In all likelihood, you’ve heard of Snøhetta, the legendary architecture firm responsible for such projects as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (library) in Alexandria, Egypt, and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, Norway, and the German-born, American-raised architect Craig Dykers is one of its founding partners, who led both of these projects, as well as the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City. Current projects include the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the new Central Public Library in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, along with many others. The New York City-based principal was also chosen to speak at IDS Toronto 2016 amongst a handful of other elite members of the design industry. Let’s take a look at what the prestigious architect selected in this week’s Friday Five.
Since I was very young I was always fascinated by rocks. I seemed to always spot interesting ones and have them in my pocket to take home. Interestingly, I also had very many geologists in my family. I continue to have rocks in my life. I have piles of them in my home that I have found in faraway places. I have carried rocks around with me wherever I have lived. Some of the stones are actually Neolithic artifacts, rocks turned into tools. They fascinate me when I hold them, to feel technology directly. I love the earth and its complex nature; the rocks talk to me.
2. Blue Pens
I have a particular like of Artline ErgoLine Medium 0.6 felt pens. They are made in Japan by Shachihata. They are also impossible to to find, even on the Internet. I pick mine up in Norway when I am there. I love the color blue because it has a wonderful history as a rare color. It came from Cobalt, a rock, so I like that the softness of the color comes from the earth originally. I also use wide Liquitex Acrylic pens. My friend, the artist José Parlá, showed me these. If you know me well you will notice that I always have blue ink stains on my fingers from drawing with these essentials.
3. Oysters and Pearls from The French Laundry
Oysters and Pearls is a delicious little dish made by Thomas Keller. It is longevity captured in a raindrop, timeless and ephemeral. It is hard to say no to such a simple and delicate wonder. He and his chefs work wonders but I seem to particularly feel that everything is wrapped up in this little dish.
4. The Pantheon
This exceptional structure reminds me of the robust beauty we can create. It is also interesting that this structure is one of the longest lasting continuously used buildings in the world, having survived for nearly 2000 years, yet it has never had any real, or physical function. It has always been dedicated to the mind. Perhaps this is why it is so beautiful and tenacious.
5. Louis Kahn
This architect has been in my life for as long as I have thought about architecture. His design for the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth remains triumphant. I can relate to his complicated life. He was also very direct and authentic in his dealings with people and places and this is an inspiration. Recently, I have been working on a new Master Plan for Penn Station in New York City. Since the original was torn down in 1964 Penn Station has been a place of difficulty. It was in the Men’s Toilet in Penn Station that Louis Kahn died of a heart attack. Nobody recognized him. I can barely walk past that toilet knowing how he anonymously died there. But it is this bittersweet story that perhaps makes him more compelling as a figure in history.