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Success in the arts. A recorded program produced by the Chicago undergraduate division of the University of Illinois under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today. Success in the art of architecture. The participants the architect Arthur Corolla the critic George took up architecture and design critic for the magazine. Living for young homemakers the teacher Lester white assistant professor of architecture University of Illinois undergraduate division the moderator for the entire series is Studs Terkel radio and television commentator. Here is Mr. Terkel to open the discussion of success and the art of architecture. Well first let it be established that all three of our guests each of our guests is a practicing architect. We go on from there. Arthur Karara Suppose we start with you. As an architect. How do you distinguish one out here. What would you say. The requisite is for a. Young guy just
starting out. He wants to be an architect. What's your advice to him. Well studs as you know as all of us know here in this panel. Architecture is undergoing a great change. And to meet this change the architectural education must change also to produce the kind of student architectural student the man that is going into architecture. To give him the necessary background educational background to prepare him for the great change that's going on in architecture. I would certainly began by saying that the architectural education must be based on a broad liberal education. Has to be up on liberal arts that has a date. Yes and the liberal arts as a base will come back to that and want to just write and Lester white as a.
As an architect and as a teacher. Let's hit the latter aspect first the teacher. What do you try to tell your students. Well what we're trying to do I believe basically at the University this is changing from even year to year but is to get the student to think on their own really to start out and be an architect and try to develop some individual characteristics rather than a follower of any one trend. And what we're trying to do is just alert them more than anything else as to what is going on in the field of architecture. As you know today most all the universities and schools that lead to schools of architecture are going along in different trams. We're sort of going along in the middle road trying to alert the students as to what's going on and to let them figure out what type of thing they want to go into. What we're trying to do is give them a good liberal education good mathematical background engineering background. Basic
design background and let them go on from there. And figure out exactly what field they want to go into in this matter of trends. Suppose you want to know George Polk was a truckie you are an architect and a critic editor of a magazine dealing with architecture. What about. Yourself. How do you judge structure a building to distinguish it. Is it good. Is that is the good work involved here a bad work. What's your criteria. Well the first thing that we look for of course is I did as a magazine where concerned with bringing to the public new ideas. Secondly things which we feel would in cards that stimulate thinking on the part of the home builder let's say. We always are interested in good design. We try never to show anything that we do not consider is good design First of all. Secondly within the limits of the problem if it solves it well that is if it has satisfied a family living pattern. If it shows our
readers are. I think it's true of any building it shows other people that by doing this they can have a better life and so forth. I think one of the things perhaps more important even than working with architects is to is to stimulate thinking among the profession because certainly if we're going to get and continue to get better buildings and better houses and so forth it's going to come from the architect himself. And wherever possible it's our intent to encourage good design by publicizing the work of other architects who are going to design and so forth. Let's throw this matter open now if you like stroke you've mentioned this. This idea of stimulating thinking among architects in the field how would you go about gentlemen hypothesis and. In terms of stimulating Thank you. In other words George you feel that when you publish a building for your subscribers. You are. Not only influencing the man who buy your magazine but at the same time you are also.
Stimulating profession at large in a manner so to speak. Yeah we feel art that it's encouraging. To architects that might be beating her head against a wall. And have them know that their work is being recognised. Where where carrying their message to the public. I think that as a magazine we can do a great deal to bring to the public good design which we try to do I think would be a shame if there were a group of people in the country doing good design as there might be a group of people writing good music or painting the wonderful pictures and no one appreciated it. I think in the old days when the patrons took an artist and did everything they could to really promote him. It's the same kind of thing we're doing we try in our own way to sell this idea of good design to the public and I think that if we can all do that then eventually it will be accepted and it's it's uplifting the public's taste generally and certainly helps me with the client relationship.
I mean if the client sees this type of thing as the type and you think I'm trying to influence the client and away from the cozy shutters. And. Maybe the Victorian influence that they were brought up in I mean this is helps Tom I think a wonderful example of a lot of you guys I want to for example is on the home furnishings field if you remember just prior to the war there was a there were some people making modern furniture in modern home furnishings and they were they had a very hard go of it. It wasn't accepted at all by the consumer. Now if you look around it's just it's generally accepted it's commonplace as a matter of fact there's no more the idea of selling modern and Terry as our contemporary French of good taste and good designing and home furnishings. Same thing one day I'm sure will be true in architecture is there you mentioned exchange your earlier exchange of ideas at your age. Is there more of an exchange today than it has been in the past. As far as architects are concerned as it is there are great. Exchanges idealise in terms of change of ideas. Oh I would think so I'm very definite no using
your tremendous influence on what is happening with big business concerns I mean their national headquarters and their own buildings I mean I don't think that there is a. Substantial firm in the United States today who would build a classical building. For instance I mean everything. I think the IDF flexion on the company and the type of thinking that the company has. Is what we have this matter of business itself. The matter of the architect. And they are living in the world after he leaves school. At the crown I mentioned the need and you did too Lester the need for a liberal arts background on the part of the student. I do want to expand it a bit further. Well of course the small practicing architect has continually faced with making a living at this business of practicing architecture particularly if he has a very strong personal feelings as to a house should look and how it should function.
George Trumka mentioned the work that his magazine is doing in bringing the so-called modern design to the public. This helps the small architect in his relations as Lester as mentioned with the client. But it's a long haul. Before the architect finds clients standing at his drafting room door to accept his kind of design. It's a trial and error there is no set pattern and the pattern of business involved is entirely different from the kind of business activity that an industrialist employs or a small businessman employs simply because the practice of architecture no matter how you analyze it is based on an emotional basis. It's the emotional quality over and above the functional quality of a building which will make a client satisfied and therefore say this is money well spent.
I want to go back to this matter. I see that point out that this matter of the specifically liberal arts courses for a young architect was to be an architect. He's going to college. He was you know why should he study the history of painting or history itself or language or form of English. It seems to me that I mean with more and more leisure time as we all wish we had more of. We'd like to be in a position where we could branch out I mean and and learn more about the arts the other arts and I think there isn't even enough time in five years in college and that fact was one of the reasons why the Course was extended from four years to five years because most all educators felt that there wasn't enough of the other arts and their education and the architectural education. And it seems to me with more time on your hands this is well spent. That is a trend that I think will continue this
where are constantly told this is the age of specialization. Do you find that he brought in background on the part of the students becoming more of a requisite or less than one. As a guy goes out into the world and I think that an architect starting a practice certainly has to have the full knowledge that he gets in a five year course in architectural school even though he may get out of college and do nothing but rest as life at schools let's say certainly has to have the training and structures and history and drawing and drafting and design all the things which he gets in college. All of that has a subtle influence on the things that he does the rest of us during the rest of his career. I don't know that it's necessarily hear of specialization in architectural firms however a lot of firms you will find doing schools others do primarily hospitals. And as we said some architects do just houses and some shopping centers but all of them I feel recall the training that they had during college at one
point or another in their in their practice and I think that it's important that they. Get the kind of education which they are getting plus a lot of good practical experience prior to starting a practice of their own in this matter of practical experience before an architect can practice he does need to serve an apprenticeship was he not with it. Well in all the states there is the Registration Act which is basically for the safety of the public and this is required in all 48 states that. Before you become a licensed architect that you work as an apprentice or it would be the same as in medicine an internship for a year or more in this state although it happens to be a year at the present time and in most states it's three years before you are licensed. The student then asked a question if he has to serve an apprenticeship with an architectural firm. I shall lie I try to match on one job with a famous one a big one armed with a small practitioner.
Well I think studs that will depend basically on what his architectural education has left him with. At that point to point to graduation leaving an architectural school. If the architectural school has done its job reasonably well the students will have a death time certain strong likes and dislikes as to the kind of man or the kind of firm or the kind of trend that he wishes to follow in his practice and he will choose and select and he has a better choice today than he had 20 years ago to pick the kind of office in which to serve his apprenticeship. I think that probably most students are or rather most students would like the glamour of working for a big name. I think however that the guy getting right out of school is much better off going to work on a smaller office. However an office is doing good work because he gets he has an opportunity in a small office to see the whole operation at once. You can go to I got out of school and one
of the first jobs I had was an office with eight hundred other draftsman and you can get very lost believe me. Yes I think that it would be much better working in a smaller operation because you get to know a little of the business and the design and you get out to see construction and you talk to clients all of which are extremely important when you set up your own office. And I think and then I add here that the student who goes to work in the larger office. It probably will not have to sacrifice as much. Personally in the way of wages and personal time as he will have to sacrifice if he works for the smaller office he will gain greater experience all around general architectural experience but he will have to be prepared to put in more time and probably work for less wages and be out in the field more and the pace will be broken up as George mentioned in a smaller office thereby gaining a general all around architectural background which will prepare him for his own practice as well
as preparing him for his state examination. It was news to me that two of the student Naaman was pretty well alert. As to what kind of a practice he generally wants to go into it pretty well knows I think with the type of education that's going on in most of the schools today whether he's pretty good at planning. He's a good designer. Are just what field he's going to go into or maybe it's architectural engineering structural. Then there's all these phases are maybe going to be a specification right or certainly categorizing as to what kind of an office he's going to go into. I personally started up a small office and it would be my recommendation personally. In most cases this would be the type of thing to do. Upon leaving university you touch something. Yes I agree. Lester I just want to add I agree wholeheartedly I think the smaller office maybe prejudice has more to offer for the young man coming out of any kind of an architectural school. And I think here we should not forget to mention in relation to education the
great value of travel as an architectural student. You not have a chance to do much travel because of the depression period when I was getting my architectural education. But as I look back I regret that I think the need for travel particularly for an architect is most valuable. All something that never shows up in a photograph is atmosphere. And also it's almost put it very often the design looks terrific on paper or in a photograph. But then when you walk into the building you get a much different feeling of it and I think that there's nothing that will substitute for going out and seeing and feeling and getting the atmosphere of the building or something it looks very handsome in the photograph and a year later look shabby Yes. In other words the element of personal architectural research is something which the young architect must cultivate from the beginning if not sometimes i go far afield and say you must be born west it is really the basis of arriving at a personal dictum as to what design should be. This continual saying of seeing a building and having the
energy to go in and see it and analyze it and take it apart and discover the elements that one likes and doesn't like. And to travel and to be continually alive to not only the new modern buildings which are being built but I think many of the old structures have much to offer to the most radical young architect. Well certainly that's true here I mean it's something that we try to point out and I know that both of you are completely aware of it as it is to try to make the student aware of what he's living with. I mean of course we're extremely fortunate being here in Chicago with the great historical landmarks of modern architecture and just try to make the students aware of what these elements of architecture are what makes a great building and what makes a good clean building doesn't work. And just how does it function and doesn't this bring us back again to the need for good liberal arts background do what he likes to do appreciate the work some of the more the tradition behind it as much as the culture of the period in which it was built.
Two I think two studs from a practical standpoint that it would be wonderful for all architectural students if they never went any place else just to travel back and forth across this country. Not so much to say good designs but more to get an understanding of the limits put on an architect when he designs a building when he gets a commission influences. Simon climate you mean by doing and different parts of the country people and family attitudes and family living habits in different parts of the country and I think it's unfortunate that many times we'll see a building in one part of the country and I think that that designer is terrific. On the other hand the building may have been better built across to the other side of the country and it just wouldn't work at all. I think that the student himself because he gets into practice should certainly have an idea of the limits that are going to be put on him as an architect when a client comes in with a job. Oh I agree very much George. I think that what we're saying here essentially is that a liberal education for the young architectural
student. We must prepare him to become eventually the most complete man of his society today which I believe an architect must be. He was have a grasp of all the influences of his period not only be on speaking terms with them but understand them thoroughly and yet he must not succumb to any of the special fields such as science or engineering or the heating engineer or the legal laws or this that and the other thing. But he must have a complete grasp of them so well that he can afford to sit down at his board and design with great imaginative quality. If he's weak in any one of these he will find himself succumbing to the architectural engineer or to the specification writer or to the whims and idiosyncrasies of each client that comes to him. Must be the well-rounded man. Yeah nearly. What does the well-rounded man
do with a well-rounded student saying he leaves school when he's up on the arts in the sciences and everything connected with him and the need for a good architect. Now we come to basis how good a businessman as an architect have to be. Unfortunately most architects are very poor business man and I think that it's important that they be a very good businessman. And let's say in a million dollar building it's the architect who pretty much controls the spending of a million dollars. It's the architect who designs the building and he was so lax with the client perhaps the contractor that's going to build it. And doles out the payments and is more or less in charge of a very large. Piece of money and any normal business to spend a million dollars is quite a thing an architect does it every day some of them. I think that he should be more of a businessman than is art. It's a practicing architect or you think about it. Yes I certainly.
Don't wish to minimize the ability to handle architectural business but on the other hand George I'd like to point out that architectural business as such is entirely different from the attitudes that the business man in quotation marks as we know Him brings to bear on his kind of business. The architect will find himself varying his business techniques so to speak from one commission to another due to the variation that each Commission requires the motional qualities of the client the very nature of the architectural problem the legal laws that bring to bear on it and then of course the own personal world of the architect. What this particular commission means to him how much of a fee will he ask how much will he give in order to make this dream thing come true. With the businessman that he's dealing and I think that has a kind of a feedback system to it to the extent that the
architect is a very good personal public relations man. To the extent that he's able to influence his client with this wonderful thing that he has before him to that extent he can vary his business techniques and I find home much how he lastic leads are depending again on how well the architect handles the group of people he's working with be it a school board small family that he's doing a house for or a large city commission for a city planner. I think the worst thing that an architectural student could expect when he gets out of college would be that he would never be concerned with the sordid details of business on the other hand he might only be concerned with drawing pretty pictures as the expression goes and I think that's would be a great mistake because certainly the architect when he gets out becomes many things he becomes. As Art said a good public relations expert he
becomes a man with a certain business sense he becomes an engineer and he becomes an executive in most cases those horrible realities of getting a salary in the payroll well than a secretary and the telephone bills and of course Michael Sam paying taxes. I mean as a practicing architect has to be alert to these things and perhaps even have some knowledge of bookkeeping if he's not going to be able to afford this at the beginning. I thank you so much for all that I think you've got to be realistic about I mean it's a profession it's a business and when you talk with architects who are practicing some architects who are practicing you you'll find that they are unhappy because they've gotten away from the design and just simply by taking it because they've had to take care of the small details which come up in connection with the practice. Yes and all of us I'm sure at one time felt that we would be as architects nothing more than a very highbrow designers. And I think that after you practiced for a while you find out that that's not quite possible and you do have to face some of the more realistic and practical problems which come up in connection with
the practice. Are we saying here in a sense that the creative practice of architecture is for a limited few then. No no I mean I think that the architect still has to be very creative and concerned with design. However as we know there are as Les pointed out a little while ago that there are some people who when they get out of school or even when they're in school will be will concentrate on design I'd as well are more interested in the engineering end of it others are more interested in bribes and being job a project happens in an office where they're in charge of getting a job out. I don't think that they architect as a practitioner is necessarily going to be able to choose one of those feels he has to know all about all of them. Yes I had in mind something else along those lines George. I've noticed in big offices some of the offices that I've been called in to work as a consultant were some of the job captains as you
mentioned found the work very exciting and would not have anything to do with design at all which leads me to say that there are certain phases of putting a large project together which are very exciting depending on the quality of the man and his natural abilities. This is all I meant to say before that the complete designing of a project is not for everyone. It takes a special kind of a mind and a special kind of talent and there is no need for great concern if a young man finds himself in a big office and he's putting together a million dollar project. This can be very very exciting work. I think Jan 1 we have room for just about one more question I'd like to toss this one out if I may. It's no question the young architect today has to consider the business aspects of his work is there room today for young pining.
Is there room for pioneering an architect. My thanks to the lively thank you very much so. Architects are pioneering every day. We read about the big names in the business who are setting style trends almost in architecture but I think the guy that really deserves the credit is the practicing architect who is not a big name and who was in there fighting every day for good design certainly he's a pioneer in the world I think. It's been that way it's easier for the big names I think who have set design trends to carry I with it. But it's very difficult for lesser known architect to promote the thing which he believes is good design and good architecture I think that those are the pioneers in the business. Actually I think architecture is really not revolutionary but more evolutionary I mean it's I think it's when these things that go it grows and I don't think that there are any great structural or design features that are
really completely changes from the past based I don't know many that I can think of right off and I think it's a matter of all these new explorations and new uses and of course it's rather an exciting time and you know because of all the new materials that are coming out new uses that's an exciting time because of the future that we have in it as a tremendous future in this country and the beyond the construction industry and for architects and thrashes architecture broken away from the classical background. So gentlemen this leads us to a rather unhappy conclusion that with the excitement of the times in which we live the field of architecture it's what increasingly exciting and be a challenge to all the young architect to enter. Thank you very much. This has been a discussion of success in the art of architecture. The participants were the architect Arthur Corolla critic
George Chilcot architecture and design critic for the magazine. Living for young homemakers. The teacher Lester white assistant professor of architecture University of Illinois undergraduate division. The moderator for the series is Studs Terkel radio and television commentator announcer and producer Alford Partridge. Success in the arts is a recorded program produced by the Chicago undergraduate division of the University of Illinois under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. This program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is be and E.B. Radio Network.
Success in the arts
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University of Illinois
WILL Illinois Public Media
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, "Success in the Art of Architecture," brings together architect Arthur Carrara; George Tsuruoka, architect and design critic for Living for Young Home Makers magazine; and Lester White professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Series Description
This series presents panel discussions that focus on various aspects of the arts, including the skills needed to excel. The series is moderated by Studs Terkel and produced by Alfred E. Partridge.
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Moderator: Terkel, Studs, 1912-2008
Panelist: Tsuruoka, George
Panelist: White, Lester
Panelist: Carrara, Arthur A. (Arthur Alfonso), 1914-
Producing Organization: University of Illinois
Producing Organization: WILL Illinois Public Media
Speaker: Partridge, Alfred E.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-19-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:52
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Chicago: “Success in the arts; Architecture,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
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