Thursday, September 3, 2009

Behind the Times

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Looks like Kate Murphy finally got out to see the recycled scrap houses Dan Phillips makes, 8 months after a flurry of publicity launched the Phoenix Commotion into the local consciousness. Since then the Bone House has burned to the ground and risen from the ashes. Well, even if New York is behind the curve, at least they have someone writing in Houston.

Michael Paulsen /Chronicle

From Lisa Grey's January chron article comes this great quip from Phillips:

“You know The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche?” Dan asks.

It’s another sentence I never expected to hear from a builder. I nod uncertainly.

“You know how he described the two strains of culture? There’s the Apollonian culture, where everything is crisp, tidy and perfect. And there’s the Dionysian culture, where everything is passionate and organic.

“If an Apollonian is hanging a picture, he gets out his level and his measuring tape and precisely centers the picture on the wall. If a Dionysian is hanging a picture, he takes the picture, holds it up to the wall, and goes, “Hmmm. Does this look about right?”

“Our building industry is entirely Apollonian. Architects pre-think their design, specifying these ideal materials and aiming to create these idealized shapes. They’re at a disadvantage. They work off in an office, drawing blueprints. They can’t get feedback from the materials and let the designs evolve.”