At Pentagram star Michael Bierut’s roast at the Architectural League, tout le monde was in attendance; the speakers included many of our local design world’s most talented and glib: Suzanne Stephens sang and danced in his honor around the room. WNPR host and general polymath Kurt Anderson called Michael delusional, a liar, and slightly psychotic—and those were the compliments! And to think that I thought he was just a nice, fun guy! Wendy Josephs, Karen Stein, Annabelle Selldorf, Marilyn Taylor, Rosalie Genevro, Diana Agrest, Margery Perlmuttter of the Landmarks Commission and the Pentagram partners (including a very pregnant Lisa Strausfeld) were at the Century Club. That legendary place has a reputation for being a men’s club, but look at the guest list—were there any men there?
Robert Stern’s selection to design the George W. Bush Library, located in Dallas at Southern Methodist University, continues to be the talk of the town—Is it good for Bob, or perhaps it is bad? Is it good for architecture? What about New Urbanism? (Karl Rove has a house at Rosemary’s Beach near Seaside, Florida, by the way, so he must be a fan of the movement.) Is Stern following Philip Johnson’s motto that architecture is the second oldest profession? And put yourself in his position: If you were asked to do it, and didn’t like the President’s politics, would you have turned it down? And though Bob won’t be designing the exhibits, of course, one wonders: will there be an Abu Ghraib room? Speaking of Mr. Stern and the architecture school over which he presides, Richard Meier will be the Davenport Professor of Architecture at Yale this spring. Word on the street is that the position is a form of payback for having been fired from the job of designing the addition to and renovation of Paul Rudolph’s Art and Architecture Building, a project the university then gave to Charles Gwathmey. What else could entice Dick up to New Haven?
And speaking of academia, Tom Hanrahan of hMa was spotted chatting with Zaha Hadid recently—was he courting her for a position at Pratt, where he is dean? The two were at the Mercer Hotel, her regular roost while in New York City—courtyard rooms only, naturellement, the street is far too noisy—and who should run up to her in the lobby but Sean Penn, who breathlessly exclaimed “I’ve always loved your work!” If Frank Gehry has Brad Pitt as an acolyte, surely the formidable Ms. Hadid deserves someone a little edgier like Sean Penn?
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