“Bob, what are some of your favorite things?” is a question that I get asked all the time, which makes perfect sense because who doesn’t want to know what “My Favorite Things” are? … again.
I generally don’t have answers to these sorts of questions just lying about but since that is the topic of today’s #ArchiTalks post I had better answer the question(s). This will be the 3rd time (here are the first and second articles) I have written a post like this in the last 5 years … which doesn’t sound that bad when you really think about it; I mean, 5 years is a long time. If I told you that you only had to clean the dishes twice in a 5 year period, or maybe something worse, like, read two books on improving your entrepreneurial skills in a 5 year window, you might think
“No sweat, I can do that easy … it’s 5 years!?!“
For some reason, I would rather eat a pork+mayonnaise sandwich that has been sitting out in the sun all day than spend my afternoon figuring out what my favorite “_________” might be.
Bring on that pork sandwich …
Favorite Building Material (Part 1) – Cold Rolled Steel
What can I say, I do love the raw and infinitely unique properties of cold-rolled steel. The images above (courtesy of Dan Gruber) are of a project in Austin, Texas by Mel Lawrence Architects for The Trail Foundation. Contrary to what you might think, I don’t get to use it on very many projects – maybe that’s why I like it so much.
Another reason I love these evocative little outbuildings so much is because of the next item on my list …
Favorite Building Material (Part 2) – Board-formed Concrete
I have maintained that if you are an architect, aspire to become an architect, or simply consider yourself an admirer of architecture, and you don’t like board-formed concrete … well, you can’t be my friend … at least not a – “How are your kids?” – type friend, maybe a “How are you doing even thought I don’t really care to hear your answer” type friend.
“Board-formed Concrete” is the name for a process of patterning concrete that leaves a wood grain image on the finished face of the concrete. It is a method of construction that is being used more frequently these days because concrete is extremely well-suited as a finished material in modern design, and by imprinting the wood grain on the surface, it visually softens and warms concrete’s somewhat cooler appearance while still allowing concrete to express the construction technique.
And it’s awesome.
Favorite Car – 1969 FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser
Sweet ride isn’t it? It’s hard to find one that doesn’t look a little beat up, especially so if you don’t know how to fix cars and you can’t afford to buy one that is already repaired. My original favorite car is a 1969 Jaguar XKE II which is literally one of the coolest classic cars out there but your odds of getting one of those parked in your garage is slim. The classic Land Cruisers are fairly plentiful and can be had for about the same cost as 9,000 cups of coffee (which some architects consume in only a few months).
Favorite Dessert – Vanilla Ice Cream
Call me crazy (or simply Norwegian) but I do not go in for really decadent desserts. In fact, things like cupcakes, pie, cakes, cookies – whatever – hold very little appeal to me. It would appear that I like my desserts in the white to tan range … things like flan, creme brûlée, vanilla ice cream, sugar cookies are about the only sorts of desserts I tend to eat. After a nice steak and wine dinner, when the dessert menu is going around the table, I would just as much go for another steak rather than some chocolate lava cake thing.
Favorite Rock … that’s right, I said “Rock”
If you are an architect, you have a favorite rock. If you don’t have one, you just haven’t found it yet. The rock above is my current favorite and holds a place of honor on my desk at work. My wife gave me this rock (or I took it from her … who can remember these things?) and it is from our most recent holiday to Sea Ranch in Northern California. It is slightly larger than a chicken egg, worn from tumbling around in the ocean, has a pumice-like texture, and has a very thin white line that goes entirely around the rock. It looks quite purposeful and designed, and I think that if you were going to have a competition to design the very best rock, this would be your winner.
Favorite Alcoholic Beverage – Irish Whiskey
Despite any evidence to the contrary, I don’t drink all the time, and I almost never come home from work and say “What a day … I could use a drink.” I don’t drink to unwind, I prefer to drink when I am already unwound because the result of me drinking is that I tend to wind up. I think I am partial to Irish Whiskey because the first time I had it was when I was (ironically enough) in Dublin, Ireland touring the Jameson Distillery. This was the same trip (Ireland, not the Jameson Distillery) when we “picked” up our miracle daughter Kate. If nothing else, Jameson is part of a collection of memories that are my most cherished and important. Every time I drink a Jameson whiskey, I think of my daughter and how lucky I am.
Favorite Quote – Mark Twain
I am not a quote guy … I’m more into anecdotes and a good storyteller, but either way, the writings of Mark Twain are pretty fertile ground. I am partial to the quote above because it speaks to the unknown nature of life and how important it is to say yes and step outside of your comfort zone. I think anyone who works in a creative field – especially architects – should appreciate the importance of learning and experiencing new things. I don’t think anything is more dangerous to the creative process than to continue doing the same thing over and over again.
Favorite Piece of Art – ‘Musician and Cat‘ by Annora Spence
Some people might find this hard to believe but I hate watching the local news. I seek my news out through broader channels because the local stuff tends to focus only on the sensational. There is so much bad in this world, I don’t need to invite it into my house. The painting above – ‘Musician and Cat’ – is hanging on a wall in my home and whenever I look at it, it makes me happy and honestly, that’s the kind of art I want. My wife and I flew to London to get it back when we were young and slightly more reckless … let me tell you – that was a fun weekend. That’s right … my wife and I flew to London from Dallas, Texas for the weekend, and if that’s not throwing off the bowlines and catching a trade wind, I don’t know what is.
Favorite Wife – Michelle Borson
I know that some of you have your own wife (no offense ladies, but “favorite husband’s aren’t on my list) and you might actually think your’s is pretty good. I can tell you mine is probably better simply because she has to deal with me on a daily basis and let me tell you … I’m no picnic. Luckily, I’ve only had one and I’d like to think that I got it right the first time. We will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this year and I can’t tell you how much I’ve grown to appreciate her over the years. When we got married I was convinced she was the most attractive woman I had ever met but over the years, it’s the respect I have for her that makes me love her the most … the fact that she is still super attractive is just the cherry on top. My household works because of her, and my daughter is turning into an amazing young woman and I have my wife Michelle to thank for it all.
Favorite Partner in Crime (aka Mini-Me) – Kate Borson
I can say this because my daughter doesn’t read my blog … [shaking head] kids.
My daughter is just like me and whenever I tell her that, she kind of hates it. Not because she doesn’t like me but more because she likes to think she is her own person. We all know that there is some truth to both of those things but whenever I want to go somewhere I shouldn’t, make sounds with my mouth at inappropriate (or as I like to call it, “appropriate”) times, laugh at some potty humor joke … my daughter is right there with me. She’s only 10 and still thinks that she will live at home forever, I wish that were true but I know that the time I get her is diminishing so I am trying to squeeze as many adventures in while I can.
My Favorite Kung Fu Stance
Oooooo … so many to choose from. Drunken Monkey? Iron Fist? No, no wait … Flying Tiger Claw? It’s so difficult to choose …
I suppose my favorite Kung Fu pose would be the one that if your opponent struck that pose, you wouldn’t immediately stop what you are doing and start giggling. C’mon … have you ever seen a real fight break out and someone went into a Kung Fu stance and wasn’t hilarious? I did a search using the keywords Kung Fu + Stance and every single pose was pretty amusing. Just look at the poses up above and try to find one that looks “awesome”. Picking my favorite Kung Fu stance is a little like trying to pick your favorite architect … it’s impossible.
So there you have it – another round of stuff that makes me who I am. This was the 5th installment of the #Architalks series that is continuing to grow in popularity. Despite my aversion to writing this post, I thought this topic would be a good chance for the participants of this #ArchiTalks theme to come out from their cocoon’s and let people know a few of their favorite things. As we all know, the business of architecture is personality driven (at least for the lucky ones) and how better to show our personality than to discuss the things that we hold most near and dear to us? Architects come in all shapes and sizes and our interests – the things that help shape who we are and how we think – are just as varied. I recommend that you visit some of the other architectural blogs that are participating in this theme of “My Favorite Things” and read for yourself just how different (and boring) their favorite things are compared to mine. I bet I am the only one who included a rock on their list.
Marica McKeel – Studio MM
A Few of My Favorite Things
Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet
How I Get Through My Day: My Favorite Things
Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect
favorite things (at least a few)
Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect
Six Simple Acts that Make My Day
Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design / The Missing 32% Project
When the Dog Bites and Bee Stings; Favorite Things
Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC
These are a few of my favorite things..
Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL
My Favorite Things
Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC
My Favorite Things: the pieces of my story
Amy Kalar – ArchiMom
My 10 Favorite Things
Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture
9 Things i Like
Cormac Phalen – Cormac Phalen
Nicholas Renard – Cote Renard Architecture
Favorite Things – Just a Few
Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect
favorite things… a few of my favorite things…