Saturday, May 23, 2009

Charlie Rose Interviews Frank Gehry + Renzo Piano

The show is a full hour, and very interesting. Each man emphasizes the seriousness of architecture's purpose and the importance of an engaged client. These two "starchitects" seem more humbled by the process than we have given them credit for. At one point, in discussing the NYT team for the new NYT building design, Gehry explains why he walked away from the job: the body language and attitude of the NYT team scared him. He makes this comment in a way that does not connote arrogance, but, rather, a longing for the playful process he has come to revere as the essence of creativity. Renzo Piano was awarded the job.

Renzo Piano discusses, among other ideas, the aesthetic of sustainability, which he believes is the inspiration driving the 21st Century. Simplified, he describes a sustainable building as one that "talks and breathes with nature." We liked his thoughts that architecture is the art of building emotion and that the idea of beauty is changing with the idea of sustainability. This beauty, he feels is the one thing that can compete successfully against the ethos of power and money. Piano is from a long line of builders. When his father learned that Renzo was going to study architecture he said to his son, "Why become and architect, when you could be a builder?" We guess this is a global contention of practices that will never end.

As each man discusses his life and work, the mind gratefully returns to contemplate some of the bigger issues of the practice of architecture.

1 comment:

paul bowman said...

Watched this a couple of times (not with rapt attention, since I was doing other things — but with interest throughout, nevertheless). Thanks for posting it.

I'm sure I'll go to my grave not quite knowing what to think of Gehry's best-known work. I respond more comfortably (though perhaps not critically enough) to an elegant modernism like much that comes from Piano's office. But Gehry's the more interesting phenomenon as an architect/artist personality of our time, surely. And he's wonderful to listen to in interviews, so straightforward, so good-natured, hardly ever saying more than necessary. You can't help liking him.