fountainhead3

[image via Strange Harvest]

So now that we’ve seen The Fountainhead as interpreted by America’s favorite cartoon family, The Simpsons, it seemed like it might be a good time for a more…informed take on Ayn Rand’s book and the resulting 1949 film. Recently, Fantastic Journal, Strange Harvest, Lebbeus Woods, and Things Magazine have all shared their thoughts on the black-and-white world of Howard Roark and Ellsworth Toohey. Despite their various perspectives, everyone seems to agree that it is one of very few—if not the only—film that is actually about architecture. As Woods puts it “architecture is not merely a background, but is the central issue in the narrative, around which the lives of the characters revolve.” Outside of that central agreement, each architect has their own take on the film. Charles Holland’s compares Ayn Rand’s interpretation of Modernism with that of From Bauhaus to Our House author Thomas Wolfe’s interpretations of Modernism to Wood’s ruminations on ethics and aesthetics in architecture. Sam Jacob, meanwhile, looks at The Fountainhead’s representation of architecture as an emotional landscape and ponders who the modern-day equivalent of Howard Roark might be. Richard Rogers? Daniel Libeskind? Or maybe it should be someone like Cameron Sinclair? Not a starchitect per se, but someone with an incredibly strong, almost righteous perspective on the power of architecture to impact lives. After all, doesn’t “Design like you give a damn” sound like something Howard Roark might say?


· Spouting Off: Some Thoughts On The Fountainhead [Strange Harvest]
· The Fountainhaus [Fantastic Journal]
· Ayn Rand and The Fountainhead [Things Magazine]
· The Fountainhead [Lebbeus Woods]
· Mediocrity Rules! The Simpsons & The Fountainhead [Life Without Buildings]

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8 Responses to Architecture Blogs Take on The Fountainhead

  1. Jim Barr says:

    Hey, come on guys, what about Towering Inferno. That’s a film about architecture if there ever was one. In fact Die Hard One comes close too. Great story though and great site.
    Cheers,

    Jim

  2. C. Jeffery Small says:

    Obviously, Frank Lloyd Wright was the architect upon which Howard Roark was modeled. The only well known contemporary architect I can think of who could fit the bill today would be Santiago Calatrava. His work embodies a humanism combined with a powerful creativity.

    I would have to rank most other “starchitect”, especially including Daniel Libeskind, more like the villains of the novel rather than the hero. I see many of these people as sculptors rather than architects since their structures are almost totally about form without reference to the people who inhabit them.

    Regards,

    C. Jeffery Small

  3. Lorin says:

    Ugh, Fountainhead. I read an interview with Rem Koolhaus about the Seattle Library in which he refuted the Howard Roark model of the hero-architect. And if even Rem thinks its b.s., you know its bad.

    Speaking of architecture movies- ever seen Mr Blandings Builds his Dream House with Cary Grant? My boss recommends it to all of our new residential clients.

  4. Skyler K says:

    Did you say Libeskind as a contemporary Roark??? Jeez, this is the clown who paid another architectural firm (Alex Gorlin Architects), to design his own home. And then Libeskind tried to cover it up by lying to the New YTork Times and saying that he designed it himself!!! Libeskind has about as much integity or ethics as Adolph Hitler!! Libeskind is no Howard Roark, that much is certain.

  5. Frank says:

    I think the late Samuel Mockbee qualifies as an architect-hero with great integrity and a social conscience. Rem Koolhaas is a pretentious academic. As for Daniel Libeskind, he’s a great role model for anyone seeking to be a world renowned jackass and idiot.

  6. PB says:

    Did you say Libeskind as a contemporary Roark??? Jeez, this is the clown who paid another architectural firm (Alex Gorlin Architects), to design his own home. And then Libeskind tried to cover it up by lying to the New YTork Times and saying that he designed it himself!!! Libeskind has about as much integity or ethics as Adolph Hitler!! Libeskind is no Howard Roark, that much is certain.

  7. Jamin says:

    Just want to say I enjoyed this post. My vote for Roark goes to Cameron Sinclair or Sambo Mockbee ……Not….. Libeskind