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Build It And They Will Come?

Aug 17, 2007
If you ask architects what's up, they'll say the project they just finished. Architects turn dreams into realities, bridge past and present and have high hopes for the future. As of now, the highest is Taipei 101 at 1,671 feet.

Los Angeles' architecture runs the gamut from a building that looks like a donut to Frank Gheary's metal extravaganza - also known as Disney Music Hall. Architecturally speaking, that's more like sprinting the gamut.

In nearby Santa Monica the Rand Corporation's new building has a conservative exterior, which encompasses a beautiful, interior courtyard - a perfect design to bring out the inner thoughts of a think tank.

From Mount Vernon to MacDonald's, from the Eiffel Tower to an Esso station, architects combine purpose with personality - most of the time.

Frank Gheary also designed Santa Monica's enclosed mall. It opened in 1981; but as the fad changed to outside, themed malls, stores moved out. Frank Gheary freely admits Santa Monica Place is his least favorite of his many buildings and that he built it for the money. Now it's a tribute to humility.

There's nothing humble about strip malls. They're environmental eye sores - a combination of architecture and anarchy. If necessity is the mother of invention and strip malls are necessary, why can't architects ad-dress them?

A Tudor house among stucco boxes, a French chateau surrounded by suburban ranches, a mini Monticello amid clapboard cottages - these are architectural proof the customer isn't always right and visual proof good taste can't be bought.

Washington has the White House, New York City has the Empire State Building, St. Louis has the Arch and Las Vegas has...adult Disneyland. Architecture grows through styles - colonial, neo-classical, art-deco.

Modern architecture uses a range of building materials as wide as the architect's imagination. Some leave structures exposed in bold statements of simplicity. It's in-your-face architecture and a style much appreciated by electricians and plumbers.

At-this-point-in-time is another type of architecture. My husband and I started in an apartment; when the boys were growing, we lived in houses with grassy yards; now we live in a condo because we got tired of taking care of the grassy yards.

I'd love to live in a house designed by Frank Gheary, but it would be like living in a work of art. I'm concentrating on the art of living. I want our home to reflect us - without the use of mirrors.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
Take a minute to make yourself smile at
http://knightwatch.typepad.com
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