Gay Architects


I think we need a blind taste test (pardon the pun).

Go experience a series of buildings (I don't think looking at photos is enough) and then speculate about whether or not the architect is gay.

What ridiculousness. If you think that orientation alone is manifested in a designer's work, I think you should reevaluate that position. If a designer's signature is on the work, it's because they choose that, which is not a result of their orientation, but rather their personality, or at least how they choose to show that through their work.

So again, it really comes down to the person as a whole, not simply their sexual identity.

Another thing is that as homosexuality becomes marginally more accepted in our culture (and profession), expressions of such also become more acceptable. Maybe Johnson's work doesn't "seem gay" because he was hiding his homosexuality out of necessity... but then again even after he outed himself, it's not like his work radically shifted. This reaffirms my belief that I don't think sexuality has anything to do with it, or at least not any more than any other culturally-reinforced personality trait.

Jun 24, 09 10:36 am

SDR-- I'm gay. Does that really surprise you.

Dustin: with reference to your proposed blind taste test-- consider Johnson's AT&T Bulding and its campy, Chippendale crown.

Then read this:

Jun 24, 09 11:14 am

And I quote:

"51. The peculiar relation between Camp taste and homosexuality has to be explained. While it's not true that Camp taste is homosexual taste, there is no doubt a peculiar affinity and overlap. Not all liberals are Jews, but Jews have shown a peculiar affinity for liberal and reformist causes. So, not all homosexuals have Camp taste. But homosexuals, by and large, constitute the vanguard -- and the most articulate audience -- of Camp. (The analogy is not frivolously chosen. Jews and homosexuals are the outstanding creative minorities in contemporary urban culture. Creative, that is, in the truest sense: they are creators of sensibilities. The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony.) "

Jun 24, 09 11:18 am

from the archinect vault:

face the fax

Mies van der Rohe architecture is so gay!
"less is more" -- how gay can you get?
Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture is so gay!
and the hat and cape he wore -- how gay can you get?
Le Corbusier architecture is so gay!
promenade architecturale -- how gay can you get?
Trumbauer and Abele architecture is so gay!
gosh is that stuff gay!!!
Koolhaas architecture -- gay! gay! gay!
Koolhaas architecture -- gay! gay! gay!
Libeskind architecture, that's gay with a beard!
Lebbeus Woods architecture, that crazy mixed-up gay!
Paul Rudolph architecture, well there's a sado-masochist in every crowd.
Look around, you're all gay!
04/03/05 8:28

I think Rudolph's architecture would make a fun study while consideing his sexuality. "Brutalism" as sado-masochism, fancy-dress balls, etc. Do you think maybe he was a power bottom?

I don't think his homosexuality went all that unnoticed though. It certainly doesn't appear to have escaped Stirling's notice.
06/08/05 12:55

Jun 24, 09 12:30 pm

But see, again, I think it's not about hetero- or homosexuality, but about the person behind that sexuality, and how they express it through their work.

For example, Carlo Mollino was a straight architect/designer/renaissance man who brought his fetish for fetish into the realm of his designs. He was not gay, but he expressed his sexual inclinations through his work. Gay and straight people are capable of this; it has nothing to do with which sexuality we're talking about, but rather the person's desire to express it.

'Camp' might be associated with homosexuality, but it's not exclusive to that particular demographic. Nor is moral seriousness restricted to jews. See what I'm saying?

Jun 24, 09 12:39 pm

Having said all that, I will note that I have a background in body modification (body piercing, scarring, rituals, etc.) and homosexual men were definitely the early pioneers of that type of sexual expression, and they probably continue to push the boundaries more than their straight counterparts. It's a generalization, but this is essentially an endorsed and agreed-upon view. What's interesting is that this type of sexual expression has gone mainstream, and now clients for this type of work represent the full spectrum of the population, with the large majority now being straight. Gay men (and a few notable women) were the pioneers and innovators, but straight men (and women) have run with it, which to me means that it's probably latent in most people (external sexual expression, I mean).

It's lunch and my blood sugar is running low so I'll end on this: we're all peacocks.

Jun 24, 09 12:45 pm
'Camp' might be associated with homosexuality, but it's not exclusive to that particular demographic. Nor is moral seriousness restricted to jews. See what I'm saying?

Yes, Dustin, I see what you're saying-- you've reiterated the Sontag quote that I posted. You and I seem to be on the same page.

I'm not making any claims that sexuality is the sole determinant of design sensibilities, but that it can be one determinant among many others.

It's nice to see that people are actually talking about this.

Jun 24, 09 12:48 pm

this is ridiculous. it was just a question.

Jun 26, 09 3:06 am

Gays are played out. That was cool about 10 years ago. Now we know better.

Jun 28, 09 12:39 am

Sounds like the charming comment I received, sitting with my straight boss in a straight bar in San Francisco, some years ago: "Why don't those pukes go back in the closet."

Serious Question did get through to me, at last, with the quoted piece about Camp -- which I suppose should have been obvious, and certainly in any event is no longer "hot news" ! Thanks for that. . .

Jun 28, 09 12:54 am
chatter of clouds


Jun 28, 09 1:03 am

So, who wants to get drunk on something ending in "-tini" and see my [potentially hypothetical] wiener?

Jun 28, 09 1:05 am

Seriously - isn't "gay" a natural defect? Its not the norm, its an anomaly - that's why it's special right? Why celebrate a defect? We should screen and abort them - that would be the logical, liberal way to deal with the matter wouldn't it?

Jun 28, 09 1:24 am

I know plenty of gays most of whom are in pretty bad places. Drinks and drugs - I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Jun 28, 09 1:27 am

I think this party is over. . .

Jun 28, 09 1:35 am
chatter of clouds

clamfan, had your momma had any sense, she would have plopped you down a w.c, not on a hospital bed or, more likely, on the rat poo encruted floor of a druggie squatter house cum impromptu brothel.

Jun 28, 09 1:55 am

"Its funny because I stopped posting on this board because of the gang mentality of the regulars beating up on any view they see as deviating from the party line."
--clamfan, 06/03/09 8:25

clamfan defect, ergo...

Jun 28, 09 11:22 am

It's really a personal nature. Who cares? TeePee (fake name) is a bi-sexual architect and all my coworkers know that, and no one cares about that.

Jun 28, 09 11:41 am

not to rain on clamfan's parade of homophobia, but to all the enlightened & out folks, enjoy the pride parades today!!!!

Jun 28, 09 1:27 pm

It's a gorgeous day here in SF. Have a good one. . .

Jun 28, 09 1:52 pm
rondo mogilskie

One other gay architect we've been overlooking

Jun 29, 09 7:35 am
Kamu Kakizaki

i didn't read all the comments, i just wanted to say that i don't really agree with the whole "who cares" perspective. if you don't care, don't bother to be involved in the discussion.

why i say that is because when you are growing up queer or whatever (even if you are questioning your sexuality) its hard to pursue something confidently without good role models. i do not think sexuality gives architecture positive or negative, or queer, attributes at all. my point is that professionals should be recognized as an individual who lived a certain way (employment, race, gender, sexuality etc.) because that is what many adolescents look up to. the ambition of the lgbt is not only individual rights, but transparency in the media that would better represent the diversity of our society.

like when Obama was running for president, there was so much talk about him being black this or black community that. people DO care, and it shouldn't be blindly neglected as if our society is perfectly egalitarian.

Jul 24, 09 2:40 pm

don't mean to bring back the dead either, but...

isn't architecture an art?
aren't artists influenced by their experiences?
experiences vary by factors in your life, such as where you come from, what school you went to, people you meet, as well as who you fall in love with.
maybe it doesn't make me, or anyone else, a better or worse architect/artist/person because i'm a homosexual
but i'm sure i have had different experiences in comparison to a privileged white hetereo sexual male. and that of course affects my work.

Jul 25, 09 8:43 pm

If you prick us do we not bleed ?

Will a wise Latina have experiences that make her a better judge (in certain cases, at least) ?

I guess.

Jul 25, 09 10:28 pm

It's really NOT a stupid question.  If it's discussed in architecture schools, and faculty members make snide remarks about the sexuality of famous architects, then it's something that's on people's minds.  My guess is that the prevalence of homosexual practitioners of architecture is about three times that of what is seen in the general population, so somewhere between 10% and 15%.  On top of that, there are other architects that are bisexual or metrosexual, with straight architects who look indistinguishable from other professionals amounting to about 50%, or slightly more.  There are also a couple of interesting things to add.  The not-so-masculine design professor or working architect has a real chip on his shoulder about being married, almost as if overcompensating.  It almost calls attention to itself.  Generally, their wives are never traditional types, but somewhat avant garde themselves in that they overlook their husband's less than masculine side, whereas the traditional attractive woman seems to be drawn to men in more conventional occupations, for lack of a better word.  I can only see a homosexual architect thriving in a cutting-edge design practice, where they are the star designer, or in a progressive firm in a large city, where they could either be a designer or a technical type.  I also think that wealth and being connected with highbrow types would help them even more.  I can actually think of settings where the homosexual architect might experience discrimination: if the partners are straight womanizing country clubbers, if the building types in the firm are very conventional and for conservative purposes, if the firm is blended with engineering disciplines, and/or if there is a tight camaraderie with overly macho grunting developers and contractors.  The fact that there is an observable amount of likely gay students in architectural curricula is indisputable.  I think this sort of information and observation has a useful dimension.

Nov 4, 12 8:33 pm
chatter of clouds

what are metrosexuals again? people who are only sexual around the Métro?

Nov 5, 12 1:09 am
boy in a well

if your 'wide stance'  in the Metro restroom is defined by your calf skin boots : metrosexual.

Nov 5, 12 6:33 am

Funny how the frivolity found in architecture rears its ugly head.  No, don't worry, I've got a sense of humor, and a very incisive one at that.  However, accompany the frivolity with something that shows critical thinking.  By my post, I was indeed saying that, on the whole, male architects come across as LESS masculine than do men in many other schooled lines of work.  It is what it is.  My earlier post was intended to be helpful in helping someone decide how much to weigh this in their decision to pursue architecture, if this is enough of an issue that it would bother them, and how to pick their employers, and their battles, once in the field.  As a digression, it would be really interesting to see a similar forum of lawyers or doctors.  Because those people had to get an undergraduate, earn a high GPA, and pull down high LSAT/GMAT scores PRIOR to law or med school, it makes for a professional who ACTS like a professional, and who probably makes posts on a professional forum that come across as professional.  Think about the filtering that goes into enrolling and graduating an architect:  NOT MUCH.  There are people for whom design is everything, yet sleep through their structures and building technology courses.  The only competitiveness is really encountered when applying to about 10 or 15 schools that everyone wants for grad school, if they did a 4 year BA or BS in architecture or environmental design prior to that.  The schools that aren't so in demand will admit the marginal undergrad.  Again, not so with law or med school.  The registration exam is time consuming, but not impossible, yet so many architecture grads sit on their behinds and take it at a leisurely pace, if at all.  Guess what?  Even though most architectural grads who work in firms but have not passed the ARE call themselves architects in social circumstances, it's neither correct nor legal.  They are AutoCAD/Revit jockeys.  Finally, there were times when, at the end of the semester, I wanted to invite friends from other parts of the university to sit in on my final jury.  I scratched my head, seeing they'd have to witness the pissy profs and overly sensitive, insecure students in action.  I thought that the dismally low level of professionalism, much like having to listen to Simon Cowell on TV, would embarrass me, so I passed on the "opportunity."  Architecture needs to be professionalized and I don't see it happening any time soon with the immaturity and unchecked emotions of faculty, students, and practitioners alike.

Nov 8, 12 3:10 pm
chatter of clouds

hun, the hodgepodge of points you're making is rather frivolous (as is the term 'metrosexual'). and i'm saying this certainly not as a straight jock.

there was a time when i was interested in the overlap between queerdom and architecture. then i read betsky's that was frivolous, that fiction of a queer spatial phenomenology. i'm not saying there is not much to be said...but there certainly is a lot of nonsense and bullshit out there. effervescent garbage.

the above with regards to architecture and homo/bi-sexuality (i believe transgenderism is something that may overlap with homo or bisexuality but is altogether its own creature).

as for architectural practice....professional practice...then there should be nothing that differentiates a gay architect from a straight one and indeed there is nothing special about homosexuality to warrant much more discussion. the accessibility clause pertaining to gender, sexual orientation, race...etc is essentially not to glorify a minority status but to obliterate its significance and valour within the work or study environment. people should be polite to each other, professional...units, mathematical cogs... of course, i don't always abide by that nor does everyone :o)

or do you propose forming a union of gay architects working for gay clients building for gay customers?

Nov 13, 12 2:36 am

Please, now I get all this elegant prose about sexuality as related to architecture.  Maybe we can get on the same wavelength.  I'm not "too cool for school" to discuss terms  such as transgenderism, queerdom, and the like.  Let's stick to the reliable spectrum, explaining preferred sexual functioning,  from "hetero" to "homo," with "bi" thrown into the equation.  The term metrosexual, which I initially found perplexing, is not about sexual functioning and is often implied to be heterosexual, but features tendencies toward being overly concerned with personal or cultural aesthetic matters.  Who are we trying to kid?  The guy who frames homes or the downtown attorney who resembles a Marlboro Man in a suit are not metrosexuals, but many architects are.  Being metrosexual can be limiting, though probably not intended to be, and since it is apparent you are university educated, you know that many women would discount the metrosexual, and a lot of the straight, but not-so-straight, men in architectural curricula and architectural practice.  For some reason, ANY occupational choice with a high degree of latitude for creativity has historically had a higher proportion of homosexuals.  Hence, there is a larger percentage of gay students in school preparing to be architects.  Yes, the vast majority of male architects is heterosexual, albeit some are not of the macho variety.

The other thing that is architecture is a very peculiar profession, as are its allied professions.  Regulatory bodies have to regulate professions that are simultaneously art and technology, the former of which is subjective, and sometimes even divisive.  And these professions tend to attract people who can be more emotional and/or "pissy," which is reinforced in the collegiate experience all the way through professional practice.  I recall reading an article by a professor (from Princeton, I think) called "The Profession That Eats Its Young."  How anyone in architecture can read this and not be disturbed is beyond me.  The architectural community does not want to discourage the "pissyness" that is found in the schooling experience and raise the bar of the "professional deportment" once in the working world.  I think there's a homeostasis of sorts that prevents the profession from immproving.  One architect, in his 50s and in poor health, unrelated to the occupation, succinctly said to me "Architecture is a broken profession."

The way you wrap up is kind of anticlimactic.  Are you proposing a utopian situation in the world of architecture?.  You completely missed the point, or pretended to.  Where is a gay architect more apt to thrive professionally - in a NYC firm with a substantial retail practice or in a suburban firm in the heartland where the practice is primarily commissioned with designing Christian churches?  All I'm saying is that there is a noticeable number of gay, and bisexual, architects and that there are architectural offices, projects, and clients which are either hospitable, or not hospitable, to these men and women in architecture, if this information is either worn on the sleeve or perceived with some certainty.  Again, I reiterate what I said in my first post, "pick your battles."  There is indeed a place, so to speak, for most competent architectural grads and licensed architects in the field and everyone's contributions are welcomed.  However, this same recent grad or experienced practitioner needs to find a place to practice this craft that ideally fits more like a glove, and less like a mitt.

Nov 13, 12 10:29 pm

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We are here to discuss and share things about architecture, and help each other to grow.

Nov 24, 18 4:58 pm

"help each other to grow" ;-)


that's not your business, nazi

Nov 24, 18 5:11 pm
( o Y o )

With the ever declining quality of posts here it is refreshing to see some golden nuggets of entertainment like this thread resurrected.

Some of my favorite morons are here, like chatter of clods and observant. I even got to see a new one - who hasn't posted in a decade - clamfan.

Following the crumbs I also found EvilPenguin (a reincarnation of clamfan I think, banned) and living in Gin, who's probably in rehab now. 

Mining Archinect is far more amusing than current activity. 

Nov 25, 18 9:48 am
Non Sequitur

Is Chatter not Tammuz?

chatter of clods (lol) is the jackass who insulted me for sport the very first time I posted here. He used to post these long threads filled with nonsensical semi-abstract drawings and hold inane conversations with himself because nobody else cared for his bullshit. I can't remember his real name or his previous account name but I do remember when he challenged me on design and the only work he had to show was one room, a basement library or something like that. I think Ricky actually has more work history than this jackass. 

a.k.a. quondum.

Non Sequitur

Ah yes, I remember that guy/gal with the clusterfucked digital images.

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