Name an architect/artist/designer who inspires you?
R. Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller was an architect/engineer/visionary who I had the opportunity to study under while in school in St. Louis. He integrated engineering and architecture in a way that had inherent beauty in its simplicity and economy. He was the inventor of the geodesic dome; the lightest way to cover the maximum area with the least amount of materials. As a sailor, his driving vision was we are all basically on the same boat – Spaceship Earth – and must work together to minimize our impacts on our collective vessel and create ways to preserve resources by doing more with less. He was about 50 years ahead of his time and is the author of my favorite quote: “You can’t learn less!” He also designed a really cool automobile – the Dymaxion Car.
What’s your favorite building?
For contemporary work, almost anything by Santiago Calatrava. He is both an architect and a structural engineer and finds the most seamless and graceful ways to integrate the two. In the spirit of Bucky Fuller, he finds the beauty in lean and efficient structures, with an architectural grace that seems to make his buildings dance across the landscape. His work challenges us to think comprehensively, to make each component serve as many purposes as possible, and to keep working until the fit and image is both calm and exhilarating
For classical works, and having spent a lot of time crawling though its non-public areas, no building I know is more powerful in representing the ideals of US of its time than Jefferson’s Monticello. It is more than a plantation home; it was a constant experiment in structure, technology and sanitation. I’ve never been in another building where the architect’s personal values and interests are so clearly represented by his work.