Surprise! – I wasn’t planning on being in Arkansas but here I am. I have some unexpected business to take care of but luckily for me, I have a sister who lives in Fayetteville I so I get to spend time with her and her family (4 kids!). My business will only tie me up for the afternoon on Tuesday so I will be spending time looking around and exploring some of the local architecture (I hope they have an old brew house…).
Another exciting benefit to this trip is I will get to spend some time with award winning architect Marlon Blackwell on Wednesday. I originally met Marlon for the first time some 9 or 10 years ago when he came through Dallas and visited with a college friend of his – and my employer at time – Michael Malone. Marlon spent the day with us and we drove him around and showed him some of the projects we were currently working on. I gave Michael a call this last Sunday to see if he would do me the huge courtesy of calling Marlon to see if he had time for me to visit. I remember Marlon being generous and easy-going and Michael assures me that he is still the same – I am really looking forward to the visit. I will post photos and any interesting bits from conversations later in the week.
If you are not familiar with Marlon Blackwell’s work, you should take some time and get familiar. You can view several of his award winning projects directly from his website here. He is also widely published and has a monograph out on his work: ‘An Architecture of the Ozarks: The work of Marlon Blackwell‘. A quote from to opening passage from the book:
“I live, practice, teach, and build in northwest Arkansas, in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It’s a place considered to be in the middle of nowhere, yet ironically close to everywhere. It is an environment of real natural beauty and, simultaneously, one of real constructed ugliness. Abandonment, exploitation, erasure and nostalgia are all aspects of this place and are conditions as authentic as its natural beauty and local form. This land of disparate conditions in not just a setting for my work — it is part of the work. By choosing to live and work here — to call it home — I’ve been able to get beyond the surface of things, to turn over the rock and discover the complex and rich underbelly of my place — its visceral presences and expressive character — that so informs and sustains my efforts. I am working from the conviction that architecture is larger than the subject of architecture.” – Marlon Blackwell
My good friend Michael is no slouch either and has recently written a book based on his lecture, “So you wanna do houses?” – one of the AIA conventions most popular. The book “The Architect’s Guide to Residential Design” is published by McGraw Hll and while originally geared towards architects looking to break into the residential market, this is a hands-on working manual that is proving to be a valuable resource to architects and owners alike who are looking to gain a better understanding of the intricacies of various methodologies involved in the process of creating a residence. There are several real-world case studies used in the book to illustrate typical residential design issues. This is a fantastic book and should be on the desk of every architect who practices in the residential market.
So, this should be an exciting week as I will also get to practice with my new digital camera (Nikon D90). Hopefully my learning curve will be swift and I will be able to get some great photos from my trip and of Marlon’s work.