhabi, I can understand where you would feel put out by the sudden wall of silence. We were made aware by our JV partner (who had worked on multiple project in Dubai and Abu Dhabit and UAE) that the nature of the game there is very much predicated on wheeling and dealing. The political intricacies of having a client that is a developer, who usually would be its’ own client, and is in effect a front for the real client (the sheik or government), and using outside architects and engineers as professional idea servants is nothing more than that.

    I would like to think that the long term relevance of Dubai or Abu Dhabi as incubators of long lasting architecture and architectural ideas, but all I have seen is grandiose buildings as objects built to satisfy the ego of the financier. Will these buildings be celebrated in 50 or 100 years? Hard to say. The other issue, that you brought up and were remanded for, is housing for workers in the UAE countries. The third-class situation that exists and the stratification of classes and where 90% of the country’s population is foreign workers. Where even a professional, such as yourself, are feted, to a certain degree but are not intended to be one of the “occupants” of these steel sand castles. It will be interesting to see how these monuments will hold up over time as the desert and nature constantly reclaim the “green” that is carved from the desert.

    I look at the amazing work that was done Beijing for the Olympics and already the Bird’s Nest is starting to fall into disrepair with peeling paint and the government looking for anyway to get people to at least go there. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/15/world/la-fg-china-birds-nest15-2010feb15

    Be that as it may…I’d like to add my words of appreciation for your blog which contains a lot of insight, forth-rightness and blunt truth to what it means to be an architect and practice it. While I’ve only been practicing for 14 years and am in the process of going it along to do my own practice, I want to say that you’re very much an inspiration for those of us who haven’t necessarily followed the predictable or expected path.

    Cheers.

  8. Glen small is an organic architectural revolution

    if you dont belive me check out the acustical shell tha greets everyone that flies into
    managua Nicaragua

    Roger lewites 19 0ct 2010

    • Tabler’s departure was predicted way before he actually left……….the company was at a pivotal point where it required the CEO to be able to re-invent himself, Lee is not the type that can re-invent himself. Sad ending for the author…..very TRUE….however there are many more casualties lying in Lee’s wake……

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