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29 July 2013

Ronan Interview by BUILD

An interview with Chicago architect John Ronan, designer of the Poetry Foundation among others, by BUILD - one of my favorite Pacific Northwest firms. There's quite a few gems in there.
You only have a certain amount of energy, and you have to be selective about what you expend it on. It has to be worthwhile, in the end.
Poets employ words that everybody understands, but they use them in new ways that make language unfamiliar. 
 It’s a na├»ve notion that architecture is the answer to social problems. Sometimes I see these architectural “ideas” competitions and wonder, is more architecture the answer? 
The goal of the process is to almost make it look like it wasn’t designed; we should arrive at a point where the “design” is invisible and not constantly referring back to the author. At the same time, the design should look so natural that people might think, why would you do anything else? The goal is to get to that point where the design feels intuitively “correct.”
I had Ronan as a professor during my final semester at IIT. It turned out to be one of the best classes I've ever attended, and this interview reminds me of his succinct yet slightly acerbic manner of speaking. If confidence were water Ronan would be Lake Michigan.

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