The Architecture of Life: August 2008

The Architecture of Life - Christopher K. Travis

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Sad Story in Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazine

Michael Cornelius writes a sad and sensitive tale of lost love that results from pursuing a perfect home, rather than a better relationship, for the largest subscription daily in Germany. It is called Too Nice to Be Close To: A great love broken.

Here is an excerpt translated crudely from the orginal German:

"...Houses talk to us," believes the philosopher Alain de Botton. "Why do not we hear them?" People think too much about style, he writes in the book happiness and architecture, "rather than the question of who we want to be."

"Still, there are no statistics on how many people the beautiful houses have broken heart. In the 1990s researched at Berkeley architecture professor Clare Cooper Marcus of the phenomenon. Whether we are at home or not, they concluded a decision on our childhood memories. Her book House as a Mirror of Self in the U.S. inspired the movement of the so-called emotional architecture.

Since Freud's grandfather triumphed over Gropius' Bauhaus manifesto. Form follows psychology.

"Christopher K. Travis from Austin, Texas, sees itself with its Firm Sentient Architecture primarily as a therapist. Sentient, was so much like "sensitive" means, is the supreme principle. Not "bricks and beams" were crucial for the construction of a house, he says, "but the spaces of our emotional world."

"Before Travis builds a new house, he sends his clients, therefore to the couch. Only when he personally in many meetings has clarified what the client relationship to her mother and whether the builder probably has an Oedipus complex, the architect begins with the design of the kitchen.

"Even the legendary architect Richard Neutra explored the secret yearnings of its customers with a sophisticated questionnaire. Then, he still clouds floating homes with glass fronts. In his biography, Life and Shape, he told of the eccentric idea of the director Josef von Sternberg, 1935 for which his house in the San Fernando Valley a special moat desired. Cannons and spiders should chase uninvited guests away.

"If this mistake occurs, follow my advice: Never make where you live too perfect!”

The rest of this sad story is in German. You can use Google Translate to read it if like me, you are a provincial and do not read the German language.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Truehome Soon on the "Go" with Airtran

Truehome will soon be flying high with a story in Go Magazine, Airtran Airways in-flight magazine.

The reporter was not sure when the article would be published, but since her deadline was in August, I am assuming it will be within the next quarter. I'll keep you posted when I know more about the publication date.

The saga continues.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Vogue Gets Down With Emotional Architecture!

A couple of days ago I responded to an interview from very nice reporter in Greece who was very interested in the Truehome Workshop and our website. Her name is Michaela Theofilou.

She had read the New York Times article about how we approach architecture and told me her publication - Hommes Magazine - was planning a September issue with a focus on homes.

(Not Hommes, which means "men" in French but the garden variety homes that I design.)

Since I am not up on fashion magazines, I had to google Hommes to find out what type of content this European magazine typically printed.

Omigod! Her publication turned out to be Vogue's men's fashion magazine for Europe! It is filled with scantily clad hot young men and women sporting the edgiest new fashions. I am all for woman in scanty clothes, but Hommes is not exactly the type of publication I thought would be interested in an aging - and to be frank, a bit portly - design/builder from rural Texas.

After all, every woman I know has made it clear I have no fashion sense at all. To me, "dressing up" means means avoiding pants that are 3" too short in the inseam and replacing my Hawaiian shirt with a button down. I have one suit - which I squeeze into for only the most serious of business meetings and the occasional, sad funeral.

My concerns were eased when her interview included many intelligent and intriguing questions about how I practice and even the science behind what we are doing at I have been hoping someone in the media would ask me those questions. I certainly hope a few of my answers show up in the story.

My clients seem to have no issue with my informal outfits, though my attire is far from Haute couture. Perhaps they are too kind to comment. But I had to ask myself, "what does a reporter for a high fashion magazine want with me?"

After dwelling on the question for a while, I rationalized my relevance to a fashion magazine as follows: "Haute couture" means "high sewing" or "high dressmaking" and refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted fashions.

I often refer to myself as a "psychological/environmental tailor." I design homes that fit people - in mind and body - in exact ways.

Still, it appears I am once again moving into circles in which a small town guy like me is - as they say - out of my depth. Some days running this little Internet start-up from a town with a population of 77 takes me for a fun - but really weird - ride!