Oh goody. Preston Scott Cohen is grilling Thom Mayne in Piper tonight. He asked him about style. Mayne, presenting himself as someone who solves problems and steers a process without a priori formal notions, said "Oh, I don't think about style. I'm very ambivalent with aesthetics." PSC said "But why does this building (the Cooper Union project) look like that? Can you tell us about that?" Then Mayne said "it has to be that way. That's the only way it can be." PSC said "Oh really." He then proceeded to crit the facade's changing nature, from volume to a surface of one kind to another (folded, cut, etc.), and said "now this is voluntary." He also described the facade as "hiking the skirt" and asked "now, why do you hike the skirt?" And so on. He was drawing on the facade to make his point. He is not letting Mayne off the hook and I love it. It's the opposite of the kid-glove, being nice to the 80 year old man treatment that Mr. Gehry got last week.
[Addendum as of October 2: On a more fun note, I forgot to add that later in the discussion, partly in response to a question from the audience about a project that the questioner perceived as "sensual," Mayne said something to the effect of "that wasn't it at all; I don't think about sex." All I have to say about that is that you should never trust a man who claims not to think about sex (or an architect, about aesthetics.)
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