Coffee Sketch Podcast

091 - Cenotaph to JFK

December 15, 2021 Kurt Neiswender/Jamie Crawley Season 3 Episode 91
Coffee Sketch Podcast
091 - Cenotaph to JFK
Show Notes Transcript

Thank you for listening. We both hope that you enjoyed this episode of Coffee Sketch Podcast. Our Theme music is provided by my brother who goes by @c_0ldfashioned on Instagram and Twitter. Our podcast is hosted at coffeesketchpodcast.com find more show notes and information from this episode. And finally, if you liked this episode please rate us on iTunes and share us with your friends! Thank you!


Music on the Show


CNEIS - https://cneis.bandcamp.com/

c_0ldfashioned - https://www.instagram.com/c_0ldfashioned/ 

Compilation - https://triplicaterecords.bandcamp.com/track/cneis-more-or-less 


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Coffee Sketch Podcast is on YouTube for extended cuts and more visual content of Jamie’s beautiful sketches. Please consider subscribing!


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Kurt:

Hey Jamie, let me guess. You're doing well.

Jamie:

Well, good morning again.

Kurt:

Good morning to you. It's afternoon over where I am, so,

Jamie:

but coffee's

Kurt:

still to be had. Yes, it's cold. It's cold where I am so I could drink coffee all the time.

Jamie:

80,

Kurt:

literally. Jeez. Yeah, it is, I think 29 over here.

Jamie:

Wow. Yeah, that totally. I mean, we are the, we are the extremes on the podcast, so

Kurt:

yeah, you sure are one hour difference.

Jamie:

I mean, we, we could be 29 tomorrow. I mean, who knows it is Texas after all, but,

Kurt:

yeah. When, when was the, because I teach in HPAC and energy systems class, I have brought up the Texas ice storm from last year without those, cause it was no knock on wood. That was January,

Jamie:

right? End of January, beginning of February. Yeah.

Kurt:

Which February you use that as an example of infrastructure and so on. I hope that does not occur. Well,

Jamie:

yeah, I hope I

Kurt:

hope so with climate change, right. that the, some of the things to think about are, but it's not going to be fluke deals anymore.

Jamie:

Right. Well, it's, it's it. Yeah, that's right. I think that's the whole thing is that the, the premise is something like that is predicated on the fact that climate change is increasing, the need to address energy needs, and climate situations, that we weren't necessarily dealing with, but at the level and extent that we were previously, so of course you have to do something. And part of that resilience is in being prepped and, and preparing like you were just talking about. Sounds like with your students, So in a year's time, there's been a lot of reporting in the last month, month and a half or so. where people in the news media are sort of circling back reporters are, are looking at stories because the weather's changing. It's the fall it's going into the winter here. And people were saying, okay, is the, is the electrical grid? Because the real issue was sort of power. And the electric grid where we get in power, where we get power, what that distribution looks like, what sources are there? how did we tap into reserves, all those things and, and maintenance, and have things progressed. Have they done things? Have they really, and the, the verdicts appears to be no. no one has really kind of redoubled efforts or, really made any significant alterations or changes. So it's going to be sort of. Like, yeah, let's let it ride,

Kurt:

year two. Well, that's that's I mean, cause there's millions or billions of dollars of, of funds needed to, to make those maintenance repairs and upgrades and tuneups. Cause I think part of the issue was some monies that were not spent. And so wire, high power line infrastructure kind of weakened we're we're we're in weakened condition or substitutable to, the, ice storm issue. So,

Jamie:

well, I mean, and that was, and that was the thing is I think it's, from the, from the circling back to how we got into this, about the climate, is that yeah. So, climate change has exacerbated the extent of. Those types of storms and weather events. And so that's, that was the thing was pulling expected that the whole state to be hit, cause Texas is a big state and no one expected to be that extent of the grid, that extent of the state to be hit all, all at the same time with, with a very, very similar need. And that was the part that, from the infrastructure side, they're like, we never accounted for this. We never thought that this day would happen. And it's like, well, what, what's your worst case scenario? Oh, well this wasn't it. We had, we hadn't planned for the worst case scenario. So it's like, okay, well now you've seen it. what's what do you do? And in to plan for the next worst case scenario, and now that we've lived through it, and then that's the scary part is that they, people who are much smarter than us probably, and who analyze this stuff and sort of come back that the verdict is, we're not prepared for. Yeah, which is scary.

Kurt:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I hope you don't hit a, we don't get a weather event that is, well, equal to let's just say it, it probably will be, some kind of weather event. Hopefully it won't be equal to the severity of last this year. Yeah. This last, the last winter, I should say anyway. So we, we, we tend to, we'll go w Wade into some of these hot button tense issues. When, we, we set up our goals for podcasts. We, we try and pick out sketches to keep it, keep it light. And Mary, and then Mary Kurt's, the, the doom and gloom Kurt over here wants to like drag us into. The events,

Jamie:

talking to my students about HPAC

Kurt:

and climate change. Yeah. Right. Well, I, yeah, I got to find a way to make that sounds exciting. So, so Monday, so, tomorrow I gave away the day of the week, is, so tomorrow is the last lecture for the semester

Jamie:

and then you bring it, you bring cupcakes for that.

Kurt:

I don't think, I don't think I get paid enough to bring cupcakes actually. so I have a teacher studio as well, and my they're sophomore, second year students. And one of them divulge that her birthday is tomorrow. So I might, I might, I might do something. being their sophomores, they're so close to high school, another doom and gloomy kind of point to make, but it has come up in conversation as we approach the end of the semester is so this second year cohort, these, these students

Jamie:

are,

Kurt:

were, were ones that did, or if they did a graduation, they did a high school drive through graduation. Right. Because of COVID. So these, they, they really have missed a lot of, sort of social milestones touchstones in their lives. So that makes me want to bring cupcakes in just, just because, everyone could use a cupcake.

Jamie:

Everyone could use

Kurt:

absolutely. They might also walk away with a coffee Skitch podcast pin. Okay. Yeah. Cause I still have some of those. Good.

Jamie:

Just like set it in the icing on the cupcake

Kurt:

after I, after I spray it down with some sanitizer,

Jamie:

right? Yeah. Yeah. There was a there's actually, there was a sketch of recently that included a cupcake. I don't know if you caught that.

Kurt:

Oh, I don't know. Are we, are we going to be talking about, we're not going to be talking

Jamie:

about, I'm not talking about that one today. No, no, but I don't know if you caught that one. Cause I'm not a big sweets person, but I have to say that, a really good cupcake goes a long way.

Kurt:

Yeah. Good one. Definitely. Yeah. Bad cupcake. Not much to write about. Yeah. Kind of avoid those. Sorry. What, where are you

Jamie:

going? Nothing. I didn't know where to go. I didn't know where to go after like bad cupcake.

Kurt:

you don't, I mean, that's nothing to write about like seriously.

Jamie:

Yeah, good ones or do sketches

Kurt:

about for sure. Well, we'll have to cover that on a future. We'll have to circle back future episode. We'll find that cupcakes sketch and those of

Jamie:

you with your coffee sketch podcast, bingo card. That's when you fill in the circle back, you can, you can mark that on your, your, your bingo card right now, circle

Kurt:

back code. It says Cirque Markert says, and Jamie says, mark, the tape is another. They should make a bingo card. That would be kind of fun.

Jamie:

I feel like a holiday bingo card. We can do it as a game and people can like watch and follow along and it can be some emerge. We

Kurt:

need work. We do, we do need some, well, we are working on the coffee beans. This is true. So we need, we need additional swag. Wait, is it swag when it's free and merge? When it costs me. I

Jamie:

think so clearly we are in the business elite care. Right.

Kurt:

We're trying to monetize the podcast with our best guesses. Right. Too much swag, not enough merge. Right? Yeah.

Jamie:

So, what's in your cup.

Kurt:

So I was trying to allude to and shout out to Joel, right? Always a friend I'm where I'm drinking out of the mug that he sent us. That is a local, local roaster of his. So, but in, but today I got speaking of sweets, I got, gifted, since we are near the end of the year. I got a holiday basket from a colleague that included some Godiva, hot chocolate, dark chocolate, hot chocolate. Good diver. So I decided on a day like today to surprise Jamie with a non coffee beverage, that's

Jamie:

that word that flows into the whole cupcake discussion so that I totally approve, especially if you say it's 29 degrees outside. That's crazy.

Kurt:

It is definitely hot cocoa day. It

is

Jamie:

80. It is 80 degrees in Austin, Texas. So,

Kurt:

but for, to protect us, that's hot cocoa day as well.

Jamie:

We probably, yeah. I mean, yeah. It's like, why, why were you

Kurt:

always a cupcake day? It definitely cupcake weather. Yeah. So what about you? I brought

Jamie:

my props today. So,

Kurt:

what is that? They're tweezed of tweeds.

Jamie:

Tweety. Yeah. So, so the, the font should almost look familiar to you. As a new twin peaks connoisseur of the television series. Yeah. So, yes, this is, this is the actual coffee from the cafe. you can, you can, you can order it online and have it delivered. So I got gifted this. Yeah, I know. Isn't that crazy? I didn't know this was a thing, but I found out it was a thing when this arrived as a present

Kurt:

from somebody like, so it's got the twin peaks on the top there. Oh

Jamie:

yeah. I mean, and it comes and it comes with this flag. It does come with some swag. I got the right term. So like there was like a whole

Kurt:

diner. You didn't pay for the extra. Yeah. Well, I mean, it was all a

Jamie:

gift anyway, so I mean, but, yeah, and it says a damn damn fine cup of coffee, home of twin peaks, cherry pie

Kurt:

is that actually.

Jamie:

Yes, it's a real, it's a real place.

Kurt:

The name of the place in the show is a real place. It's a real place. It's probably a stage

Jamie:

now. Maybe it's a real building. It's a real cafe that they've, that

Kurt:

they used

Jamie:

for a location. They used as a, as a real location. Yeah. Can't I can't believe it. Yeah. So you've got the chair. So you can actually go and have in the booth there and cherry pie. Yes. You can do the whole thing. And maybe

Kurt:

I would be afraid, that I'm on now. I forget his name, but he would be out of jail and he'd be walking through the what's his name?

Jamie:

Leo?

Kurt:

No, not Leo, the other, the other, the husband of, the, the coffee shop owner. God, I can't remember the name. Is it? Is it re yeah. Right. Am I right?

Jamie:

Yes. Yeah. So I thought you were, I thought you were talking about Leo. Cause I knew that like early on it was, it was fun watching with you. Cause you're like Leo doesn't seem, he just seems kind of like a punk.

Kurt:

yeah, it's still, I still, so it's still not super, although I've gotten deep enough into it to where, well, I mean it's no spoiler alert. If we talk about, Leo's sort of zombie her paralysis state, is it? I don't know at this point 30 years later, I think, I think,

Jamie:

I think you're not really doing any spoilers now

Kurt:

that that part gets a little, it's a little

Jamie:

strange. Yeah.

Kurt:

But no, the, I think the reason I, I'm more afraid of the ex-husband is the. The fact that I haven't seen that part play out as to his intentions being back. I gotta get, I gotta get back and finish that. And I honestly want it anyway, this is what you got me down there. Twin peaks, rabbit hole, but that's a really nice,

Jamie:

I mean, it was a really nice, so that was Jason

Kurt:

figured it would have been Jason, which good segue to, to Jason is I for fun as I went back and I, I, edited the video portion of our recording with Jason since that was like the first, the first time we had, well, I guess the technical second time, but, our second guest. So, but that was episode 50 sort of a milestone for us. We went back, we had our conversation with Jason, talked about twin peaks. anniversary. So I edited that and put it on our YouTube channel, which is new for the podcast. So anything that we have visual or video side of this thing, well, I'm going to try and get, loaded onto the YouTube so that, that YouTube channel, so that people can also see any of the sketches or engage, visually fantastic our stuff. So, so it was kind of fun that re-edit that. And I did a little bit different, edit kind of, I don't know, I cut it down a tiny bit compared to the audio and, No, that's fine. Now,

Jamie:

now that's like, that's like, it's like extra bonus gifts for me. It's like, I get the coffee, which is actually quite good. But is it, yeah,

Kurt:

it better be

Jamie:

a damn fine. Exactly. I was like, gosh, live up to expectations

Kurt:

here. Does it automatic? Does the instructions tell you to make it as dark as midnight on a, they

Jamie:

need to, they need to, they need to add instructions on the back.

Kurt:

That would be, it's almost like you probably have to do two scoops for every cup,

Jamie:

right. Just like add extra. well now that's actually, that's, that's a nice surprise. Well, great. Awesome. Yeah.

Kurt:

And, and actually, the fun part with YouTube is you can, you have to, well, you have to upload a thumbnail, right? So that you have some kind of, and I have been for the video episodes that we've been doing lately. So 80, 89, 88 going back about five or six episodes. And then now we have the twin peaks episode. I, I use, I've got, a logo or not the logo of the podcast and then our faces and, Instagram,

Jamie:

I saw that. I was like, that looks

Kurt:

pretty slick for the twin peaks one. There's a Easter egg as I swapped out the imagery. So, so the thumbnail is different. So this is going to be a fun one. Okay, cool. I hope you like it. The little cookie. It's a little, twin Pixi.

Jamie:

Okay. Is it the left arm? Is it the left

Kurt:

arm? No, no, no, no, but some other other, reference referential imagery. I should leave it there. Okay. So, so that you can circle. Every time Kurt says, circle back, somebody gets a bingo or

Jamie:

cheers

Kurt:

cheer. So that's fun. Yeah. That's a, that's a fun little, it was fun to go back and do that and, kind of listen to Jason's his take on thing. I really, it's kinda, it's a little embarrassing for me though, because I'm, I still had only seen like one episode and I'm sitting there like, oh, okay. That sounds what time I'm training. I was like, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop.

Jamie:

I know so much more now. Like,

Kurt:

yeah, it's still fun to do though. It was still fun. We should probably do another, maybe.

Jamie:

Yeah, we've talked about watching the movie, the three of us, and maybe we can, work the tech into that. That would be sort of, that'd be sort of a, maybe a special bonus. we've we talk about our outtakes, that would be sort of the special bonus, so that'd be fun.

Kurt:

Yeah. Yeah, that's fine. So, but today we were going to talk about a couple of other things, which are, I have not yet figured out if we have a good segue to the sketches, but

Jamie:

I have one, but I'm not sure it might be. We're just going to, because we went down the twin peaks sort of, sort of spooky little rabbit hole. let's go with the Dallas sketch first. and cause I think in the news, it's sort of almost, absurdist a little bit, I think at this point, but, yeah, you have the right one, Yeah, so there's, so there's a lot of like, if, if you occasionally will look at your news on Twitter or, it was on in the news cycle just for a very, very brief amount of time, but, November 22nd, 1963, JFK was assassinated in Dallas, which was, an incredibly momentous event and incredibly sad and still is very sad to, to think of that. but in the news cycle, there's some weirdness where people think he's coming back from the dead and I'm not gonna go any further, in discussion of that, other than that completely absurd. but I think what, the segway for me is like, let's not go twin peaks. and, let's sort of stick to the sketch because I think, I did the sketch, on, on the anniversary. and, and then you thought it was really, really interesting. and then we got to talking about, the definition of a set of tasks. and so, yeah, this is a, this is the sketch that I did, a couple of weeks ago on, November 22nd, where you wanting to 20, 21,

Kurt:

were you there? Cause you were in

Jamie:

no, no, no. I, I w I wasn't there. Yeah. I had been up there. but, but I wasn't there on this particular day, but it it's, it's, it's a space, I've been a bunch. and so, found an image that I had of it. And, did a quick sketch, from it and, and, and created a little bit of a composition kind of idea, which I think ends up really successful, like way more successful than I thought it was going to be. I thought it might be, the verticality of the lines, in, in the background, because the, the, the empty tomb, that Philip Johnson designed for the site has sort of vertical ribbing on the exterior. And that's really the, the, it's very, very stripped down. There's no ornament, hardly any Orman at all. to the surface of the material. And, and it sort of struck me that, the, the, the, the spacing of that, and then the, the slot where you sort of enter the space. with that familiar linear background that I've been using for skies would, would really kind of allow that, space to get generated in, in a really flat image. and, and sort of a dead on perspective too. so I think it turned out a lot better than I thought so, but I'm curious what your reaction to it. And then I know that we've talked a little bit more, about sort of the architect.

Kurt:

well, yeah, the, the, I mean, yeah, the, the sky, the nice sort of what we call as architects parallel lines, since there's a little squiggle in there, but for an architect that is a, that's a parallel line in a sketch form, but it creates a nice texture in the backdrop to. To the very, I mean, it's a very, austere and quiet, I guess, design, when you, when, when looking at the actual, from a Google map or street view or other photographs from his, his own designs and models of the building to the actual construction of it, I mean, it's a very symmetrical and sort of static a static building. It meant to be kind of relatively quiet and contemplate of, of we, as we talked about. and the, and the construction of it too with, well, before I go into the detail in the building, talk about the sketch. And so the way you've rendered the building, the cenotaph, the, the Memorial space, against the backdrop of the, the sky and, and, sort of one point perspective, It stands out as a very, I mean, it's got a nice sort of presence to it. I guess for 1.1 points can look relatively flat, almost like two dimensional, but in this case, it's still, there's still enough there that represents the bulk or the sort of three-dimensional box frame of this building. Once we get into the detail, the, the volume of the space.

Jamie:

Well, and that's true is I think, I think that's the sort of the tricky part is that, I'm glad you kind of observed that as I don't do one point perspectives very often. I'll, I will do them as diagrams, as I'm sort of thinking through layers of space. but I rarely spend a lot of time on them. so, and I'll maybe do multiple one per one point perspective diagrams, trying different elements. but then I'll, I'll usually when I decide to really render a space, that's when I'll, I'll switch to more of a two point or something, or sort of a different, different kind of interesting vantage point.

Kurt:

Yeah. Well, and the other thing, then to the building or the, I call it a building, but I mean, it, the construction of it, right. it's lifted it's so it's this sort of box open top box, four walls with the space in between that, that you can walk into the center of it. And then when it's lifted a few. Up on the corners and it's either precast, is it a precast structure or a cast in place?

Jamie:

Concrete? I believe, I believe they're all precast elements. cause at the corners they're, they're, they're sort of tied and that's what you're, you're seeing. I don't know how that detailed particularly works. I'm sort of curious about it now that we're talking about it sort of CPAC the buttons there. so my understanding is that, that there are some precast elements that are set into place and then some of the, column structure ends up touching the ground, but in sort of pinpoints and you can see those in the sketch and those track around the edge of the building, or the space, but the, but there's some real strong candle leavers kind of going on as well. to really. Emphasize the notion of this box being floated. And then there's a, a small little plinth, in the center. so you, when you walk, so this one point perspective, the slot goes all the way through. and then it's intersected at the center of the space, with, and these walls are thick too. They're there, they're probably a good, two foot thick panel. so you really kind of feel like you've moved in, through a portal, sort of slipped through it. it's cause it's not poor. Like, it feels like you've sort of slipped into the space. You almost it's wide enough that you don't have to like turn your shoulders or anything like that, but it, it has that presence about it. And so then you kind of enter this empty tomb, and you're confronted by a plant. that is in the center of the space. And so it's, again, this sort of notion of, is this capping something, eh, a cenotaph by definition is a, an empty tomb because somebody has entered, buried somewhere else. their, their remains are, are, are somewhere else. They're not on the, on the particular site, but the, the, it split, it acts as a Memorial here. and this is only two and a half blocks, from daily Plaza and the sixth floor, building, where. All the events of that day really transpired and then the court, and the jail, is also right there. So the, the place where Jack Ruby was, was assassinated, was, well, he wasn't assassinated. Oswald was assassinated, by Jack Ruby. and, and I, and I saw something recently where, and I did not know this, or if I did, I had forgotten it, but the cell that Oswald was being kept in, in the jail, that's like right next to all this stuff. when Jack Ruby ended up getting arrested for assassinating, Oswald, Ruby was put in Oswald's cell, which just to me is just like layers of crazy on top of. but yeah, I think maybe

Kurt:

that there's so much mystique that has grown around the whole, whole, event and hit

Jamie:

well. And I think that the only thing I would add too, cause I know that we're going to talk about another sketch, is, we'd be remiss if we didn't say that Johnson, himself is, arguably a really important architectural figure. But at the same time, one has a very, very complicated history, of which, people, some people aren't, aren't aware of or as they become aware of it, then want to completely, they, they just don't even know how to, to, to battle with the notion of who this person is. I mean, cause he, he was, a Nazi sympathizer. and, but at the same time, was, considered probably the father of the star architect kind of concept, and, and has, and has built, works all over the U S and really, influenced no right or wrong, influenced generations of, of architects and architecture, at least in the United States. and so I think, some of his work is, is really, really interesting to study. And then some of it is, I think people, even on the architecture criticisms, I would say it's pretty terrible. so, it, it, I, I, I throw that in, in the mix. There's a, there's a really good book out right now for, Kind of talking a little bit more about not just the architecture and the influence of somebody, but the multidimensional aspect of this person's life. And, and, and that's by, the Dallas's architecture critic, mark lambster. he has a book about, about Johnson came out of maybe a year, year and a half ago now. but it, it, it doesn't pull any punches. I mean, it definitely, talks about all the terrible things, that, that this person was involved in as well. So,

Kurt:

yeah, that'd be interesting to, to, read, circle back on. So the one thing before we switched. Yeah. I actually was wondering, we, I think we forgot to mention this as Philip Johnson. I don't know. I didn't, I didn't say the name. So this is a Philip Johnson design and, you, you and I did a little Google map tour of Dallas before we started recording. And so there's some interesting, there's a lot of interesting things in, in the development of Dallas, downtown areas, and a lot of notable buildings, but we, we panned over to the book depository building, which is a relatively squarish building, which we know has the six floor, right. Is where the shots were fired from. But this, the, the cenotaph here kind of has this square. Almost, I don't know if it's six stories tall, but it's pretty tall square cube of a building that is lifted, although, and then it's, it kind of has this book. And I mean, I don't want to get too literal, but like the way the form of the, the perimeter of this thing is like open books. I don't know if I don't know what Philip Johnson's concepts were in designing it, but at least at minimum, the square is a square design of the cenotaph has a physical sort of reference to the squarish book, depository structure, a cube in a cube in, in town. So I don't know. That's just something I just kind of thinking as we were painting around.

Jamie:

looked at it that particular way. and, but I, I can say that I am pretty familiar with, with that, that location and, just sort of walking around it. I mean, it it's, it, it is, it is a really, it's a strange space. and, and, and when you say bookend, regardless of the connection to the depository, I think that's, it's, that's one way to sort of grapple with the, the tectonics, the, the form, the shape, of this particular Memorial is it's, it's strange to be outside it. Yeah. Inside. It, it, you get really two very different sensations of where you are in the city. sound really changes, obviously. it's open to the sky. so sort of your James surreal, kind of moment. Yeah. but, it's yeah, I dunno. It's, I think it's, it's a difficult and honestly, too, I think that, there's a lot of folks who, even people, residents of Dallas don't even know what this thing is, which is sort of sad or if they do, it's just sort of like quietly not spoken about, yeah. John, when John Johnson has other works in town too, that are, Maybe not as remarkable, or historically important. but then there are other ones that really are really interesting and pretty, pretty fantastic structures as well. So, but yeah, this, this one, especially on that day is, is one, one that I, I often think about

Kurt:

w what year do what year this was, set in

Jamie:

1970? So, so, yeah, and so it was, apparently Johnson was, very, connected to the, the, the Kennedy family. And, and, so, I, in reading some of his history, and cause it was like, oh, well, how did how did he get selected for this? cause I am pay ended up designing the presidential library, from, which is in Boston. and I think Johnson, might've had some something to do with that as well, but, cause then there's also, but I, I think from what I understand about the library is that, Jacqueline Kennedy, really liked, Pei's work. and, so that's, it can, he was also doing the east wing of the national museum of art on the Smithsonian. so there's, there's a couple, kind of PE projects that are sort of all sort of tied and pay has an important building in Dallas much later, and had done some. Skyscraper work in Dallas as well, which was oil related. And so, I don't know if Johnson had anything to do with those, those selections or influence. cause that was the thing. I think that, it, it's, it's difficult to just completely, I mean, you can't, you definitely have to talk about Johnson's, complicated history, and, and, and CD history, frankly. but at the same time is. influence and connection to a lot of different architects. even in, even in them, from what I understand, even them getting commissions to do other work that he had nothing to do with. so there was a lot of, and I think that's also sort of the king building kind of idea, it's like, oh, I've anointed you as cause my architect of choice this decade, for these types of, these types of projects and on John then John Johnson's estate, there are, a series of pavilions of different artists and architects that he. anointed for a particular period

Kurt:

of time, through, yeah, he didn't always design them himself. There were certain, almost there's a strange, and we can segue to, I mean a collaborator even, I mean he and me work together and, let me switch to the other, sketch, because what we're trying to brainstorm is like a little sort of segue or a tie in with some of these, these two sketches, maybe not physically, as far as their design, but their relationships between the individuals that Philip Johnson and Ms. Van der Rohe. And, and then, having grown up on the east coast and Connecticut, I, I used to. drive past the house, the glass house on occasion in new Canaan. Yeah. Cause I grew up not very far and I actually worked in new Canaan for a little while. And so I would go on my way home. I would just take the long way. well, the, the non highway path, do you take the streets? And I could go through the country side a little bit and, and right, and go right past the glass house and you'd have to stand as a Stonewall on Ponant on the road, Polis Ridge, and then see, you got to kind of get out and you got to like, peek over the Stonewall. Cause it's not at the street. It's pretty far, it's like 40 acres. I think he has maybe a little less and just kind of look at it, but then you see the, you can get glimpses of the other. He treated his property is kind of like this experimental landscape of testing out different. Different styles, different, generations or a what's the word? Not, I don't want to say genre, but, I guess it's just, I don't even want to say the word style either, but just different approaches and techniques, I guess, in construction design, other architects influences and so on. I mean, so he didn't design them all. Yeah, right.

Jamie:

Yeah. Well, I mean, and that's the whole thing is I think that, it's, for those who weren't as familiar with Philip Johnson and might, be looking up, him as an individual is, here's a person that lived into their late nineties and 98, I think. Yeah. 98, I mean, and, and CA came from a family of money and wealth. so who was, but the. the interest in art and architecture, and the influence that he had for, 75, 80 years, while he was, an adult, the, he staged and curated some of the first modern architecture shows, at, at MoMA, at the museum of modern art in New York city. and, and like you said, worked with somebody like who, we're, we're seeing in this sketch and so that, those collaborations that you're sort of alluding to on his property, he was doing that all throughout his. and I, and I think that that's the thing is that it's sort of like, I can almost imagine it jokingly is like Philip Johnson just shows up at your party, and like wants to help you, finish that sketch. but

Kurt:

there was a certain sort of, madman ask if we were to reference the TV show, mad men, that he made architecture, when you will have the recordings that exists of him in conversation and interview. And so on that the sort of he reflects upon it. And the stories kind of sound a little bit, of the era of mad men, like the TV show, the sort of New York, the high paced, New York lifestyle with like, spending, lots of money involved. Sort of this, this sort of aura around it. Right. And, and,

Jamie:

well, I mean, I did get to meet him once. Oh

Kurt:

really? Wow. I never, I never actually, I think I saw him, I peeked over the Stonewall once and I could like, see, see, I could see a guy walking between here that, the guest house and the glass house. Right. They were like next. And I could see a guy that would appear of age and size and stature of, of him that's as far, but that's, a thousand feet away. So where were you, did you, where'd you wind up meeting.

Jamie:

graduates when I was in graduate school.

Kurt:

jury

Jamie:

sort of, it was more like, like listening. Yeah. It was more like a more like we were, we were invited to hear him and his thoughts. but it was, and, and clearly at that point there was, not to go into the complete backstory of why he was on campus, but it was, it was a very interesting moment for, college station, Texas and Texas, a and M to have somebody like Johnson on campus in the architecture college, holding. and, and we were actually at a point where, we were going through our accreditation process. So there was, there was a lot of materials already collected from, multiple levels of the college. and so models, drawings, all that stuff. And so there was an opportunity to display all that in, in our internal gallery and, and then sort of curated. And so he was there and held court for, some of the students, some of the faculty, and, who were in attendance and, kind of talking about things. And I happened to be, in a, in a position where I was able to, meet him, my mentor at the time, and, and had met him, multiple times, and had some very strong opinions about him that he would share with me, in advance of his arrival. but it was, it was nice. I, I did get to meet him, meet him and talk to him, on the side a little bit. and, yeah, he definitely is, there, there are certain people that, that many decades of, architecture and influence, it's, good or bad, it's, it's very evident in their presence. when they can sort of have that recall of, different periods, different buildings in, different places. and, he was, he was really incredibly sharp for, in that he would have been, Yeah, he would have been about, I think he was 90 at the time, so really? Yeah. 89 or 90, so

Kurt:

yeah. Wow. Yeah. So, and I, I, I sort of brought up the, the magnet thing, I mean, but they were pro gave him

Jamie:

a t-shirt. I gave him a t-shirt that I had designed. So I did give him, I did give him a parting gift. I gave him a t-shirt that I had designed under a fewer,

Kurt:

or

Jamie:

probably not probably burned it. but, or used it as a rag dish rag. I'm not that he would like ever wash a dish, like, let's be honest. but for sure it's staffed for that. but he did, I'll just say he signed one of my sketches. and there was a story behind that, that I will save for another day. He, so one of my little black, black sketchbooks has a, Phillip Johnson signature over the top of a drawing that he did not do.

Kurt:

this is the sorts of things that do occur in our, our education, the sequence of years that we go through all the, stages of life, coming in the architecture school, graduate school setting, and then early years working with others and then just being around, juries and things like that. Cause we would, back in, in LA we would go to Cyrex juries, for final reviews and go to UCLA and wood Woodbury because we had these schools of architecture multiple in the city that we could kind of see the different philosophies. And then you get, random every once in a while. somebody like, well in, in my case it would have been, like a Tom Mayne or a Peter Cook or, Pre, often would be found in SCI-Arc. I would love that. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, like kind of thinking back again to what you, your point on like the kingmaker thing though, is that, Philip Johnson, Mies van der Rohe at the time, as their contemporaries to each other and, and kind of elevating to this, this point in, in, in prominence, in the mid century of the country, United States developing all these big buildings, I think that sort of sets up a certain,

Jamie:

air or

Kurt:

a mystique to the profession, or, an added aspect of this profession that isn't, you don't learn that, but you're, if you're around it or exposed to it, there's this sort of lineage to it. Right. So then from when we. Going through school. And I would see even back then, Tom Maine and Wolf, Peter Cook, getting in the room together. And they, I, there was one time there was this weird, special, special lecture that USC put together and it was Wolf Peter Cook and Tom main in the same room. And there was no specific, there was no slides. It was literally just to let them talk, right. They put chairs up on stage. There wasn't even moderation. Like there was no Q and a, or like they did receive, they did field questions from students, but it wasn't, there was no plan. They were just happened to be in LA, I guess at the same time. And Tom mains on the chalkboard and they're like sketching on with chalk, with each other.

Jamie:

And the title of the lecture was Naval gazing.

Kurt:

They got it to this, these all kinds of very debate, they would debate with each other. It was very, it was, it was a really interesting, intriguing, and they

Jamie:

needed what they needed was Zaha Hadid, who is also they're contemporary. They need, yeah. They needed her, like at the, at the edge of the table, like just like, as they debated with one another, that would have been,

Kurt:

yeah, I'm trying to remember if I've ever. I think I saw her speak once at CyArk. I want to say, but I don't know. Had, have you ever,

Jamie:

I did. I got to, I did get to see her speak once, which was fantastic. in Philadelphia actually, there was she keynoted, AI national one, one year. She was one of the keynotes and it was the most bizarre setup. and. Like she was, she was fantastic. I mean, once she got into her kind of more prepared remarks, but I just recall, like when she started to talk, it was like, it reminds me like, in like today's terms, it would be like when there's technical difficulties on the zoom and somebody is having difficulty with the zoom, and, like kind of like, is this mic on, can you hear me now? Kind of, kind of concept, but it wasn't, she wasn't doing that. It was, she was started getting ready and she had been introduced and she kind of walked up and was, getting ready to speak. And there was like, like firms, like over to the side and she could hear people talking, behind her. None of us in the audience could, could hear or see them, but she kind of made some like offhand remark, like, for the people in the firms, like, I can still hear you talking, or something like that. And it was just like, let's show some respect to the person who's at the mic and, Claire clearly the keynote, it was like, yes, like let's show her some respect. I mean, we, we, we of course couldn't hear any of that. So it was just, it was sort of this weird, like she kind of pivots and sort of says something off to the side, but it was like, as much as she was saying it for their benefit, she was also saying it for our benefit. and I was like, yes.

Kurt:

Yeah, yeah. It's probably, yeah. Back in the, in the days before, like where they had, the conferences evolved over the years and now they do this sort of theater in the round, but back then it was more plenum or plenary. What do you call it? A percentage of them style, age on the end, and everybody's sit, sort of facing the stage and they did have. Green room, as there's a lot of

Jamie:

back of house back of house spaces. Yeah. Well, and it was funny was the, just as you talked about the panel that made me think is they did. So she spoke in the keynote and then she was also on sort of a panel, with other kind of, luminary architects, that were at, in attendance and who were speaking in different capacities. I don't remember all the people that were on her panel. other than that Legorreta was on the panel with her. and, and also Denise Scott Brown. Oh, I don't know if Venturi might've been also on the panel, but I'm not sure, but it was very, very evident that Denise Scott Brown and Zaha did not like one another. and, but, but not from a, like a, like a disrespectful kind of way. It was just that they had very, very different points of view about architecture and design and theory. And they were, the two of them were having this fantastic debate. at least this is me kind of in my mind remembering it. and that leg rata could not keep up. Like he just like, he was not able to, like, and so it was like, why don't we just like, let him go get a coffee or something to like, let the two of them just keep going. This is great. Like, we can do this another hour. Kind

Kurt:

of it is fun. The, I think nowadays, I feel like they plan, they plan out things so much more to sort of prescribe or script it to a degree that you don't get those serendipity, moments where the two of four panelists will just go on a, tear on their own, on their own tangent. And so on. Like kind of like the, I mean, I w the thing at USC was not as big as the national conference, but back then, I could, I could imagine the, the personalities, I think that this is, there are a lot of good, great architects that are practicing right now that are, sort of the next generation. We were kind of going off on this sort of a tangent on the sort of lineage of different, or the family tree of architecture. But it's really interesting to think, there's a lot of really, Really good architecture being done now by another generation, but there's not really, I don't know if it's possible to have that same level of sort of personality that, the, the generation with Saha and Tom Mayne and Wolf and, and then go back to MES and Philip Johnson and, probably Gropius and, and, people of that, that other generation. Right. And, and, and I don't know what, what is changed it, right? Is it like the sort of digitization and social media availability? And cause I was recently, I dunno what I was watching a YouTube video of some, some other architecture story or something like that, but you only had, You either had these interactions, like in a live setting and then you had magazines and books and other ways to, there was no YouTube, there was no social media. And although all the available outlets now that you can kind of curate a presence right. Or, or a persona. And so, I don't know that, there's a lot of good architects now, but there's not that sort of attitude that,

Jamie:

well, I think it makes sense. It does. I mean, I know where you're coming from and I think it's, if they, what was unique about that generation and maybe some generations a little bit before that were that a lot of them also wrote, there was a, they were doing a lot of. and, and then, and also there was a lot of writing about them. and so I think that some of that was trying to distill these kinds of concepts into words and sort of dissect them and debate them. and I think that were, and there was also a level of architecture criticism, both in the public discourse, or at least to some degree in the public discourse. people, you had some. Some good architecture critics in some of the major metropolitan areas that we're trying to talk about, bigger ideas, right or wrong, where they capturing all the ideas that they needed to be talking about. Societaly I don't think so, but, it's, it was interesting. It was, it was, and I think that there's some overlap with what you're, what you're referring to, but I would maybe take the counter-argument that there, there are a lot of, architects, architecture firms that I think are having, are shifting the dialogue, and the theory and for lack of a better term, and, and are presenting those things. But I'm just not sure that the, I think what's maybe different is. It's not that the ideas are any less valid or any, and I don't think that's what you were saying, or, or, or any less influential it's. I think that we're, before there was a level of curation that was being done from unseen forces, these sort of systemic forces of sort of curation. So it was, it was easier to digest, movements and trajectories and, and influential individuals. And now, where the level of curation is that we're, we're able to access so much more information. Yeah. as a profession that, that, there's more out there and that the concepts of team and partnerships and different parts of the different parts of the world, that weren't necessarily part of the, the road course of architecture history, very narrow slice of it. I think all of those influences are, are now much more accessible. Maybe not as accessible as they need to be, but they're much more accessible. And I think that's, it's, it's made for almost too much information probably, for a profession to digest. like what I think of when you were sort of talking about sort of the influences was less about the people and more about sort of the movements and concepts and sort of the genealogy of the concepts. and so like, I think of like Charles Jenks and that sort of, that history diagram that he has, where he sort of tries to tries to draw the influences, and, and, and allow people to kind of occupy the different spaces. Yeah. I would love for somebody like that, to exist today and try and tackle, sort of not necessarily reinterpret what he did, but sort of tackle it in a way that that allows for, multiple entry points. because I think that that's what you're sort of alluding to, is that, there, there might be, like if you were going to school today, there, there, there might be. Depending on, on, who's helping you curate it, different veins of, of knowledge because there's, there's so much more to, to gain access to, I think I just went down my own little rabbit hole there for a

Kurt:

moment. I think that's, also, yeah, you, I think you explained some of what I was thinking a little bit

Jamie:

better,

Kurt:

especially with the GenX diagram and then,

Jamie:

yeah, well, and, and you and I have talked about this a million times is that it's things like this sketch here is that it's or your experience in new Canaan. It's like, it's like what that mentor that I was talking about with Philip Johnson, one of the things he would, he would do a lot of architecture, criticism and war architecture review as a historian and as an architect. And one of the things that he would often say is I'm not going to give you my review of a particular building until I've been there. Yeah. until I've actually gotten on the plane and flown to wherever it is to actually go and see it and walk around and experience, he goes, yeah, I can look at the photos too. I can read the plans. I can, I can hear the interview with the architect or architecture firm. but I want, wanna go and experience it because somebody is, is, is curating that experience for me, until, until I have the experience myself, and put my point of view in the, in the, in the, in the discussion, like Jamie has entered the chat, then how, how is it going to influence me? And so like for me, studying somebody, like me said, I'd seen some nice buildings, but this I have not been to new Canaan. I, I, I do want to go. but I have been to the barns. which has been recently renamed, Edith, Edith Farnsworth house. and it's no longer referred to as the, the misclass house, cause it wasn't even Mrs. House. It was this other person who had, was the patron of it. Yeah, the client.

Kurt:

Nothing. None of that matters and not zero. It's recording now. Hey, at least we didn't get 45 minutes in and go, oh shit. Rookie mistake. All right. Ready? Well, we'll try that again. It was pretty good though. All right. Ready?