Authentic Moment


During the conclusion of the article “Should we Resurrect Dead Buildings,” Mr. Betsky starts thinking about authenticity in architecture. I would argue that this could be the same conclusion with anything, in any moment. His argument for not resurrecting designs of the past is that they aren’t authentic. They aren’t new. They don’t respond to current context, nor do they solve present problems. They are simply the paint-by-numbers representation of the original.

I think that’s true for this architectural argument. So, too, do I think this is applicable to relationships. We can never resurrect a lost love or a romantic moment because the context is always different. We could write a play and act out the moment, but while it’s representational of the original, and might even fill a romantic pang from our own experiences, and it might even share our remembrances with others, it will never be authentic because it exists out of time.

Authenticity, then, is a function of time. It occurs and exists only in the time it was meant to respond to and never occurs again. If we lives with RAM brains, we would never remember what has passed and everything would be authentic because we are living in the now.

It is what it is and can never be something it is not. Print that on a t-shirt!

Photo by CamiliaTWU, Creative Commons, no changes made

Should we resurrect dead buildings?

A Full Measure

“Do you think she meant what she said?” He looked over at me with the expression of someone trying to discover the secret to the magic trick he’d just witnessed.

“What?” I said, looking up from the sketch I was working on. Admittedly, when I work on design solutions, I tend to close off the world around me. “What are we talking about?”

“This morning in that meeting in the editor’s office. Becky said offhandedly that she didn’t think I was giving this project my full time and attention.” The furrow in his brow deepened. I couldn’t tell if it was out of concern or annoyance.

“In my experience,” I began, “whether joking or not, people generally say what they mean. If they’re too self-conscious about the possible repercussions from the statement or they think it’ll cause too much drama, they may shroud it in distracting emotions like humor or indifference. But, yeah, I think she meant what she said. The question for you is, was she right?”

“What kind of response is that?” he said defensively. “I always give full time and attention to my work!” he exclaimed. Incredulity  washed across his face, causing me to count that with my “really?” face.

“Are you telling me that you haven’t been distracted at all since…you know? That you’ve always been fully present? How many times have you avoided my phone calls in the evening or been too busy for meetings?”

Thinking back to the events and we’d both experienced in the past two months prompted me to remind him that neither one of us had been fully present after getting back from Badger Creek. The events of those three nights and the investigation that has persisted since then have drawn our attention in every direction that didn’t involve work.

I know where my bread is buttered. I know that I must produce drawings each and every day to continue to pay bills. I know that sometimes the events of daily life interfere with the rigor of project schedules. I also know that work is my escape. It does indeed allow me to close the outside world and allow for the slow progress of time. They say that heals wounds. Right now, that’s what I’m banking on. (part one)

Image by Stephen Depolo, Creative Commons License, No Modifications

Drifting and Weightlessness

Tonight I was finally watching The Grand Tour, and the Hamster was learning how to drift. During the segment, they showed the car moving around the wet circle of pavement from above and I noticed that it was the same motion as orbiting the planet earth. Richard was trying to keep the car moving in a force vector beyond the center of the circle in much the same way we humans orbit the earth.

If you don’t know, orbiting the earth is about trying to fall back without really falling back. What? Yes. I’m right. We continually fall to Earth without getting to point in the fall where we actually “fall.” Drifting a car is the same concept, only on a horizontal plane. The idea is to keep the force vector pointed beyond the point where the car would rotate around and stop. If you are successful, the car will pivot forever (until you run out of gas) around the center without actually getting there!

I love physics!


I’ve been intrigued by the introduction of the mini-house, the micro-house, or even the little house for a while now. Of course, these have been around in their essence for a long time. Since the sixties, it seems, there has been an element of humanity that strive to live in as little a footprint as possible. The Japanese have done this with their hotel-pod idea for a couple of decades now. Theirs may have spawned because of the need to live in as tight an area as possible for as many people as possible. In the future, I’d like to explore the notion of Japanese society that is confined by their physical geography, but that is another post.

What has fascinated me about the small house idea is that, as Americans, we’ve made this notion solely a mobile solution. Why is that? At first, the small house was thought of as an answer to housing affordability, especially after the housing crash. They were very small and were built on a single axle trailer. Young couples could purchase a “home” for twenty thousand dollars and live out their twenties. Great idea!

More and more people started cashing in on the notion that these were popular and they grew an axle. Today, I saw a triple axle “small house.” Doesn’t that begin to defeat the purpose? How big is a small house before it’s a big house? I think three axles (approximately 30,000 pounds of materials) deserves a “big house” designation, don’t you? When was the last time you saw a fifth-wheel trailer with three axels? And when you did, how big was it? Giant! That’s how big it was. Giant.

And, that brings me to my next point. Why do they need to be mobile? Why aren’t folks designing these for a campus-style housing development? I mean, if I want a granite countertop kitchen on wheels, I’d just buy an expensive fifth-wheel, wouldn’t I? I mean really! The fifth-wheel industry does a much better job of working with materials that are light and luxurious so the American travel dollar stretches even further than ever before.

Okay, here’s my final point, and the rallying cry of this post. You carpenters that started the tiny house trend, work with developers and Architects to show the world how tiny houses could be a viable option for community-builiding!  Thanks.