BJARKE INGELS ON SMALLATLARGE

TURF TOWN 1983 GLEN HOWARD SMALL, ARCHITECT ASSISTED BY SCI-ARC STUDENTS

GLEN HOWARD SMALL ARCHITECT, LET THE SHOW BEGIN. JAN MARDIAN PHOTO

I THINK ORHAN FIRST PUT ME ONTO BJARKE INGELS WHEN INGLES BUILT A TURF TOWN PROJECT OVER A PARKING GARAGE AND INDICATED IT WAS HIS ORIGINAL IDEA.

BJARKE INGELS

BJARKE INGELS

INGLES IS A SHARP GUY. FOR BEING 37 HE HAS PACKED A TON OF ARCHITECTURE TOGETHER. THE TONY ROBBINS MOTIVATOR OF ARCHITECTURE. MR. POSITIVE WITH HIS CHEER FOR YES.

YES, BEING MY FAVORITE WORD TOO.

BJARKE INGELS

HE WALKS ON STAGE LIKE STEVE JOBS AND DRAMATIZES THE LECTURE.

LAUGHTER AND STAGE APPEARANCE IS A POWERFUL TOOL. I HAVE EXPERIENCED THAT AND THRIVED ON IT.

INGELS IS THE MASTER PERFORMER. HE DOES NOT REALLY CARE ABOUT CONVINCING OTHER ARCHITECTS TO FOLLOW, IN FACT HE HAS DISTANCED HIMSELF FROM THE CORRECT VERBIAGE OF THE PROFESSION. HE WANTED TO BE A COMIC BOOK ARTIST AND STILL DOES.

BJARKE INGELS

THE HIP NEW COMPUTER WORLD ARCHITECT OF THE YOUTH. LIKE ARCHIGRAM OF THE PAST, BUT WITH CLIENTS AND REBELLING AGAINST NOTHING. HE IS WELL GROUNDED TO KNOW WHERE THE NEXT COMMISSION COMES FROM. HE LETS THE IMAGES AND RATIONALITY BE THE CARROT.

BJARKE INGELS

TIMING IS EVERYTHING. I CAN REMEMBER AS A YOUNG MAN, AN ARCHITECT (NAME SLIPS MY MIND) THAT TOOK SECOND PLACE IN A NUMBER OF URBAN SCALE COMPETITIONS WHERE HUGE BUILDINGS CAME SWOOPING OUT OF THE LANDSCAPE. NOT SO DISSIMILAR TO INGELS AND A LOT MORE SENSUOUS. THAT WAS IN THE LATE FIFTIES AND EARLY SIXTIES.. NEVER GOT THEM BUILT. NOW INGELS SIXTY YEARS LATER IS DOING SOMETHING SIMILAR AND GETTING THEM BUILT.

CANDELA, NERVI, SAARINEN, UTSON, GEHRY, ZAHA, CALATRAVA HAVE PUSHED THE SENSUOUS FORM THING BIG TIME FOR THE PRESENT PUBLIC TO ACCEPT. CURVES I DID IN NICARAGUA THAT PEOPLE LOVE. THE SHAPES FLOW, EASY SELL NOW.

ALONG COMES INGELS ,TAPS INTO THIS CURVY FORM THAT HE RELATES TO MOUNTAINS AND GOES AROUND SELLING TO THE DEVELOPERS. WEARING HIP CLEAN TENNIS SHOES, CASUAL T SHIRTS, AND LOOKING LIKE CLARK KENT HELPS. HIS WITTY CHATTER, SCHOOLED BY A YOUNG TEAM OF HIP BRAINS MAKE HIM ALL THE MORE ATTRACTIVE. SEDUCE THEM THROUGH THE MIND. HE HAS IT DOWN TO A FINE ART.

BJARKE INGELS

CONCHA ACUSTICA, MANAGUA, NICARAGUA 2005. GLEN HOWARD SMALL ARCHITECT

INGELS HAS A HUGE EGO, WHICH IS IMPORTANT TO SURVIVE.

VERY QUICK MIND, LIKE A STAND UP IMPROVISATIONAL COMIC. HE HAS THE WORLD ALL FIGURED OUT AND LAUGHS ABOUT IT.

THE TOOLS OF THE COMPUTER AGE ALLOWING FOR VISUAL REALISM TO SEDUCE. THIS IS INGELS’ MOMENT.

HE CAN RATIONALIZE DOING ARCHITECTURE ANYWHERE, AFTER ALL HE BELIEVES HIS ARCHITECTURE WILL INVIGORATE , AND RIGHTFULLY SO.

SOMETHING VERY STRANGE IS MISSING, LIKE A SOUL. LOOK AT HIS SPACES. A CLEAN SWEPT POLISHED WORLD. NOT THE BACK TO NATURE NOR RANDOMNESS THAT COMES FROM BREAK DOWN OF SCALE AND A FEELING OF ALL CLASSES PARTICIPATION. LIKE GOING ON A CRUISE SHIP WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE THE SAME. WHERE ARE THE WORKERS? WHERE ARE THE IMMIGRANTS? WHERE IS THE TRASH? WHERE IS THE DIVERSITY? NO STREET RIOTS HERE, BANKERS THE CLIENTS.

A LAWYER THAT WILL ACCEPT ANY CASE THAT PAYS.

HIS FAVORITE ARCHITECT BEING PHILIP JOHNSON FOR BEING FLEXIBLE AND CHANGING WITH THE TIMES. AS MICHEL SORKIN POINTED OUR WITH A SCATHING ARTICLE UPON HIS DEATH, JOHNSON WAS A NAZI AND FOLLOWER OF HEWEY LONG. JOHNSON ELIMINATED THE SOCIALIST BAUHAUS CONCERNS  WHEN BRINGING THE INTERNATIONAL STYLE TO THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART AND SELLING IT TO THE RICH. AS ERIK MOSS POINTS OUT, CHANGE DOES NOT MEAN IMPROVEMENT.

INGELS SCOFTS ABOUT THE GENIUS REBEL ARCHITECT NOT BEING UNDERSTOOD. IS HE TALKING ABOUT ME? WELL, MY SOUL IS INTACT.

A PICASSO QUOTE, ” BAD ARTISTS COPY, GOOD ARTISTS STEAL”

BESIDES TURF TOWN, WHICH I DID IN 1983 FOR SOLAR ZONING THAT WAS A SYSTEMS APPROACH TO THE URBAN FABRIC AND A LOT MORE FRIENDLY AND SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS WITH THE PUBLIC INTERACTING BY WALKING UP THE GREEN HOUSING SURFACE AND COMMUNITY PARK , WATER CASCADING AND POOLING FOR SUN FOR PURIFYING. THE INTERIORS FOR PUBLIC AND COMMERCIAL USE. INGELS NEEDS TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK. ON CNN HE GIVES HIS COLLEGE CLASS A COMMUNITY ON A BRIDGE., PONTE VECCHIO FLORENCE, HUGH FARRIS NEW YORK, I GAVE MY STUDENTS A COMMUNITY ON THE BRIDGE WITH STUDENTS IN 1965 AT LAWRENCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. I AM WAITING FOR THE NEXT ROBBERY, OR DO OUR MINDS JUST THINK THE SAME? NONE OF THIS BOTHERS ME AND I AM GLAD THAT MY IDEAS ARE NOW HAPPENING. IT IS FLATTERING AND VALIDATES MY DESIGNS . DREAMING IS A BIG THING WITH INGELS THAT I AGREE WITH AND HAVE BEEN PRACTICING AND ESPOUSING MY WHOLE PROFESSIONAL CAREER. SPENT TWO HOURS ON YOUTUBE LISTENING TO THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM SUNG BY GOUET TO ELVIS. LISTEN CLOSELY IT HAS A LOT OF INSIGHT AND INTEGRITY.

HE TALKS ABOUT ALL THE UNBUILT PROJECTS, BUT DOES NOT DWELL ON THEM, AND IS OFF TO THE NEXT NEW PROJECT. PROJECTS BUILDING ON EACH OTHER, SO AFTER A WHILE THE DREAM GETS BURRED WITH THE BUILD. WONDERFUL.

 

1965 COMMUNITY ON A BRIDGE, STUDENT PROJECT, LAWRENCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY GLEN HOWARD SMALL, PROFESSOR PLAY GROUND, ORPHANAGE TIJUANA, MEXICO 1976 GLEN HOWARD SMALL AND AHDE LAHTI PROFESSORS SCI-ARC

INGELS PRANCING AROUND RICH WHILE I AM AT POVERTY LEVEL IS DISCONCERTING.

I CAN JUST HEAR THE PREACHING FROM EVERY SIDE, “WELL GLEN HE IS POSITIVE AND SELLS BY POSITIVE THINKING”. GREAT – THAT IS HIS TRICK, BUT SHOWING THE FLAWS OF MANKIND IS PART OF THE WORLD THAT I CAN NOT IGNORE.

THERE WAS AN INTERVIEW WITH A DEVELOPER CLIENT ON CNN SAYING THAT INGLES IS A GENIUS. AMAZING –  MORE POWER TO HIM. MAYBE THE TRICKLE DOWN WILL HAPPEN WITH HIS ARCHITECTURE.

HE IS DEFINITELY THE DONALD TRUMP SUPER SALESMAN OF ARCHITECTURE. HE IS GETTING THE PUBLIC TO TAKE NOTICE OF POSSIBILITIES AND BUILDING THEM. THE TRICK BEING TO SPIN THAT TO MAKE HIS ARCHITECTURE RELEVANT OTHER THAN FOR THE BICYCLE PROFESSIONAL YUPPIES THAT NEED TO STICK THEIR HEADS IN A SLUM AND GET WITH IT .

ON CNN HE SHOWS A CASTLE PLAY HOUSE IN HIS YOUTH, SO REFINED AND EXPENSIVE IN EVERY WAY. THAT IS WHERE HE COMES FROM AND KEEPS GOING. HE PUSHES THE BOUNDARIES WHICH HELP ME.

SKIING ON THE ROOF OF MY DETROIT STADIUM I DID IN 1965 AND INGELS DID A SKIING ON THE ROOF ON A POWER PLANT IN 2011. I LIKE HIS IDEA OF COMBINING FUNCTIONS.

1965 COMMUNITY ON A BRIDGE, STUDENT PROJECT, LAWRENCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY GLEN HOWARD SMALL, PROFESSOR

BJARKE INGELS

THE CAPPER FOR ME IS THAT INGELS’ OFFICE NAME IS BIG, AND HE TALKS ABOUT THINKING BIG. MY MOTTO AT CRANBROOK IN 1965 WAS “THINK BIG, DO NOT COMPROMISE, AND WORK HARD.”

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42 comments

  1. Glen, Leave the anger and envy at the door. AS I stated before work on the moniker ‘the father of green architecture’

    I can think of Otto, Solari, a few others. Soleri no, Otto, maybe at IL (institute for Lightweight Structures). But these two examples are not green, megastructures yes, but green by byproduct, not thesis.

    BIG ( the architect) is just a name. Like one-hour cleaners that delivers in 3 days.

    SO THINK BIG BECOME BIG MR. GLEN ‘GREEN’ SMALL. BE BIG

    eric

    • ERIC,

      NO ANGER INTENDED, JUST EXPOSING THE OBVIOUS.

      YOU WANTED ME TO COMMENT ON OTHER ARCHITECTS, AND I AM DOING THAT.

      THE BEAT GOES ON, BUT I SEE IN INGLES A MAJOR SHIFT IN PURSUING DREAMS THAT I CAN RELATE TO.

      WHAT IS MISSING IS THE SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS WHICH IS OUTSIDE THE REALM OF ARCHITECTURE, BUT WHICH I FEEL IS VITAL FOR SOCIETY.

      INGELS DEALS WITH GREEN AND INSERTS IT WHEN HE CAN.

      INGELS IS NOT A THREE DAY WONDER, HE IS JUST WARMING UP AND WILL BE A SIGNIFICANT POSITIVE FORCE IN ARCHITECTURE. PROBABLY BUILDING MY LATEST EVOLO ENTRY.

      GLEN HOWARD SMALL, A FOUNDING FATHER OF THE GREEN MOVEMENT IN ARCHITECTURE.

      SORRY TO POP YOUR BUBBLE, BUT THERE WERE OTHER ARCHITECTS THINKING GREEN, LIKE MALCOM WELLS. OF COURSE THE VERTICAL CITY PALED ALL OTHER GREEN EFFORTS IN ARCHITECTURE. SO IT COULD BE SAID I WAS THE FATHER OF URBAN SCALE GREEN ARCHITECTURE. OF COURSE THE NATIVE AMERICANS WOULD HAVE TO BE IGNORED, AND THEY ONLY WERE GREEN FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

  2. Glen, Yep. The father or Green architecture was probably Malcom Wells. his was Earth sheltered , underground, solar architecture. A visionary with his feet firmly planted on and in the earth. Not the most aesthetic stuff to look at. I think the selling point of Wells work was the press description of his ‘gentle ‘architecture’ that was palatable to the masses, that is, he kept it all hidden: underground. About as exciting as a tweed suit.

    • MALCOM WELLS,A LITTLE BLURB OF HIM BEING THE FATHER OF MODERN EARTH ARCHITECTURE IS WHAT YOU GET ON GOOGLE.

      HE CREATED A METRICS THAT SHOWED HOW TO JUDGE THE IMPACT OF A BUILDING ON THE EARTH.
      I USED IT IN MY LECTURES ON THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE TO SHOW HOW OUR CITIES HAD AFFECTED THE ENVIRONMENT. HIS DAUGHTER VISITED HENRIK BULL LAST YEAR, ARCHITECT OF BAY AREA THAT I WORKED FOR IN 1965. I DID NOT PURSUE MEETING HER. HER FATHER PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE AND SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED FOR HIS CONTRIBUTION. FUTURE BLOG.

      A CLASS ACT THAT LIVED THE TALK.

      GREEN IS NOW SO OBVIOUS NOW, BUT IN 1965 WAS JUST HARDLY ON THE SCREEN OF CONCERNS.
      THAT IS WHAT IS OBVIOUS AND INGELS IS PURSUING THE OBVIOUS AS WELL. THAT MAKES HIM UNIQUE. I TOTALLY RELATE TO HIS BROAD APPROACH OF COMBINING FUNCTIONS AND SELLING TO THE PUBLIC. WHAT MAKES HIM POWERFUL IS THAT HE CAN SELL HIS IDEAS TO BE BUILT. NOW THAT IS A GIFT THAT HE IS EXCELLENT AT.

      AS HE BECOMES A HUGE SUPER STAR THE SELLING BECOMES EASIER. MY CONCERN IS WHAT HE DOES WITH THAT GIFT. HOPEFULLY HE WILL BE MORE SELECTIVE OF WHAT HE DOES AND FOR WHOM.
      HE HAS THE SMARTS AND SENSITIVITY TO ENACT A MORAL CODE.
      I AM JUST PROJECTING THE WAY I WANT HIM TO EVOLVE. WHAT COULD HAPPEN IS THAT HE COULD TURN THE TABLES ON DEVELOPMENT AND PROPOSE AND BUILD THE IDEAS RATHER THAN LETTING THE CLIENT DICTATE. THAT HAPPENS WITH ALL SUPER STARS, BUT INGELS HAS A BROADER BASE OF CONCERNS THAT I RELATE TO THAT ARE EVOLVING.

      THE TRICK IS TO GET THE SOCIAL VALUES TO BE IN SYNC AS WELL. WHO KNOWS, THAT COULD HAPPEN. THE NEXT STEP FOR HIS GROUP BRAIN TRUST TO UNDERTAKE. HE IS HINTING AT CATERING TO THAT WITH WHAT HE CALLS HEDONISTIC CONCERNS. BUT THE STUFF HE TALKS ABOUT AS CONCERNS, LIKE RIDING YOUR BIKE ETC., ARE A FAR CRY FROM LOOKING AT THE MEANINGFUL CONCERNS OF SOCIETY.

  3. OK Glen . So maybe your work is a synthesis of several influences.

    Malcolm Wells ‘gentle’ architecture demonstrates an aspect of green architecture ‘ethics’. Don’t mess with Mother Earth would be Wells warning, the gentle non-obtrusive designs, his solutions to preserve nature, rural community. A problem is that I dont see much impact of Wells in a urban setting which is where the need fro green really is. , The Wellsian green ethics is a good start, maybe a good approach to salvage bad existing design, but doesnt confront. So Wells part gives me a clue towards the ethics of green.

    Ralph Knowles analysis of solar orientations and his resultant shapes influences your forms.

    Otto and Fuller the structural principals, especially the tensile.

    Archigram is an inspiration. The collage presentation approach on the Green Machine

    But I still dont see any direct precursor of the bio-forms.

    Dan Graham a few months ago lectured on John Lautner at LACMA. Dan is smart, and friend of John Knight. His take was that Lautner was influence by mostly the hyperbolic concrete shells of Nervi, Candela, Eduardo Catalano. I see some of that in your work too.

    But each small part: the ethics of Wells; the engineering of Otto and Fuller, the organic shapes of Nervi, the graphics of Archigram, etc need synthesis — and a vocabulary.

    This is you a the top of the pyramid with all those ‘influences’ a base to build on. Invert the pyramid, with you on the bottom, and all the later green work on top of your big shoulders.

    later on

    eric

    • ERIK,

      VERY INSIGHTFUL, I TALK ABOUT ALL THE INFLUENCES YOU MENTION AND OTHERS AS WELL, WE ARE A COMBINATION OF ALL THAT AND MORE. I WAS WALKING INTO THE LIVING ROOM YESTERDAY, AND THERE WAS A PLASTIC BAG CRUMPLED UP IN A WAY THAT LOOKED LIKE A CRYSTAL RISING FROM THE TABLE,LIKE SOME MAGICAL HIGH RISE.

      READING A BOOK ON PLANTS NOW THAT WILL DEFINITELY SET MY MIND OFF WITH AN ARCHITECTURAL SLANT.

      GLEN

      • Plants? which book?

        One of My favorite biology books for inspiration is an old one PROTOZOOLGY by prof Kudo, lots of illustrations

        I have one on Plant morphology also, Seedlings are part of my primitave forms vocabulary

          • Well,

            first impressions on the architectural uses of palnts

            Plant physiology is adaptable to larger scale environments. The analogies to green architecture are compelling

            Plants use the sun for energy : photosynthesis . Photovoltaic in green structures

            Plants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide at night , passively from underneath the leaves. Quality air conditioning, ventilation, O2 production for better air to breathe

            Plants are natural cost effective shade and cooling. Living , passive, organic building envelopes

            Plants transport water, passively. Hygroscopic plumbing?

            Plants can become living computers. Remember Carolyn Dry and the research I did with her on the Saline computer and growing smart islands.

            Plants reuse waste. Think Greywater.

            Plants can be adapted as sensors, like microchips, and genetically selected for specific uses.

            thats all for now.

            eric

  4. Every profession – especially the artistic ones – has it’s (financial) winners and losers. Think of artists like Damien Hearst or Salvador Dali, or even Picasso. Their showmanship helps them economically, and in some ways is part of their brand. But the fact that their work survives them and their self-promotion suggests the work itself has real value.

    I think that BIG does very good work – don’t know if it’s great – perhaps it’s too early to tell.

    The comparison with Glen is interesting, because both have good ideas and a passion for what they do. Glen hasn’t been (and probably still isn’t) easy to work with, and that’s a big disadvantage if you want to get big ideas built. Architecture is very much a team sport, because of its complexity and cost. It’s much easier to be iconoclastic and individualistic if you’re a single, independent artist like those I mentioned in the first paragraph.

    • TIM,

      I ALWAYS RESPECT YOUR POINT OF VIEW ,

      YOU ARE CORRECT THAT “BIG” OFFICE IS PRACTICED AS A TEAM EFFORT. AND THEIR WORK IS IMPRESSIVE, BUT THE ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A VERY LONG TIME WITH A SET OF ARCHITECTS THAT RUN THEIR OFFICES FROM THE TOP DESIGNER DOWN. SAARINEN DEFINITELY WAS A TALENT THAT SURROUNDED HIMSELF WITH TALENT TO PRODUCE. FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT NEEDS NO EXPLANATION AS A TALENT. PHILIP JOHNSON, INGLELS FAVORITE ARCHITECT SPEAKS OUT IN THE KEN BURNS FILM ON FRANK, SAYING, HE PHILIP AND OTHERS HATED FRANK FOR ALL THE TALENT FRANK HAD. WRIGHT HAVING THE SALESMANSHIP TO GO ALONG WITH THE TALENT. LLOYD WRIGHT, FRANKS SON, WHO I INTERVIEWED AS A YOUNG MAN WAS A HUGE TALENT AND TEMPERAMENTAL ARTIST. DID THE ORIGINAL DESIGN FOR THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL AND THE WAYFAYERS CHAPEL AND OOZED WITH TALENT, BUT WAS NOT THE SALESMAN HIS DAD WAS. CALATRAVA IS THE PRESENT DAY WONDER AS WELL THAT CAN SELL. I THINK WHAT YOU ARE GETTING CONFUSED ABOUT IS THAT “BIG” CAN SELL, GHERY CAN SELL, ZAHA CAN SELL, FLW COULD SELL, SAARINEN COULD SELL. I HAD AN OFFICE ONCE WITH EIGHT PEOPLE DOING MAJOR WORK AND PROFITABLE . AT THAT POINT I COULD SELL, BUT BROKE UP THE OFFICE WHEN I MOVED TO OREGON. YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THAT SIDE OF ME THAT CAN MANAGE PEOPLE AND USE THEIR ABILITIES. I FOUND THAT HAVING SKILLED HELPERS EXCELLERATED THE ABILITY TO SELL. MICHAEL RENDLER AS A PARTNER WAS A HUGE HELP . BEING CLASSIFIED AS ICONOCLAST AND INDIVIDUALISTIC HAS SERVED MANY A FANTASTIC ARCHITECT WELL. KEN KELLOGE ,A RUGGED INDIVIDUAL AND MY PERSONAL FRIEND, IS A HUGE TALENT THAT HAS BUILD A TON OF SUCCESSFUL BUILDINGS. ERIC CHAVKIN RECENTLY TELLING ME HE DISMISSED A RICH POTENTIAL RESTAURANT CLIENT FOR LETTING HIS CELL PHONE RING IN HIS PRESENCE.

      I THINK YOUR REAL INTEREST IS IN OFFICES LIKE” BIG “THAT USE THE TEAM APPROACH VS OFFICES THAT HAVE A TALENTED INDIVIDUAL ARTISTIC DESIGNER BOSS THAT SURROUNDS HIMSELF WITH TALENT TO USE AS ASSISTANTS. BOTH HAVE THERE PLACE IN THIS WORLD.

      I HAVE SPENT A BIT OF TIME AROUND DAMIEN HEARST, AND HIS SECRET IS THAT HE HOOKED UP WITH AN AGENT, THAT LOOKED AFTER HIS INTERESTS THAT SOLD HIM TO THE WORLD. MAKING DAMIEN AND THE AGENT EXTREMELY WEALTHY. SOME SAYING THE RICHEST ARTIST IN THE WORLD.

      THAT IS WHAT MY HOLLERING FOR AN AGENT IS ABOUT. I KNOW THAT CAN WORK FOR THE TALENTED ARTIST ARCHITECT. THE ARTISTIC EMPHASIS IS REALLY THE ONLY THING LEFT IN THE FIELD OF BUILDING. ANY ENGINEERING FIRM WITH AN ARCHITECTURAL STAFF CAN PRODUCE SQUARE FOOTAGE AND PROBABLY DO BUILD WAY MORE THAN THE ARTISTIC ARCHITECTURAL GROUP OR INDIVIDUAL FIRMS.

      WHAT I FIND INTERESTING ABOUT”BIG” IS THAT THEY MAKE CREATIVE PROGRAMS AS THEY INVESTIGATE THE CHALLENGE. THAT I DO AS WELL , BEING WAY BEYOND YOUR SERVICE ARCHITECTS ABILITIES.

      GLEN

    • Hi Tim,

      Thanks for the Update. But I reject the characterization of Glen. In my limited experience I found Glen easy to work with. For most of his life he taught studio, which is a group effort, and encouraged rather than judged. Not like other studios . lets say Moss, which ran his studio as ‘his way or the highway’ approach. You didn’t have to be a Glen Small clone to get noticed.

      The secret to working with Glen is to bring ‘something to the table’ as the saying goes. And that creates the synergy and freedom, which is why , I think , his students over the years still admire and haven’t forgot.

      eric chavkin

      • Eric:
        I don’t find Glen difficult to work with as a collaborator – although he’s demanding and not very interested in tact. My observation was in relation to clients, where Glen has told me stories of his rather uncompromising approach to design and developing a solution that made everyone happy. I think this is what he means by “selling” – although I think that good client relationships are much deeper than selling.

        One of the challenges of architecture is that it’s both a principled business, and a client-centered service business. If you can’t balance the two, you’re going to be difficult to work with, and as a result will get fewer projects built.

        tim

        tim

  5. Hi Eric,

    I was fascinated and could not comprehend what Glen had to say… “ERIC CHAVKIN RECENTLY TELLING ME HE DISMISSED A RICH POTENTIAL RESTAURANT CLIENT FOR LETTING HIS CELL PHONE RING IN HIS PRESENCE.”

    Can you elaborate?

    MITM

    • The story is this: Ken Kellog, architect of the Charthouses, had a meeting with Bob Mardian a potential client to do a restaurant ala Charthouse style in Dana Point. Kellogs instructions: absolutely no cell phones at his office . Mardian arrived, in his swagger, then answered a call. Kellog then ended the meeting, asked him to leave, end of story.

      Mardian took the Charthouse bi-level plan and built Harpoon Henry’s, and Wind and the Sea, both successful , in OC. Kellog built a Charthouse in Dana Point as well.

        • MITM

          WHICH IS A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY . THE TRICK IS TO USE THAT POWER AND FREEDOM WISELY.

          WHAT WE SEE, IS WHEN ARCHITECTS REACH THAT SUPER STAR ROLL THEY OFTEN GET SLOPPY, LIKE GHERY’S THING FOR EISENHOWER. WHICH I FIND WERID AND INAPPROPIATE.

          GLEN

        • MITM,

          Not big, not eccentric. You lay down your rules for engagement and if there is no respect then it wont work out. Answering your cell phone at a meeting gets you thrown out. Big , perhaps, big enough not to beg.

          I once knew an interior designer and it was proposed to her if she wanted this ‘big’ decorating job the meeting was to be in his hot-tub with a line of coke. Yeah. the guy was scum. I think he was a manufacturer for some component for a-bombs…

          Glen if I remember, turned down a job to work on the Los Angeles police academy…

          eric

          • MITM, THERE WAS NO REPLY BOX, FOR YOUR COMMENT

            ERIC, WAS A BIT CONFUSED OR MAYBE I AM. I CAN NOT REMEMBER THE DETAILS, BUT I DID DO SOMETHING FOR THE POLICE ACADEMY. I WAS RECOMMENDED BY A BUILDING DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL BY THE NAME OF NORA, BECAUSE MY TAKE ON THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT IS THAT THESE FRUSTRATED CIVIL SERVANTS ARE REAL PEOPLE AND LIKE TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH ARCHITECTS OF PRINCIPLE. RATHER THAN FIGHTING WITH THEM, I GOT TO KNOW THEM AND RELATE TO THEIR WORLDS.

            ANYWAY I WAS ASKED TO DO SOMETHING FOR THE OFFICES OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT TRAINING PROGRAM. I GOT TO KNOW THE YOUNG OFFICER IN CHARGE AND INVITED HIM AND HIS WIFE TO OUR HOME, WHICH HE ACCEPTED. I THINK THE PROJECT HIT THE SKIDS WHEN HE PRESENTED IT TO HIS BOSS. I CAN NOT REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT IT, OTHER THAN IT HAVE A GARDEN ELEMENT TO SOFTEN THEIR WORLD AND LOOK AT THE POSITIVE SIDE OF NATURE SOOTHING ONE.

            THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS ,I RECOMMEND FOR YOU TO CHECK OUT. A SILENT POWERFUL PART OF LIFE THAT IS IGNORED, PLANTS INCLUDED IN A FRINGE WAY MANNER RATHER THAN A NECESSARY NEED FOR OUR POSITIVE SANITY.

            NO HOT TUBE, BUT I MIGHT HAVE SAID NO TO SOMETHING THEY WANTED ME TO DO. ERIC MIGHT RECALL.

            GLEN

          • The Police Academy was around the time period of the Green Machine and city planner Cal Hamilton. If I remember right, didnt you and Milica have some discussions on this, along the lines as a gateway to other city jobs. The Cal Hamilton / Green machine story would be a great Blog entry. I wish I knew where the tape interview was that Jan and I did on the Green machine.

            eric chavkin

  6. So if these ideas date back that far how long does it take for innovative ideas to take hold? I’ve only just begun working in the renewable energy field and wondering if I’m in for disappointment or eventual success. Not architecture, it’s solar AC, but new is new…

    • OHANDY1

      SOLAR AC SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD THING TO ME, AND NECESSARY, SO IF IT OPERATIONAL, I SEE THE NEED AND INTEREST IMMEDIATELY.

      BUT VESTED INTEREST BLOCK GOOD IDEAS, SO I HAVE NO IDEA HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO CATCH HOLD.

      I WAS INVESTED IN A COMPANY THAT RECYCLED THE CAR EXHAUST AND SIGNIFICANTLY GOT BETTER MILEAGE AND ELIMINATED MOST OF THE POLLUTANTS. SOUNDED LIKE A GREAT IDEA TO ME AND ACTUALLY PASSED OFFICIAL TESTS. THE COMPANY VAPOR FUEL TECHNOLOGY WENT BEGGING FOR A BUYER AND IS NOW ON HOLD. I LOSING A PILE OF MONEY.

      I TRICKY CORRUPT WORLD OUT THERE. BE VERY CAREFUL.

      GLEN

      • Hi Glen,

        It was in response to your comment under the HongKong Peak blog.

        “THANKS MITM FOR BRING THE COMPETITION TO MY ATTENTION. IF YOU HAVE ANOTHER ONE YOU THINK I SHOULD ENTER, BLAB ON.”

        Seems like I have been blabing on and you are not listening :)

  7. DEAR READERS,

    I GO BACK AND CHECK MY COMMENTS AFTER SUBMITTING THEM, AND I AM ASTOUNDED AT ALL THE GRAMMAR AND SPELLING ERRORS. SORRY ABOUT THAT, BUT I AM VERY SLOPPY. I WOULD LIKE SOMEBODY TO JUST BE FOLLOWING ME AND CLEANING UP MY LIFE, BUT THAT IS NOT TO BE. I REMEMBER AT VICTOR GRUENS WHEN I WAS AN OFFICE BOY AND THERE WAS AN ASSISTANT TO CARLOS DIENZE ( A VERY TALENTED ILLUSTRATOR) THE ASSISTANTS JOB WAS TO CLEAN UP AND SORT ALL THE MESS CARLOS WOULD CREATE. IN THE PROCESS THE ASSISTANT WAS BEING EDUCATED, BUT CARLOS WAS FREE TO MAKE MESSES AND CONCENTRATE ON THE ILLUSTRATIONS. LIKE A DENTAL ASSISTANT HANDING THE RIGHT INSTRUMENT FOR THE NEXT TASK THE DOCTOR WANT S TO ACCOMPLISH. THAT IS WHAT I NEED. AT THIS MOMENT MY SPELL CHECKER SEEMS TO BE LOST IN ANOTHER SECTION, SO I CAN NOT CHECK THIS COMMENT. THE PROBLEM BEING IF I GET OUT OF SAFARI MY COMMENT IS ERASED AND I HAVE TO START OVER. IT IS ALL SO COMPLICATED.

    PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGIZES FOR LIVING A MESSY LIFE.

    WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST,

    GLEN

    • READERS

      A CASE IN POINT OF SCREWING UP IS THE SPELLING OF CARLOS DINIZ. I WANTED TO CHECK THE SPELLING OUT, BUT I WOULD HAVE HAD TO GET OFF MY BLOG TO DO SO AND LOSE THE COMMENT,WHICH I WAS HALFWAY THROUGH. AFTER I LEFT THE COMMENT I WENT BACK AND CHECKED THE SPELLING, SURE ENOUGH I HAD MISPELLED CARLOS DINIZ.

      GLEN

  8. Hi Glen,

    Your silence tells me that you have not yet seen the competition web sites I had posted for you. Maybe I was not clear enough in my last reply.

    Please check my last few comments on your Hongkong Peak blog, to find the competition links.

    Cheers

    MITM

    • MITM

      SORRY, I DID CHECK OUT ABOUT THE FIRST FIVE ITEMS ON YOUR LIST.

      MY TAKE IS THAT THE COMPETITION HAS TO BIG ENOUGH TO SUPPORT BIG IDEAS, AND HAVE ENOUGH CASH REWARD TO AT LEAST KID ME THAT I MIGHT GET SOME DINERO FOR MY EFFORTS.

      WOULD YOU PLEASE ALERT ME IF YOU COME ACROSS A COMPETITION THAT YOU THINK I WOULD BE UP FOR. THAT GOES FOR ANYBODY READING MY BLOG. I AM TERRIBLE AT KNOWING WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING IN THIS COMMUNICATION ERA.

      I AM GEARING UP TO DO A COMPLETE EXPLANATION OF MY ENTRY FOR EVOLO. I AM SURE YOU WILL HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT IT.
      KEEP CLOSE,

      GLEN

  9. Hello-
    I am not an Architect and the way I ended up here was reading an article in the New Yorker about Ingels, then Googling his name. I have spent 40 plus years in the screen printing business, and have worked both the industrial side, and the “Fine art” side. The reason for my post is that I am really curious about this concept of Ingels being willing to give his customers what they want as being controversial. In my industry ( and most other creative and semi-creative industries), the opposite is true. Obviously, the world only has to look at an ugly t-shirt for the blink of an eye, but an ugly building is hard to ignore. Is it a matter of disdain for the customer ? Like “Open your wallet and shut your mouth ?”. I am not judging, just curious about such a different view of things. I have always said that business would be perfect if you did not have to have customers or employees, but I would never pay my mortgage if I didn’t keep my customers happy. In closing, I thank you for such stimulating discourse and also thank you for putting up with an outsider with not much to add to the conversation.

  10. NOTES FROM THE ROAD

    THANKS FOR THE BLURB. TO SUM UP THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MY WORK AND INGELS WORK IN A FEW WORDS IS IMPOSSIBLE, BUT THE STATEMENT OF INGELS BEING PROFITABLE AND I BEING LEAN IS CORRECT. WHAT MAKES THE PLAYING FIELD LEVEL IN THE NEW ERA OF THE INTERNET. MY IDEAS AND WORK ARE BEING SHOWN AND EXPLAINED. WHERE AS I GET SILENCE WHEN GOING TO A BOOK PUBLISHER LIKE STOUT IN SAN FRANCISCO OR SOUGHT OUT FOR LECTURES. NO HUGE PROBLEM, BECAUSE I CAN CONTINUE TELLING MY LIFE ON THE INTERNET. IT IS A WONDERFUL WORLD THAT WAY. PAPER ARCHITECTURE AND A LIMITED ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE IS NOT MY IDEA OF CHOICE, BUT IDEAS AND IMAGES CAN BE CONVEYED THAT ALLOW OTHERS TO IMPLEMENT. ARCHIGRAM IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THAT. INGELS HAS THE ADVANTAGE OF DRAWING FROM THE WEALTH OF IDEAS OF FRUSTRATED VISIONARIES , BECAUSE TO THEIR CREDIT THEY HAVE AN APPARATUS IN PLACE TO GET CLIENTS THAT BUILD. I WOULD PREFER TO HAVE A SUM OF MONEY TO ALLOW ME TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY WITHOUT STARVING. AT THE SAME TIME THE INTERNET ASKS QUESTIONS THAT SET ME OFF IN MULTI DIRECTIONS WHICH IS REFRESHING. ALL OF THIS IS LEADING TO SOME GOOD, I GOT POSITIVE VIBRATIONS.

    GLEN

  11. Glen, I can show you how to get published. If that is the problem. And your book will be in every architecture school library in the country and the world. This is not that hard. The key is distribution. But since you have a niche market and NOT trying to mass distribute a novel this is really a no-brainer.

    If you start now it will be done in 18 months.

    eric chavkin

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