Anyone Corporation
Anyone Corporation _     Log _     Writing Architecture Series _     Any Publications
Observations Store About
Follow on Facebook Join our newsletter



Funny, Crazy, Silly: Lyrics for the Suspension of Architectural Disbelief John McMorrough Figments of the Architectural Imagination Todd Gannon The Architectural Imagination Cynthia Davidson Detroit Rock City:
An Urban Geology
SAA/Stan Allen Architect Revolving Detroit Preston Scott Cohen Inc. New Corktown Present Future The New Zocalo Pita & Bloom A Situation Made From Loose and Overlapping Social And Architectural Aggregates MOS Dequindre Civic Academy Marshall Brown Projects Mexicantown: A Liminal Blur Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects Center for Fulfillment, Knowledge, and Innovation Greg Lynn FORM The Next Port of Call BairBalliet Promised Land Air A(n) Office Detroit Reassembly Plant T+E+A+M A New Federal Project Zago Architecture Free the Robots! Antoine Picon Do Humans Dream of Robotic Seals? Paola Antonelli Along the Frontier of Resolution Erin Besler & Ian Besler Death and Robots Nicholas de Monchaux & Ken Goldberg Difference and Repetition Tom Daniell Toward the Body of Work Michael Meredith How Soon Is Now? Ten Problems and Paradoxes in the Work of Dogma
Christophe Van Gerrewey
Logistics Takes Command Francesco Marullo Broad Strokes Joe Day
I don't want to cut a cookie out of my life. Christina Tosi with Savinien Caracostea Labor in the Logistical Drawing Meredith TenHoor Log 34: The Food Issue Launch and Discussion, Cooper Union, July 21, 7pm Rirkrit Tiravanija: Meaning Is Use Daniel Birnbaum Mulino Bianco; or, The Italian Invention of Postmodernity Mario Carpo Off-Camera with Jacques Pépin Cynthia Davidson Charm Everywhere Shantel Blakely Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon to Curate the U.S. Pavilion Exhibition in the 15th International Architecture Biennale in Venice OOO & Architecture: Log 33 Authors in Conversation, Parsons The New School For Design, April 15, 7PM Weird Architecture Luis Fernández-Galiano Observations on Urban Forestry Chelsea Spencer The Architectural Gesture Noam Andrews Containment Tom Daniell The Nightingale's Song Sanford Kwinter The Object Turn: A Conversation Todd Gannon, Graham Harman, David Ruy & Tom Wiscombe Support the Anyone project Our Chances. How Bernard Tschumi’s retrospective quietly reaffirmed the case for architectural conjecture during the summer of fundamentalism Jeffrey Kipnis The Silent Witness Gustavo Alonso Serafin A Conversation with Odile Decq Cynthia Davidson The Polis of Gestures Paola Nicolin The Big Convention Dora Epstein Jones Whiplash Sanford Kwinter Sebald’s Burning Train Stations and Monstrous Courthouses Kurt W. Forster Log 31 Launch & Discussion at SCI-Arc July 17, 7 PM The Pas de Chat: A Modern Tale of Discipline and Reward Dora Epstein Jones The Shanghai Expo and the Rise of Pop-Arch Mark Jarzombek What Kinds of Copies? Urtzi Grau & Cristina Goberna Log 31 Launch & Discussion at Columbia GSAPP July 10, 6 PM Beyond the Querelle Bryony Roberts The Architectural Project and the Historical Project: Tensions, Analogies, Discontinuities Daniel Sherer New Ancients Dora Epstein Jones & Bryony Roberts Call for Observations: Log 32 A Conversation with Elia Zenghelis Cynthia Davidson #hashtag Benjamin Burdick The Critical Problem, Or, Talking Shop Peggy Deamer Can tectonics grasp smoothness? Wes Jones Chandigarh, Noted David Huber Dom-ino: Archetype and Fiction Antoine Picon Letter from Charles Edouard Jeanneret to Auguste Perret, March 21, 1916 Charles Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) Architectural Coexistence: Twins, Logs, and the Ecology of Things Pia Ednie-Brown Log's Dom-ino Promotion Observations on Architecture and the Contemporary City Cynthia Davidson Mercedes-Benz Museum UNStudio Involution, Ambience, and Architecture Emmanuel Petit Campus Restaurant and Event Space Barkow Leibinger LCV C+S architects Possibilitarianism Sarah Whiting TID Tower 51N4E Herta and Paul Amir Building, Tel Aviv Museum of Art Preston Scott Cohen, Inc. Faster, But Slower Sam Jacob O-14 Reiser + Umemoto Villa Buggenhout OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen EDF Archives Center LAN HL23 Neil M. Denari Architects Lying Fallow Sylvia Lavin Element House MOS In Pursuit of Architecture
September 21, 2013
I am for tendencies Jeffrey Kipnis I want to argue that contemporary scholarship be cast as a sort of ongoing counter-memory to familiar historical narratives Felicity D. Scott I am trying to imagine a radical free-market urbanism Patrik Schumacher I am interested in a project of engaged autonomy Sarah Whiting I do not mind people being innocent, but I hate when they're naive Bernard Tschumi Architecture is a technology that has not yet discovered its agency Elizabeth Diller If I can take a ride in a driverless car on a public street, then I see no reason why my building can't wiggle a little Greg Lynn Taking Stock: Architecture 2013 Anthony Vidler Log Tote Bags Now Available Phyllis Lambert in Conversation with Cynthia Davidson at Van Alen Books
May 2, 7 PM
Georges Teyssot at Van Alen Books
April 24, 7 PM
Le pari(s) de BKK Francois Roche Hong Kong's Shifting Grounds Julie Rose Projects for the Post-Ironic City Emmanuel Petit Piles, Puddles, and other Architectural Irritants Timothy Hyde The stupid matter, or, some thoughts that rhyme and don't Malak Helmy "Nothing Serious" Tom Daniell The Theology Of Tabula Rasa: Walter Benjamin And Architecture in The Age of Precarity Pier Vittorio Aureli Two Hundred and Eighty-Eight Lines Mark Morris Wild Physics: Design at the Outskirts of Town Brian Boigon Building Scenarios: Milstein Hall Cynthia Davidson Signs of Their Time: Calculated Formal Excesses of Digital Ornament, Part I Ingeborg M. Rocker Sleeper(s) Christopher Pierce Representations Massimo Scolari Digital Darwinism: Mass Collaboration, Form-Finding, and the Dissolution of Authorship Mario Carpo Modernity's Opiate, or, The Crisis of Iconic Architecture Simone Brott A Conversation with Yona Friedman Manuel Orazi The Tragedy of the Commons? Sanford Kwinter In the Cause of Architecture: Traversing Design and Making Iain Maxwell & Dave Pigram Architecture as a Practice of Biopolitical Disobedience Beatriz Preciado Volatile Formation Roland Snooks The Report of My Death Sylvia Lavin Architecture on the Wire: Resilience Through Vitality Pia Ednie-Brown Reclaim Resi[lience]stance //......R2 Francois Roche Never Demolish:
Bois-le-Pretre Regrows in Paris
Craig Buckley Contextual Counterpoint in Architecture Charles Jencks The Historicity of the Modern Daniel Sherer Of Raspberries, Rawhide, and Rhetoric Todd Gannon The Return of the Repressed Tom Daniell Location Location Location – or, for whom they built holes Jeffrey Kipnis Tenderness Sylvia Lavin Up Against the Wall: Colin Rowe at La Tourette Anthony Vidler Digital Syle Mario Carpo 53 Questions for Preston Scott Cohen Labor and Architecture: Revisiting Cedric Price's Potteries Thinkbelt Pier Vittorio Aureli Design Hacking: The Machinery of Visual Combinatorics Andrew Witt Wagnerism Embodied Joseph Clarke English Pastoral Andrea Phillips Requiem in White Nicholas de Monchaux What Plastic Wants Brennan Buck Esprit futur Simone Brott 53 Questions for Robert A.M. Stern Luca Farinelli Log part of ARCHIZINES exhibition at Architectural Association 53 Questions for Stan Allen Luca Farinelli Log 23 Launch with Nicholas de Monchaux at Van Alen Books, October 27 Results: Log's Second Ever Postcard Competition Event: Log in Conversation with Mario Carpo at Van Alen Books
September 29
Caroline O'Donnell Gets Ugly . . . The Second Ever Log Postcard Competition Superstudio Resurfaces with its Book of Exorcisms Log and San Rocco: Text vs. Image
at Van Alen Books Thursday, August 9 at 7pm
Sylvia Lavin Exposes Excess Book Talk and Signing:
The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture by Pier Vittorio Aureli
Tom Daniell Tells a Story of Names Ingeborg M. Rocker Traces
The Idea of Style
Patrik Schumacher Campaigns for Parametricism Mark Jarzombek Curates Critical Impossibilities Rem Koolhaas Forges Into Preservation Walter Benjamin's Unconscious Detlef Mertins Anycorp Featured in Exhibition at CCA Observations On Resistance Ariane Lourie Harrison Taking Note of Transformation Sylvia Lavin The Real and the Virtual Cynthia Davidson Meet the Nelsons Wes Jones A Conversation with Charles Gwathmey Cynthia Davidson and Charles Gwathmey ...

53 Questions for Robert A.M. Stern

Luca Farinelli

November 2011

Between February and August of this year, Luca Farinelli met with some 20 architects, critics, and historians and presented them with an identical sequence of questions, recording each meeting on video. Conversations with Emilio Ambasz, Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, Bjarke Ingels, and Thom Mayne can be found in Log 23 (Fall 2011). We continue publishing those interviews here with Robert A.M. Stern, Dean and J.M. Hoppin Professor of Architecture at the Yale School of Architecture and founder and senior partner in the firm of Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York City.

Place of birth?
New York City.


What is your profession?
Architect and . . . well, let's stick to that.

Mountains or sea?
The sea.

Beatles or Rolling Stones?

Lady Gaga or Beyonce?
Couldn't care less.

Mac or PC?
Never turned on a computer my entire life.

Do you ride the wave or do you resist it?
Depends on the day, depends on the situation. Sometimes I ride, sometimes I resist. Basically, I may be more of a contrarian than not.

Do you spell architecture with a capital A?

What is your favorite color?
I don't have favorites of anything except yellow socks.

Plan or section?
I can't imagine doing a building without either, but I start with the plan.

Axonometric or perspective?

Plastic or tectonic?
What is plastic? Do you mean blobs? I'm a tectonic guy.

Is the architect a victim of circumstances?
I can't generalize. I think most architects are, but I like to think that I'm not.

Can architecture be used as a language?
Architecture has its own languages. There are many languages of architecture, but they are specifically architectural.

Is architecture a means or an end?
To the architect it might be an end, but to the rest of the world it is a means. Tricky.

Is architecture democratic?
I don't think architecture has a politics.

Should architecture be democratic?
I don't think architecture should have a politics.

Spider, bee, or ant. Which is the best architect?
I've never given it a thought.

Is architecture masculine or feminine?
I don't have an impression of that.

One of your favorite buildings?
I never cite favorite buildings.

Farnsworth House or Glass House?
Glass House, by personal association. But that doesn't mean I don't admire the Farnsworth House.

Corb or Mies?
Depends on the day.

Less or more?

Form follows function?
Form follows form, to quote Philip Johnson.

What are Corb's five points for a new architecture?
What is this, a quiz? The horizontal window, the pilotis, the use of the roof, the wall separated from the frame . . . I missed the free plan.

Greco-Roman or Gothic?
I am a classicist, but it doesn't mean I can't be a Gothicist when I need to be.

Collage City or Spatial City?
Spatial City? That's not a city, that is a fanta-city.

Whites or Grays?
Gray. If I had known what your questions were going to be I would have worn a gray suit.

Is there architecture without architects?
I suppose there is. Yes!

Is there architecture without buildings?

Is architecture autonomous?
In the sense that it has its own language of expression and grammar and so forth, it has independence or autonomy. But architecture exists in the larger context of the world, Pier Vittorio Aureli notwithstanding.

Is Main Street OK?
Almost all right, quoting Bob Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. But some Main Streets are more OK than others.

Global or local?
You have to be global and local in the 21st century. The search is to find a reasonable ground between global and local, and to negotiate the challenges posed by global forces, which often don't want you to be local when your heart tells you that you should be local.

Portrait or landscape?
Do I like tall buildings versus horizontal buildings? The vertical window. The human proportion. I don't design my buildings for people who are sleeping.

Everything is architecture. Is it?

What is the greatest architectural invention of the past 20 years?

Double envelope. Is the inside to be reflected on the outside?
The wall is a mediator between the inside and the outside. The degree to which the one is reflected on the other -- and it could go either way -- is a matter of intention on the architect's part and circumstance in terms of the actual programmatics. There are no absolute rules in architecture in that sense. When you have a language you can say an infinite number of things. If the language isn't flexible enough to say many different things it's not a very useful language.

Dubai. Yay or nay?
It's not my business to vote on cities.

Is the blob formal excess or lack of form?
It is both, I think. I don't even think about the blob anymore. I thought it was formless, or to put it another way, it was not my kind of form.

Is utopianism still alive?
Maybe, but ask somebody who is a utopian by inclination. Don't ask me, I'm not a utopian. I'm pragmatic, a realist.

Is architecture hiding behind technology?
A lot of architecture does hide behind technology. A lot of architects, too many architects, hide behind technology.

Is the architect a specialist or a generalist?
An architect should be a specialist in architecture and a generalist in the larger circumstances architecture must intersect with or be part of. The architect needs to be both.

Is the city a place or a condition?
We use the word city too loosely. Cities I admire are places; urban areas are conditions. The city is a place; urbanism is a condition. We say that most people in America live in cities, but there is not much evidence to support that claim. We describe cities in demographic terms or in statistical terms, but that doesn't make a city, that makes an urban area.

Did print kill or did it create architecture?
Print certainly didn't create architecture. Architecture existed long before print.

Did animation kill or did it reinvent architecture?
For a while it threatened to kill architecture. Fortunately architecture is a very lively and robust phenomenon, so it is surviving animation.

Will simulation kill or enhance architecture?
It will enhance our capacity to develop architecture. It is a very useful tool.

Is the architect working for the client or for society?
Specifically, for the client, but conceptually, or in his heart, the architect must work for society. And the architect must also work for the art of architecture.

Between art and science, where is architecture situated?
It is not a science. It is an art. It is the art of the possible. Maybe I should say it is an art of the possible.

Is digital technology redefining architecture, or is it confusing the architect?
I think digital technology is redefining the ways that the architect can undertake architecture. It opens up new avenues for architectural expression, or form, if you want to use that word, but it doesn't change architecture. Last night, when I was in Grand Central Terminal, I saw people taking pictures of the station, thrilled by the great room that lies at the heart of the station. I've never seen anybody take pictures like that in a digitally generated building thus far. I'm still waiting.

Is architecture a conservative discipline?

Is the West going through a midlife crisis?
I don't know.

Is architecture itself in crisis, or the solution to it?
Throughout my entire career in architecture, which dates back to 1960, I've been told architecture is in crisis. If there were a patient on an operating table who had been in crisis for 50 years that patient would be long dead. It is impossible to be in crisis perpetually. The word crisis has been way overused and misunderstood. Architecture is always confronting changing circumstances of its own production and of its own purpose in the world. It has one main purpose, which is to make beautiful buildings to define important occasions.

Find more conversations in Log 23 (Fall 2011)

Robert A.M. Stern. Photo: Luca Farinelli.