Sunday, February 24, 2008

39. Learn "entertainment charisma" from Frank Gehry

The funny thing about Frank Gehry and about most famous architects for that matter, is that they have a certain way of being entertaining in their own way. Even Wright, while drowning you in his hubris, had a thing about him that made you want to listen to him even if your jaw fell open at the size of his ego. Louis Kahn kind of invented his own language and presented the stupid mundane stuff that most architects worked with everyday in an engaging way. In this clip Gehry tries to down play that kind of showmanship by saying that they are just trying to make themselves seem like "the good guys". While this is certainly true it is part of their entertainment charisma. Frank can point the finger because his entertainment charisma is his dry humour and blunt frankness (no pun intended). One could argue that he too is doing this to look like one of the good guys.

The point being is you need to develop an entertainment charisma of your own that make you look good.

Friday, February 15, 2008

38. Schmooze or you Lose

One of the critical traits that distinguishes a Famous Architect from the architects that designs boring stuff and bitch about it for a living, is that famous Architects are at home both in the office and in the spotlight.

If you are a master in the studio but have a social IQ of zero, chances are you will never be a famous architect. You might as well trade in the black get up for something a little more colorful. Otherwise you look like a confused undertaker. Sorry to be so blunt.

If you think for one second that schmoozing and socializing is a distraction from your work as an architect or that you are too noble to get involved in such a contrived activity. Then I suggest you stop reading right now. In fact let me help you find your way out. Click here to exit blog.

If you are headed for the road to stardom read on.

Consider this, if you don't schmooze you at least stand a great chance of missing out on all the back-door opportunities and potential opportunities that you would not have otherwise gotten if you were slaving away at the drafting board, computer, or whatever.

When we say opportunities, we are not just talking about commissions here, there are collaboration opportunities, off the grid information, invitations, insights, opinions, gossip and the flat out juicy stuff that you wouldn't find anywhere else than through a good conversation.

If you don't get these opportunities, chances are you are at risk of inhibiting your scope & development as an architect. Perhaps you have heard the phrase "If you are not going up you are going down". It follows than, that if you are a reasonably talented architect and you are ducking these opportunities then you are heading towards being a shitty architect: the kind that primarily work for money, not for fame or glory.

"I took my son to Scandinavia and we went sledging with teams of huskies. At first I thought the dogs were being overworked, but I quickly learnt that they are never happier than when pelting flat out.

"I'm not very different."

When we posted this statement by Foster a few months back, the obvious reference is that he was never happier working in the studio making architecture, but it doesn't stop there. Schmoozing to get the clients, the publicity, the funding, opportunities to collaborate and everything else that it takes to get your project built is just as important as solving the critical details.

My friends, your creativity as an architect does not stop at the drafting table. It permeates every aspect of what you do as an architect. If your view is that an architect's work is limited to the office & the field, then you are probably a draftsman or a project manager. Its okay to be that but don't confuse yourself with an architect or an aspiring starchitect.

If you are not a social butterfly don't disappear. It’s a skill that can be learned just like CAD, Photoshop, or illustrator.

I suggest you get to the self help section on in your nearest book store, pick up a book on schmoozing and then head to your local pub and start practicing conversing to other human-beings.
For starters, don’t be put off by the word “schmooze,” a widely misinterpreted Yiddish word that actually means easygoing, relaxed conversation, it does not mean ‘making business contacts’ nor does it mean ‘sales success',
Schmoozing starts with something as simple as small talk. The best business relationships begin that way. Check out Diller & Scofidio hard at work above.
You will never know what Steven Holl and Robert Stern were smiling about if you never came to the party.

Consider yourself liberated!
By Conrad Newel,
Staff writer
Liberaing Minds Since August 2007

Saturday, February 9, 2008

37. Famous Architects are Super Action Heros!

A great epoch has begun.
There exists a new spirit.

Starchitecture & modern technology, overwhelming us like a flood which rolls on towards its destined end, has furnished us with new tools adapted to this new epoch, animated by a new spirit.

Famous architects rightfully take their place beside batman, superman, and yes Micheal Jordan!

Jason Bourne is fiction Rem Koolhaas is reality!

click here and watch Rem run!

Freeing Minds Since August 2007

Friday, February 1, 2008

36. "Starchitect" a definition

Since this is a blog about becoming a Famous Architect, it is worth taking a closer look at another word that has been sprouting in the [cult]ure of architecture that describes what we are talking about:


starchitect noun [C] /st(r)ktekt/

a very famous architect, especially one who has designed a well-known building in the recent past.

starchitecture noun [U]
a style of building design which has become particularly famous.

starchitectural adjective

starchitecturally adverb

Do you have a favourite building? If you do, and your choice is a product of 21st-century architecture, then the chances are it was designed by a starchitect.

A blend of the words star and architect, starchitect is a recent coinage used to describe a famous architect who has been responsible for the design of an iconic 21st-century building. This is typically some kind of public building which attracts a degree of media interest, and thereby imparts a sort of celebrity status to its designer.

Examples of such buildings and their respective starchitects are: the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, designed by Frank Gehry, the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, UK, designed by Daniel Libeskind, and the headquarters of Swiss Re in London (informally known as ‘the Gherkin’), designed by Lord Norman Foster.

A key characteristic of the work of starchitects is what is popularly referred to as ‘the wow factor’ - the creation of an impressive building which incorporates unique features and is highly visible within its location. Current technology and the influence of mass media in the digital age mean that the wider public get to see and appreciate such buildings a long time before they actually, if indeed ever, visit them for themselves. The buildings therefore quickly assume a kind of iconic status and turn their designers into starchitects renowned for a particular ‘signature’ design.

On the model of the words architect and architecture, the noun starchitecture is also sometimes used, along with derived adjective/adverb starchitectural/starchitecturally.

“In these important markets, many hotel projects are large, iconic structures employing some of the world’s most famous starchitects and designer groups…”
Hospitality Net 9th October 2007

Starchitecture on Campus - Colleges and universities from Boston to Chicago are hooked on celebrity architects whose signature designs can help boost a school's reputation…”
The Boston Globe 22nd February 2004

“Now the Bilbao effect has spread slightly south to Rioja, one of the richest wine-producing areas of Spain. The starchitectural branding is being applied to some of Rioja’s oldest and most respected wineries.”
Belgrade Design Week May 2007

Used since around 2001, the terms starchitect and starchitecture are clever blends of star and architecture/architecture which neatly cash in on the repetition of the vowel // in the two words. The concept of starchitecture is thought to have arisen from what is referred to as the Bilbao Effect in architectural contexts. This expression refers to the aforementioned Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, which opened in 1997 and was designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. Now hailed as a landmark project, the seductive architecture of the museum put the old, industrial city of Bilbao on the international cultural map. Cities on both sides of the Atlantic followed suit, inspired by the transformation of a run-down area into a magnet for tourists. The Bilbao project proved an influential example of how new architecture had the potential to revitalise cities in economic decline.

Starchitect has mildly pejorative overtones, and has also been used in a more tongue-in-cheek fashion to refer to popular celebrities who have become involved in architecture