Thursday, September 28, 2006

My New Boyfriend

I totally have a crush on Barton Myers.

So what if he's 71? So what if my neighborhood civic league thinks he's the spawn of Satan? So what if having a crush on an elderly modern architect is not nearly as cool as having a crush on, say, Brad Pitt?

I don't think I'd ever heard of Barton Myers until last weekend when our local paper ran a long-ass story (which I'm making my students read tomorrow) about the controversy surrounding his proposed addition to a church in my neighborhood. According to the article, "Myers is a glass-and-metal modernist adding onto a Gothic Revival stone structure completed in 1910. Not everyone has embraced that idea."

Really? It would make more sense in 2006 to build an addition in a century-old style that was itself a throwback to the 14th century? Admittedly, Gothic architecture is not my thing, but come on! NOW we're gonna start getting fussy about architecture? 'Cause we have a 7-11 and a Walgreens, neither of which seem to be winning any awards for architectural brilliance. Oh, and the Hardee's and the Pizza Hut? Are they in keeping with the historic character of our neighborhood? And what about all these new condos? You know, the ones with the stupid fake columns that aren't actually holding anything up. Those cheesy McThings are somehow better than a structure that actually has some architectural integrity, even if that structure IS made of (sharp intake of breath) glass and metal?

"Great cities, and the things we love most, evolve over time," said Barton Myers. "And where old and new coexist, they're much richer, because they are a living testament to what happened."

See? How can you not love this guy?

I'm taking my kids on a field trip to the church next week. And I'm gonna ask Barton Myers to come speak to my classes. If he says yes -- which I know he probably won't, but it's worth a shot, right? -- but if he says yes, that may be it for me. I may move beyond the crush phase into the full-on stalking phase.


Maritza said...

I like that mix in architecture. From a design professional (that would be me, yo!) I think his ideas are great. It works, it looks fresh and modern and it's much better to creat an addition that people are able to build correctly with today's materials than to slap on a cheesy, poorly executed faux addition that tries to blend in with the old. Unless you can find skilled stonecutters, the exact same quarried stone and materials -forget it. And, let's not even get into air conditioning, fire systems, electrical, lighting, etc that have to be taken into account. The modern design makes all of those important elements much easier to intergrate.

Besides, it just looks so cools.

(Have you seen, "My Architect" the documentary?) Also, have your kids read about Frank Lloyd Wright, talk about being a rebel!!

vikkitikkitavi said...

Hey, everyone in Paris was very upset about the glass pyramid addition to the Louvre at first.

I went to grad school in Pittsburgh, where the neo-Gothic style is inexplicably popular. U of Pitt's most impressive building is the Cathedral of Learning (

Frank Lloyd Wright, who lost the bid to design the building, called it "the world's largest 'keep off the grass' sign."

Chris said...

I run into this sort of thing all the time up by me. There are lots of old Victorian-style cottages around here and people just think they are sooo cute and they have to have one just like their neighbor. It is anti-progress. It is also disingenuous. True Victorian homes, at least on the interior, did not have big, open floor plans like the ones most people want nowadays because technologies at the time couldn't support them. I'm not saying I don't like these homes, if indeed they are authentic. I just tire of building something and trying to make it look old when its not. Anyway, this guy sounds cool and has a pretty impressive resume.

Megan said...

The consensus among my students is that that would look "weird" here. Which is probably what the people from the Federal period said about the Georgians. Or vice versa. I don't remember and I don't feel like looking it up.

I did email the architect today to see if he wanted to be my new boyfriend. He's checking his schedule to see about talking to my clases. Totally cool!

Coaster Punchman said...

Let me know if you need any help with the stalking bit. You can be my apprentice.

Megan said...

I'm already well into the stalking, but you got any tips?