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?
probably not.
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.
You can see the rest of the series here -> Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7
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:

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.

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)
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.
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.
I’ll be the uncomfortable one over in the corner,
looking interesting…


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