MORAL OBLIGATION

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DOCTOR BOB DANN HANDING OFF TO ARCHITECT GLEN HOWARD SMALL ANCHOR MAN, LOS ANGELES COLOSSEUM UNIVERSITY HIGH 1955. WE GOT BEAT, BUT WE GAVE IT OUR BEST AND RECEIVED A MEDAL.

THINK BIG. WORK HARD AND DON’T COMPROMISE

THOSE WERE THE LESSONS I TOOK AWAY FROM MY EDUCATION BEFORE I HIT THE REAL WORLD OF LIFE.

IT ALL STARTED IN 1944 WHEN I WAS SEVEN AND I WAS AT MY MOTHER’S REUNION AT OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE IN EAGLE ROCK LOS ANGELES. MY DAD AND I WENT DOWN THE HILL TO THE FOOTBALL STADIUM WHERE THEY WERE HAVING RACES FOR THE KIDS. WE WERE SITTING IN THE STANDS LOOKING DOWN AT THE TRACK. MY AGE GROUP WAS CALLED OUT OVER THE PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM TO RUN. US KIDS GATHERED TOGETHER AND A PISTOL SHOT WENT OFF AND WE LOPED ALONG. ALL NEW TO ME. WHEN I RETURNED TO THE STANDS MY FATHER WAS UPSET WITH MY PERFORMANCE, TELLING ME THE NEXT TIME MY GROUP WAS CALLED TO GO DOWN TO THE TRACK AND RUN AS FAST AS I COULD. THE COMANDMENT RESONATED, I RAN LIKE HELL AND SLIDE UNDER THE FINISH LINE STRING FOR FEAR OF BREAKING IT.. I THE WINNER, HEARING THE APPLAUSE AND CHEERS,

THE NEXT LESSON I RECOLLECTED WAS COMING HOME WITH A REPORT CARD OF “C'” GRADES. MY FATHER WAS DISTRAUGHT . I DEFENDING MYSELF WITH A COMMENT OF “MOST KIDS GET C’S” . MY FATHER STERNLY PROCLAIMING “YOU ARE NOT MOST KIDS !!! ”

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ARCHITECT GLEN HOWARD SMALL 1944

I WAS PROPELLED TO EXCEL, THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY. THE NATURAL SKILLS I WAS GIVEN WERE: WORKING WITH MY HANDS, ATHELETIC PROWESS, LEADERSHIP CRISTISMA. VERBAL SPEECHES, MATH REASONING AND CREATIVE WRITING CONCEPTS. SPELLING, READING, PUNCTUATION, LANGUAGES, PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY ETC. THAT ONE REALLY NEEDED TO EXCEL IN SCHOOL, I STRUGGLED WITH. I USED MY MEMORY TO PASS TESTS. I GOT THE GIRLS WITH MY LETTERMANS SWEATER, AND AFTER GETTING MARRIED TRANASFERRED THAT ATHLETIC DRIVE TO ARCHITECTURE.

HONESTY WAS A BIG ISSUE WITH ME. ON THE PLAYGROUND THERE WAS A GAME CALLED TWO SQUARE WHERE YOU BOUNCED A SOCCER SIZE BALL BACK AND FORTH AGAINST AN OPPONENT AND WHEN YOU HIT THE LINE WITH THE BALL YOU LOST THE POINT. THAT IS WHERE I LEARNED OTHERS CHEATED AND LIED ABOUT NOT HITTING THE LINE. I ONLY WANTED TO WIN IF I PLAYED BY THE RULES . I WOULD CALL MYSELF OUT IF I HIT THE LINE. THE WORD USED WAS SPORTMANSHIP, I ONCE WAS YANKED BY MY SOFTBALL COACH FROM A GAME BECAUSE I COMPLAINED TO AN UMPIRE.

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ARCHITECT GLEN HOWARD SMALL, ALL SO INNOCENT 1945

MY FATHER INSTILLING IN ME TO DO MY BEST , BE HONEST AND WORK HARD. THE RESULT WOULD BE A SUCCESSFUL LIFE. ANYTHING WAS POSSIBLE.

WHAT A CONTRAST TO THE WAY THE KENNEDY KIDS WERE RAISED TO KNOW THE PITFALLS AS WELL AS THE GOALS. I NEVER GOT THE PITFALL LESSON.
MAYBE THAT WAS OK, BECAUSE ONE GETS BUMPED OFF IF THEY ARE TOO IMPORTANT. MY PROFILE IS NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH , SO I AM STILL ALIVE. IN THE WILD WEST I WOULD HAVE BEEN GUNNED DOWN AS A TEENAGER FOR DEFENDING JUSTICE.

THERE WAS A SIGN IN 1955 OVER THE LOCKER ROOM DOORWAY AT UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL IN WEST LOS ANGELES THAT READ. ” A WINNER NEVER QUITS, AND A QUITTER NEVER WINS.” AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON LIBRARY IN 1960 THERE WAS AN ENGRAVING OVER THE ENTRY “THE TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE”

NOW AT MY RIPE OLD AGE OF 76, AND HAVING EXPERIENCED HOW THE WORLD WORKS, THESE STATEMENTS OF HONESTY AND TRUTH SEEM NAIVE, BUT TO ME CORRECT .

NOT BEING ETHICAL RESULTS IN TRAGEDY.

SO WE GET BACK TO THE AGE OLD QUESTION OF ETHICAL VALUES BEING THE GUIDING ELEMENT OF ONES LIFE AND THUS THE THRUST OF THE GLOBAL SOCIETY.
IF A PERSON DOES NOT HAVE ETHICS, THEN THEIR LIFE IS OF NO CONSEQUENCE.

WHAT MAKES ONE HAPPY FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF HUMANITY IS ENTERTAINMENT . MONEY A HUGE PURSUIT TO ALLOW ONE TO BE ENTERTAINED. FROM BUYING A PARTNER, TO HAVING YOUR OWN PLANE, BOOKING A FLIGHT TO THE MOON, AND TO BEING DRUGGED OUT.

BUT IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO YOUR FELLOW MANS NEEDS OF ENVIRONMENT, FOOD, SHELTER, HEALTH, JUSTICE, EDUCATION, AND FREEDOM THEN THERE IS ENDLESS WORK TO BE DONE WHICH BECOMES YOUR HIGH.

AS ARCHITECTS WE FALL INTO THE VISUAL CATEGORY THAT BRINGS ANOTHER DIMENSION BESIDES THE NECCESSITIES. SO NECESSARY TO THE SPIRIT OF MANKIND, BUT A WELL KEPT SECRET.

ETHICS SHOULD BE THE FORMOST EDUCATIONAL THRUST THAT ALL SHOULD ASPIRE TOO.
WHAT GOOD IS IT TO TEACH SKILLS TO MANKIND TO PRODUCE DESTRUCTION? MANY OF OUR MOST TALENTED SOULS ARE USED FOR THE WORST CAUSES. THE FREEDOM OF CHOICE SHOULD NOT BE USED TO PRODUCE TRAGEDY.

IF YOU EXAMINE WHAT NEEDS TO DONE TO MAKE SOMETHING RIGHT AND DO NOT ASSIST IN THAT EFFORT, HOW CAN ONE LIVE WITH THEMSELVES? THEY PUT THEIR HEAD IN THE SAND .

WE ALL FALL SHORT, BUT POSITIVE EFFORTS DO PRODUCE CHANGE. THE MEANING IN LIFE IS TO CONTRIBUTE TO MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. MAYBE IT IS TAKING ONE STEP FORWARD AND TWO STEPS BACK. SO BE IT.

MY JOB IS TO GIVE A POSITIVE IMAGE OF WHAT CAN BE AND WORK HARD TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. I GET SIDE TRACKED BY THE ABUSE OF THE PLANET BY HUMANS AND THEIR COMBATIVE NATURE TO EACH OTHER. I GET OVER FORTY EMAILS A DAY PROCLAIMING OFF THE CHART NEGATIVE HUMAN BEHAVIOR.

THE UNITED NATIONS WAS SET UP TO BRING US TOGETHER AND ACT AS A UNITED FRONT FOR HUMANITY. ALL DICY IN THE WORLD OF MONEY. THERE HAS TO BE A CALL TO CHAMPION INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF MANKIND AND RESPECT PLANET EARTH.

THE CHALLENGE IS TO KEEP PROMOTING THE IDEAS THAT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

KEEP THE FAITH.

GLEN

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GLEN HOWARD SMALL 1966 VERTICAL CITY, CRANBROOK ACADEMY OF ART

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RECOVERY ROOM, ASSEMBLY GALLERY, EXHIBITION, GLEN HOWARD SMALL AIA ARCHITECT, ORHAN AYYUCE CURATOR, NOVEMBER 2013  – EXPOSING THE BIG IDEAS

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ORHAN AYYUCE, GLEN HOWARD SMALL, RAY KAPPE

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RAY KAPPE , MARCELA OLIVA , SHELLY KAPPE, GLEN HOWARD SMALL

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NEZULA ECO VILLAGE, NICARAGUA 2013 GLEN HOWARD SMALL AND ROGER LEWITES ARCHITECTS

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LOTUS FLOWER TRAVELING ARENA 2014 GLEN HOWARD SMALL AND CARLOS OVALLE ARCHITECTS

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SAND DOLLAR ECO COMMUNITY 2014 GLEN HOWARD SMALL AND CARLOS OVALLE ARCHITECTS

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DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE 2012 EVOLO SKYSCRAPER ENTRY GLEN HOWARD SMALL ARCHITECT

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6 comments

    • eric,

      thank you for your comment. your words actually brought some moisture to my eyes.
      i respect your mind and understanding of things.

      i am no saint for sure and probably hide behind my architectural talent to not get more involved. but i have always felt that being in my spaces brings joy. if i could get that coupled with some serious green and relevant social effort , that would be significant.

      i do not want to preach, but i find myself saying the obvious. i wish there was a substantial world wide movement for ethics. that could start with our educational system.

      glen

    • dear portia,

      thanks for relating to memory lane, your parties were the best. we were so full of life then. anything was possible. i still remember doing the Charleston at the blow out at the beach.

      keep close,

      glen

  1. This is a nice article, Glen. It shows how much we are made by our early experiences. It’s a blessing and a curse that we don’t fundamentally change, although with luck we learn a few tricks as the years go by.

    Learning to care and to do good work is one of the most useful lessons our parents can teach.

    tim

    • tim,

      you keep me focused. yes my parents pushed me to be ideal. i am thankful. i lead by example with my work to encourage my kids to better the planet. i had shot coming that were a distraction. i wish i could no more, but i am challenged to just cope with modern living at the moment. but my adult kids are all seeking to improve the planet with their lives.

      glen

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