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*** nytm_99.08.15

  • shelter
    "What Despont is known for is creating follies, fin-de-siecle exercises in excess, houses blown up to outrageous proportions -- they sprawl from 20,000 to 60,000 square feet and cost perhaps $20 million to $50 million. Architects are often paid 10 percent of a project's cost; though Despont receives a flat fee agreed on before a project begins, his take is said to be higher -- say $4 million or $5 million on a $35 million project. 'I do not,' he says proudly, with a French accent that seems unaffected by 20 years in America, 'design shelter.'" (Munk N, nytm_99.08.15)


  • apocryphal
    "The story is almost certainly apocryphal. It does, however, suggest how Despont is perceived by many of his peers -- not as an artist, but as a tutor to wealthy philistines." (Munk N, nytm_99.08.15)

    • visual balance
      "A few years ago, in a gesture that says a great deal about his approach to buildings, Despont added the middle initial W to his name. As he admits with characteristic indifference to ridicule, the W stands for nothing; he chose it for its looks, because it lends his initials visual balance." (Munk N, nytm_99.08.15)

    • inferior acculturation
      "Another peer puts it more sharply. 'He's perfect for people who have an inferiority complex and need to be acculturated,' says this New York architect -- who then proceeds to repeat to me the myth of Bill Gates and the fish knife." (Munk N, nytm_99.08.15)

  • dauphin terrible
    "The world of Thierry W Despont is a tightly controlled one where assistants blanch when a fax is misplaced, consultants duck behind confidentially agreements and a woman is dismissed from her job with a kiss on the hand."

    'I want to be man of culture,' he said." (Iovine JV, nyt_97.12.18)


  • wild control
    "At least one construction firm says it is seeing benefits from the currency crisis. ... 'These developers have come to the realization that they have to learn how to control cost ... Before it was the wild, wild East. They had so much money they didn't know where to put it.'" (May Tsui, Turner Steiner's Asia-Pacific manager, in Templin N, wsj_97.12.11)


  • salmon-colored Berlin Wall
    "... an impenetrable barrier ... some grand piece of architecture that opens up the borders between North and South," (Peter A Dubin, a principal in the Chicago-based architectural design firm that got the contract for the $750,000 barrier project - nyt_97.12.08)


  • "thumping air conditioner"
    "One appraiser says murders brought selling price down 35 percent. -- Even in Hollywood, violence doesn't always sell." (nwk_97.11.17)


  • rhinestone geezers
    "Worse yet, Florida and Arizona are the place their parents went to retire, and these new retirees see themselves as far too young to be hanging out with that crowd of geezers. ... They hated just about everything about the place: the climate .. not to mention the rhinestone scuffies parked around the pool." (Fletcher J, wsj_97.11.14)


  • chilling sales
    "... Still, some landlords are skittish. 'I know of a building taken over from a drug dealer and sold to a new owners ... Some people came back to settle scores and killed all the occupants. It had a chilling effect on sales." (Kirkpatrick D, wsj_97.11.14)


  • real shape
    "... corporate re-engineering efforts are curbing both corporate real-estate departments and the amount of space per worker..." (Mark Klender, a partner with Deloitte & Touche Fantus Consulting in Sebastian P, wsj_97.11.13)


  • dense crabs
    "Learning occurs when fresh synapses sprout ... People with dense synapse networks are 'smarter' ..." (Carrns A, wsj_97.11.12)


  • bat-nip
    "The former CEO of Church's Fried Chicken, Bamberger has spent $250,000 on the world's largest fake bat cave ... The designer bat cave (or chiroptorium) is set up to attract Mexican free-tails ..." (nytm_97.11.02)

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The world of architecture in competitions, theories, polemics, and propagandas. A chronicle of architecture's devastating footnotes and critical trivia.

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