The Architect Interviews Mr. Glasses

As many of you know, I am a long time supporter of the modernist movement in architecture. An advocate for the clarity of a cleanly drawn line, if you will. Could a movement in Architecture better capture the widening sense of isolated distopia marinating at the very core of the American dream? Could a movement more perfectly represent the collective malaise of the industrial machine age? Could a movement more elegantly cast aside the wisdom of the past only to replace it with a marble-clad representaion of a better tomorrow? Could a movement be more quickly and effortlessly adopted by irony-ridden hipsters? I ask you, could it?
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probably not.
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So, of course I was thrilled to get the opportunity to interview one of the legends of Modern Architecture himself. Mr. Glasses. For those few of you who haven’t heard of Mr. Glasses, I would only direct you to the pantheon of modern Architectural documentation – ie: YouTube. There in, Producer, Writer, Director, Artist, Actor, etal Mitch Magee has captured the singular ennui of a Modern Master.
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You can see the rest of the series here -> Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7
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Much to my suprise, not only was Mitch Magee/Mr. Glasses available when I called, he was kind enough to submit to a few questions.  It may go without saying, but I am deeply honored by the opportunity to talk with one of my idols:
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Jody: As an Architect, did you always know you wanted to limit our choices?

Mr. Glasses: I wanted to limit my own choices, and by those limits, expand them. Your choices were of no concern.

Jody: Was there a particular moment in your childhood that foreshadowed your future as an imaginary Architect?

Mr. Glasses: I would spend my childhood hours designing immaculate stainless steel cages for the wounded animals I found in the forests of rural New England.

Jody: When given a choice between simplicity and happiness, which do you choose? And why?

Mr. Glasses: This all reminds of what the 18th century Japanese poet Ryokan once wrote:

Showing their backs

Then their front

Falling Maple leaves

Jody: Did Philip Johnson drink?

Mr. Glasses: A dry martini with Mies was not an uncommon occurrence. He also drank off the energy of young architects…

Jody: Do you consider Minimalism to be a choice or a responsibility?

Mr. Glasses: Minimalism is a style—as barbaric and dishonest as chintz wallpaper. Modernism is a mode of comprehension and will endure.

Jody: What was it like to play a role in the destruction of the American dream?

Mr. Glasses: I shed no tears for the death of the widget and the doohickey.

Jody: When your clients stop calling? What do you do then? (I mean, I’m just asking, it’s not like I have any personal experience with the subject, I mean, just say hypothetically, if one were to find themselves in a situation where, “just for the sake of argument” their clients just didn’t call, for, like, maybe a couple of years, I mean, that would suck right?, I mean, I can’t imagine what that would be like personally, but, just for the sake of discussion, what DOES one do when that happens?)

Mr. Glasses: You design in your head. And eat instant ramen.

Jody: Is there anything that Modernism can’t replace?

Mr. Glasses: Yes, America’s sweetheart Sandra Bullock and Michelangelo’s Campidoglio. Oh wait a moment, I forgot about Lincoln Center. The answer is: only Sandra Bullock.

Jody: Are there too many “A’s” in “Aalto”?

Mr. Glasses: Yes indeed. As you know, I was one of the first to call attention to that superfluous A. I also feel there are far too many legs on his stool—two should suffice.

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Yep, I’m pretty sure, that’s the most definitive interview possible, (Thanks Mitch). Mr. Glasses, Modern Architect, Film Maker, Genius, and designer of the world’s most angsty t-shirt (HERE)
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So, If you happen to be in North Carolina later this month, you too can ask inane questions of Mr. Glasses. He and (oddly) I will be drinking and sulking at the next Thrist 4 Architecture event. Hosted by the fabulous George Smart at Triangle Modernist Houses and co-hosted with New Raleigh. Details can be found HERE.
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Join us June 24th from 6:00-8:00 at the North Carolina Museum of Art for an evening of architecture, drinks, and/or angst. See you then.
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I’ll be the uncomfortable one over in the corner,
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looking interesting…

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cover image of the Bauhaus in Dessau from paula soler-moya’s photostream on Flickr (used under creative commons license)