Highlights from Stephen’s trip to Chicago to host the 2014 AIA Convention. Below, the text of his speech that opened the event.
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders.
This is how the poet Carl Sandburg looked at the City of Chicago.
And he is not alone.
This imposing skyline of the Windy City has inspired countless poets, painters, performers, and filmmakers.
As architects and designers, perhaps that’s one of our most important purposes: To inspire those who come into contact with our built work.
The world of architecture is so exciting because it presents a special opportunity to create something that can inspire. A well-designed building can touch people in so many ways — and yet, as architects we struggle to get our message across. It seems all too often that the general public does not understand what we do.
In fact, that’s the purpose behind my show, Cool Spaces! — to demystify this magical thing we call architecture. We wanted to show the public what goes into designing the spaces in which they live, work, and play.
And as we discovered along the way, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
How do you explain in layman’s terms to the general public what an architect does and why it’s important? Well, here’s a short clip of how we at Cool Spaces! have tried to do just that.
When I first became an architect, my purpose was pretty clear: I wanted to design spaces that made life better for people. I wanted to inspire, to delight, and to connect all those who would congregate there.
But such idealism can often be overshadowed by the realities of running a practice, a business.
For that reason and more, we’ve assembled here to reconsider and reinforce our goals, because it’s helpful to remind ourselves why we chose this vital discipline in the first place.
And to go back to a time when you considered architecture a calling, not a job.
Over the next few days, you will be part of many conversations that examine who we are and what we do …