GLASSES AND SHACKS

IMG_0093Aaron Betsky writes about the latest fashion among architecture students—Triple O, or Object-Oriented Ontology. Betsky is generally enthusiastic about intellectual fads, but even he seems to be uneasy about exactly what Triple O means in the context of architecture. That aside, this raises an important pedagogic issue, that is, Learning to Walk Before You Run. Many years ago I spent a month in Frauenau, Bavaria, with the great glassblower Erwin Eisch. For reasons that now elude me, I wanted to learn his craft, and he generously allowed me to work in his studio (which was next to the family-owned glassworks). The nature of molten glass is such that you must work quickly to shape it. I immediately got carried away by the endless organic possibilities of the material. After a while Erwin suggested, “Why don’t you just make a glass.” It took me the rest of the day—and many failed attempts—to produce a single, rather misshapen bowl-shaped object. I remember that event when I look at student work today, vainglorious attempts to invent a new architecture by neophytes who have never built anything. They should just try making a glass—or maybe a shack

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