I was brought up in a house full of music, my father is a composer. Making music is making shapes in time.
Architecture is making shapes in space.
Architecture is an art, an expensive one. It is the only art that modern technology has not managed to successfully mass produce. A building is still a work of art by many craftsmen.
Early in my life I worked for a summer month at Arcosanti, the planned solar city of visionary architect Paolo Soleri.
He had a class one evening with all the young people there. He was convinced that the built environment had the greatest ability to change people for the better. Growing up with my father, a great musician, I had seen music transform people in all kinds of environments, beautiful or rough. I respectfully disagreed with Mr. Soleri and told him people transform their environment, not the other way around. I do believe in the good effect architecture can have on people, but people are more important than buildings.
When someone decides to build a building they are really committing to the city they are building in; the people, the culture,
the country. A building can’t easily be moved. The commitment stays in place.'
The Staten Island Advance called Mr. MacDermot ‘the idea man’.
At Harvard GSD Executive Education Mr. MacDermot was referred to as ‘the vision guy'.
My favorite bumper sticker is ‘think globally, act locally. It takes a long time to get really good at doing a building in a particular area.
It’s necessary to know what’s happening around the world, but I think an architect ends up being devoted to a particular area.
The New York City approach to architecture is to wring every square foot of yield out of the property in the interest of seeking and creating value.
The next step is to make a space or building that creates further value by design.
It is established that a well designed building sells more easily and obtains higher prices than an undistinguished building.
This is where a good architect proves his worth.