Thursday, March 18, 2010

Family Forest

Yesterday, my husband and I had the great pleasure of joining a couple at a table for lunch at the de Young Museum. The couple was visiting San Francisco from Toronto, Canada. They were so fortunate to be here when the weather was so perfect. As we talked, we found the we had much in common with two people.

He was an architect who had turned to sculpting. He was anticipating a show in New Jersey in the near future. In that short exchange, we saw a connection. Not a connection as relatives, but a connection in common interests.

My husband relayed the story of how his parents selected an architect to design a house to replace their house that had burned in the Bel Air fire in 1961. He instantly realized that this young architect was Frank Gehry.

We talked about Frank Gehry and his house at the corner of Washington Avenue and 22nd Street in Santa Monica, California. I remember how the presence of that house irritated the neighbors because people would drive by to see this strange house. Frank Gehry had taken an ordinary house in Santa Monica and made it his experimental laboratory.

I was studying environmental and interior design at UCLA at this time and was learning about architectural materials. Mr. Gehry was experimenting with common materials not unusually used in architectural design. Chain link and asphalt were two such materials with which he experimented. Many of his neighbors were less than impressed and were out right enraged by the traffic his notoriety brought.

Our Canadian architect talked about Gehry's work in Europe. I told him that I had studied about many European architects of the past and one that stood out for me was Antoni Gaudi. He also agreed with me. However, his wife told us that Gaudi's buildings really didn't do anything for her. He seemed to be a bit surprised at her statement yet I could see her point.

This is a picture of Gaudi's Casa Patllo in Barcelona, Spain.

The buildings on either side are quite different because they were traditional as were all the buildings nearby. On the other hand, this building was weird. I like it, he likes it yet our spouses were not enamored with this building. So what else is new?

We should not expect that a spouse be completely in agreement with everything. How boring would that be?

So what does this have to do with a family forest?

Nothing except that we talked about my ancestors in Canada who had settled into an area around Toronto. As we talked, the gentleman told me that I did not have a family tree but a forest!

No comments:

Post a Comment