ruminations about architecture and design

Sunday, December 5, 2010

architects are disciples of ayn rand

How I love polarity and contradiction. See the last post for another point of view.
Ayn Rand glorified the builder, the engineer, the designer--the creator of things that improved human life. She was often misinformed, but always, or nearly always, sincere in her application of ideas about how the world could be made a better place for people. She had personal experience with conditions where individual property and freedom were trampled on in the name of a collective good. She valued inequality and idolized the (male) desire to outreach and excel. For her, not everyone deserved a prize for showing up.
I did not enter this profession because of Howard Roark, and my overall assessment of Rand is rather harsh. I reserve harsher critique for those who blindly idolize her and her work, hanging on every word as though it were the final pronouncement of Truth, beyond reproach or debate.
Her philosophy is most applicable to the practice of architecture in those rare, but essential moments where the designer sits down and draws the sketch that creates the center of gravity for the rest of the project. There is also the moment, even more rare, when the designer has to walk away from a project because his or her values are being compromised in a way that is completely unacceptable.

1 comment:

  1. Great article in the New Yorker a few months back concerning Alan Greenspan's idolization of Rand (apparently they met). That's reason enough to support your "harsher critique." To think that I once got sucked in by "The Fountainhead." It's embarrassing.