Monday, February 11, 2013

What goes around, comes around...

We had a ten year reunion with my architecture class several years ago (ok, close to 7 years ago).  It was a time for reconnecting and reminiscing, as reunions typically go.  Out of a class of 26 we had 16 show up, not bad considering at least two did not show because of imminent child birth (one class mate actually had his child come on the day after our reunion, so good thing he did skip it).  Some flew out from the West Coast, just for the weekend and many others had 5 to 8 hour drives.
During our tour of the old hang outs, we noticed that the songs played both by sound systems and live bands in the establishments were ten to fifteen years old, almost without exception.  They were all songs that had come out during our time in college.  As I looked about the room at all these twenty-somethings singing along to these songs (like Tom Petty’s “last Dance with Mary Jane”) I realized with some horror that these kids were singing to the “oldies”.  As a freshman in college, there was a lot of interest music from the era of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.  Those songs were about as old to me as the Petty song is to these kids.  What goes around comes around.
Later, interviewing staff for a community for which our office was to do a master plan exercise I listened to Gregg disclose that he designed the Nursing Center that is one of the community’s challenges.  I realized that what I have been doing for many years is following Gregg from community to community, updating facilities that RLPS designed in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Attitudes and design for seniors has changed so dramatically.  That 1970’s “state of the art” building has becomes a communities ugly step-sister.  The rooms were dramatically undersized, the corridors were long and uninterrupted, all the surfaces were hard and reflective, and the building truly looked like a hospital.
This realization, while helping to define a nursing center’s usable lifetime, was not quite a painful as the realization that I am becoming one of the older guys in the office, too.  Some of the earliest projects I worked on are now in need of an update, even though they must have been perfect when I finished wth them 10 or 15 years earlier, of course.  But now we are putting lipstick on Kim Bassinger's dead body (reference to the Tom Petty music videa circa 1993).

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