33 Years on the Making: MJ’s Silver Medal and the Bruno house

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Slideshow Bruno House from our visit to the Bruno House.

MJ was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal for significant contribution to architectural design from the Upsilon chapter of Tau Sigma Delta at Texas Tech University’s College of Architecture; we traveled to Lubbock so they could give the thing to him and so he could lecture them in exchange (not so sure about this barter…)

Seriously, it was fun, MJ is a TTech alumnus and the students that hosted us (Adam Reed and Amber Howard) were intelligent, gracious and we had a great time with them and going to great restaurants!

If they were sick and tired of hearing MJ reminisce about his drinking, his drinking buddies and his drinking holes during his six years at TTech a million years ago, they didn’t show it. (Jeez baby, no wonder you didn’t have the grades to join the actual Honor Society that gave you the award, but I guess is all better now… except wait, it’s Friday, oh no, Margarita day… gotta go!)

The highlights of the trip besides getting to hang out with Adam and Amber, were meeting with MJ’s old professors (still there, still as sweet!) the White twin brothers, Jim and John, and going to visit the Bruno House! MJ was just excited, tickled pink (yet sober, I swear.) He had been there when Bruno had started the house and 30 years later, he’s still at it!!!!

An absolute must see and a wonderful man and artist whom Wallpaper just published!

Posted by Viviane

Uno

These writings are exclusively the opinion of MJ Neal and do not necessarily reflect the opinion and philosophy of MJ Neal Architect

“There is work in understanding one another, having patience, arriving at something”
Ettore Sottsass – interview in Domus 887

“We live in a period of speed: in order to manage it we need to work together, looking at technology as a tool not as a goal, keeping the basic values of humanism, avoiding superficiality, solving people’s needs without serving power and materialism”
Ricardo Legorreta – preface to “the Architecture of Ricardo Legorreta”
by John V. Mutlow

So they tell me, We’ve started you a blog. A what? Actually I do know what a blog is. It seems though that I heard somewhere that blog’s were already passe’. That the one’s in the know have already moved on. Is this like the buffalo moving. Perhaps.

And then, you have to be personal. People want intimacy. Well there are magazines and web sites for that. So occasionally, probably most rarely, will I attempt to put something down here. Not that I need something else to take up my time. (I’ve also heard blogging can be addictive) As slow as I type, this is doubtful to happen.

So, one of my clients from out of town calls the other day. He does this, as they all do, from time to time. I never know what to expect (they might have been up all night on a bender snorting coke and drinking whiskey… these conversations can go either way; other times they call to fire you… that’s one of the greatest things and the most dreaded thing, not knowing what to expect.) Well, it turns out, the contractor on the project (they just poured the foundation) has decided to leave the business. He has been offered the “job of a lifetime”. Good for him! But he has agreed to finish the exterior envelope of the building. (Exterior envelope is architect speak for the outside) Although he is not going to be at the job site to oversee what is going on, he has his guys lined up to do it. Sees it in his mind’s eye, has gone through it three times, mind you, and has informed his people how to make it happen. So my client finally gets a hold of him and he’s in the middle of delivering a baby horse. What is someone doing picking up the cell phone in the middle of delivering a baby anything? So to get to the point, this guy, the contractor, has been gone for a while, if you know what I mean.

Last Sunday, I’m set to travel to the job site. Monday, steel to be delivered and erection (of the steel) started. Schedule for the week is all in place. I get one of those phone calls. So, I ask the client, (because the contractor no longer returns my calls, not that he did very often before. This no returning of phone calls is one of my pet peeves and where I am based, Austin, Texas, there is a plethora of this. Almost a way of life. Hell it is a way of life for some. You wonder why anyone carries cell phones. I certainly wonder why I do.)

“So,” I ask my client, “what’s up with the steel?”

“Well, MJ, it would seem that the steel fabricator has to be in court for the sentencing of a family member” (Now this is after waiting on the steel for a week because of weather. )
The story is tragic. You couldn’t make this stuff up. And I’m not going to go into it for respect for the people involved, but it is truly tragic. Monday comes, Monday goes. No steel… So we wait. Waiting. Hurry up and wait the phrase goes. Something heard all to often in the industry.

I’m going to Mexico… Tequila anyone?