Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

Here's one of those stories that makes it impossible for me to cancel my subscription. About an architect named David Trachtenberg, I read it at dinner along with takeout from Pagan on Clement.

"I think simplicity is a virtue," Trachtenberg said of his designs. "It's hard to make things simple. It's easy to make things complicated." He never worries about creating too simple or severe a space because "buildings are the stage on which lives are lived." Simply put, human lives fill out built spaces.

Another taste:

"One of the secrets of old buildings is they have a very limited materials palette," Trachtenberg said. "Any old, indigenous building has what's locally available. They had one kind of stone and a couple kinds of trees they could use, and maybe somebody made a clay tile." In charming old places, such as Italian hill towns, people unconsciously sense and appreciate the "rightness of the buildings," primarily because of their limited palettes, Trachtenberg said. In houses built today, he said, materials from India, China and Kansas are used, creating an unworkable hodgepodge.