Now that I’ve reached the time in my life where I recognize most of the people shown during the In Memoriam segment of the Academy Awards, weeks like the last become more poignant.
In the same week that we found out that one of Arrowstreet’s founders, Jack Meyer, had passed away, a few of us attended the memorial service for Stanford Anderson. The service was fittingly held at Eero Saarinen’s MIT Chapel, which is one of, if not the, greatest pieces of architecture in Boston. As J. Meejin Yoon, the head of the Department at MIT, said so eloquently “Stanford’s contributions over the past 50 years were enormous. He was a distinguished professor, significant scholar, generous mentor, and the long-term intellectual consciousness of the department. Many of us, directly or indirectly, are deeply indebted to his stewardship, generosity, and legacy.”
I include myself in that us; the history of Arrowstreet’s practice is rooted in his ideology and that of his students. Stan had the amazing idea that architectural history, theory, and criticism (HTC) should be within the domain of practicing architects, and, as MIT Professor Mark Jarzombek put it, he “championed an approach to design that was not a one-off, but that could stand the test of time as a research activity that allowed multiple factors and issues to be taken into consideration.”
That approach to history and criticism is now almost universal. In one way or another, most HTC programs can trace their roots back to Stan, his students, and their work. At Arrowstreet, we practice Stan’s teachings every day; approaching architectural design in a way that is not just about buildings, but also about ideas and research.
As we continue to move the built environment into the future in a thoughtful, considerate way it is good to remember lessons we’ve learned and those who taught us.
Thank you Stan.