Pixar and Other Points of View

Animate the Holidays

A recent visit with a friend who works at Pixar, in Emeryville, California (the remarkable animation studio) opened my eyes to the importance of organized chaos — which struck me as a fitting subject for a holiday homily. You approach the campus along a very orderly allee:

The forceful tractor beam that is the axial vista draws you inevitably toward the main entrance. It seems very corporate and somewhat anonymous. But then suddenly a shape that’s both familiar and fresh looms above you

and light dawns (literally) and we’ve arrived at a special place where imaginations can soar.  The company’s clever desk lamp symbol is itself animated while remaining stationary simply by virtue of its giant scale, and recalls work by the great pop artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The rationally organized approach effectively frames the delightful disruption. Inside the main entrance is a similar relationship between order and activity.

The main space is geometric, divided into bays or modules, while a variety of occasionally random activities take place within it — from cafe and rolling carts

to relaxation stations. I like the way the building provides a structure for flexibility. That’s what I think a good house plan should do. In some houses, like ours, the Christmas tree does a good job of adding just the right touch of chaos, since it takes up a good deal of the room and drops needles everywhere and leans a little to the left, and has several gaping holes that my mind’s eye is always wanting to fill. Oh well — onward and upward!

Current Events

I’m excited to report that this modern courtyard design — Plan 488-1 by Houser Walker Architects in our Exclusive Studio —

is in the “Houses We Love” feature in the December Dwell magazine (unfortunately the image is not visible on Dwell‘s website). This week  Houseplans.com is also part of a very thoughtful article about the price of good design by Lloyd Alter on Treehugger. And two new plans have arrived from Italian architect Lorenzo Spano; one, Modern  Row House Plan 473-3

with a balcony running across the rear elevation, and the other,

Contemporary Suburban Villa Plan 473-2 that cantilevers over a small pool so that the water can be both shaded and  sunny. A good spot to dream about the future. Happy holidays!

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