Monday, August 18, 2014
August 11 & 18, 2014 Issue
The piece in this week’s issue that I enjoyed most is Dana Goodyear’s “Paper Palaces.” It’s a profile of the architect Shigeru Ban. Goodyear is an artful describer. She says of Ban, “He looks clicked together, like a Lego figurine.” Her descriptions of Ban’s creations are delightful. For example, she depicts his Aspen Art Museum as “a glass box nested in a lattice screen made from resin-infused paper and topped with a timber truss roof.” Of his Kobe cabins, she writes, “Pleasingly geometric, with an eco-friendly, brown-rice look – smooth paper columns supporting crisp white canvas roofs – the Kobe cabins have an aesthetic that lies somewhere between a Tinkertoy masterpiece and a Seventh Generation diaper with operable windows.” My favorite passage in “Paper Palaces” involves Goodyear herself. She and Ban are looking at the Aspen Art Museum’s truss roof: “I said that the swooshing lines reminded me of overlapping ski tracks. He looked at me blankly.” I smiled when I read that. I relish its use of “I,” and I love the way she shows herself failing to spark Ban’s response. I smiled again near the end of the piece when Goodyear observes Ban at Tom McInerney’s Montana lot, listening to McInerney and Maltz discuss design ideas. She says, “Who knew what he was thinking? ‘Do you have mayonnaise?’ he said finally.” Ban strikes me as a very cool guy. I enjoyed “Paper Palaces” immensely.