A few weeks ago, we had our 7th Architectural Session at the Parrish Museum. For this one, we put out a 'call for entries' to architects asking them to submit an image of an idea, or an influence, that has haunted their practice and that eventually was expressed or exorcised in a project -- Halloween was around the corner.
We received the most interesting entries, from pictures of McGyver (yes from the TV series) to Black Maria (Thomas Edison's film studio). Eventually four architects were selected to talk with me about their initial 'haunting' influence and their resulting projects. They were, in order of their appearance, John Zissovici, James Merrell, Viola Rouhani and Jee Won Kim.
It was a fascinating journey into personal stories that have given shape to some very public and notable works. All together, we resurrected the ghosts of Edison, Palladio, McGyver, Raimund Abraham and discussed the very alive architect Peter Eisenman (who apparently has haunted many of us).
Prior to the event, I was asked what has haunted me. My answer was evasive, but I mentioned that every single architect who was on that podium has haunted me. For example, John was my professor and thesis adviser at Cornell, and every house that I have designed has been a way to, once again, prove my thesis to him --after all the subject of my thesis was about making a 'home' that you could carry and deploy anywhere. James and I both share the Institute of Architecture & Urban Studies as one of our academic milestones; and his comments and comparison of Palladian houses and Eisenmann's cartesian dissections had a huge impact on my training as well. I have always admired the work that is produced at Stelle, Lomont, Rouhani's office and Viola's presence on the stage brought home memories of the days, not long ago, when there were less than a handful of modernist architects practicing and actually building out in East Hampton. Finally, Jee Won and I share many influences; he talked about Raimund Abraham. Raimund taught at Cooper Union along with John Hedjuk, Eisenman and one of my professors, Diana Agrest. We still talk about the work of these architects. And Jee Won showed how they still affect us today.
Many people helped bring this program to life including Andrea Grover, Frank Guittard and Viola Rouhani; and we were lucky to get the sponsorship of the AIA Peconic and the Parrish Art Museum.