The Letter Not Written

I’m sure many of you have dashed off an angry letter in a brief outburst at the keyboard, hyper-energized by your sense of outrage and compelled to do something. Those of us who remain in business usually have found the best thing to do is to take the finished masterwork and shred it or at least put it in a drawer and forget about it for a while until the full moon passes and our heart rates return to normal. Well during some recent tidying… Read more

The Magic of Architecture

Yes, there is that sense of magic in great design–a kind of ephemeral “wow” factor as we experience looking at the night sky.  We all have special places like this that we go back to when we can or carry around with us in our imaginations. If I knew how to consistently produce this effect, I’m not sure I would share it. However, in this case we are taking “magic” in a more literal sense—a performance art which delights the audience through various forms of… Read more

Is Your Project Just Too Much?

It is fair to say that almost all of the projects we have designed over the past 30 years have been compared at one time or another to the Taj Mahal.  Not to Versailles, or Buckingham Palace, or Trump Tower–alway the Taj Mahal.  This is the paradigm of extravagant buildings, even for those (or especially for those) who have not seen it.  Comparing a proposal on the table to the Taj Mahal is seen as the coup de grace–the blow from which no project can… Read more

Chaos Theory Applied or My first Day at BTA

Thirty-odd years ago I landed a job at Benjamin Thompson and Associates in Cambridge Massachusetts. It was in the heyday of BTA—Faneuil Hall Marketplace had been fully opened for a few years, Baltimore’s Harborplace was finishing up and the firm was embarking on a series of performing arts centers around the country.  BTA would shortly to be selected as AIA firm of the year and Ben Thompson would go on to win the gold medal a couple of years later. It was heady stuff for… Read more