My Picks Dialogue: The Lake House

Simon Wyler: Where’s your brother?

Alex: I sent him away. He wasn’t feeling well. You know how he is, he worries.

Simon Wyler: Yeah, I know. He gets that from your mother, I’m afraid. She always worried too much.

Alex: What are you looking at?
[looking at architectural plans]

Simon Wyler: Hmm? Oh, yeah, here, take a gander. It’s a proposal for a museum.

Alex: Who is it?

Simon Wyler: Someone new.

Alex: Oh, I like the walkways, where the light falls. What are the materials?

Simon Wyler: Granite. Aluminum.

Alex: White panels are straight out of Meier… but the interior color coming through the front windows, that’s different. It’s not new, but it’s clean, uncluttered. I like it.

Simon Wyler: When was the last time you were in Barcelona?

Alex: Years ago, with you, Mom and Henry.

Simon Wyler: Do you remember visiting Casa de la Caritat?

Alex: The almshouse.

Simon Wyler: That’s right. You mentioned Meier. His Barcelona museum stands in the same area as Casa de la Caritat. It drinks the same light. Meier designed a series of louvered skylights to capture that light and cast it inward to illuminate the art within, but indirectly. And, that was important, because although light enhances art, it can also degrade it. But, you know all that already, you son of a gun. Now, this… where do you suppose this is to be built?

Alex: I have no idea.

Simon Wyler: Oh, but you said you liked it.

Alex: Conceptually.

Simon Wyler: Now, come on. You know as well as I do that the light in Barcelona is quite different from the light in Tokyo. And, the light in Tokyo is different from that in Prague. A truly great structure, one that is meant to stand the tests of time never disregards its environment. A serious architect takes that into account. He knows that if he wants presence, he must consult with nature. He must be captivated by the light. Always the light. Always.

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