Channeling architect Antoine Predock

Antoine Predock Sketch

It’s time for me to talk about my silent collaborator:  Antoine Predock.  The world-acclaimed architect designed the UW Centennial Complex, which houses the museum.

Though cloudscapes inspired Interstitial, the design itself was a response to Predock’s sense of Wyoming as embedded in deep geologic time.  Drawing inspiration from nearby Medicine Bow Peak, he envisioned the peak-shaped structure where the museum lives as an “archival mountain.”  In his words:  “Throughout Wyoming there is a sense of landscape in formation, of landscape in transition.  The appearance of this archival mountain can be thought of as the slow but certain geologic upheaval.”

To rhyme with his earth-sky analogy, I imagined softly-sculpted clouds floating overhead of viewer, like my digital model. Between the floor (earth) of his “archival mountain” and its atrium skylights (sky).  Layering of earth, sky and clouds, in this way, resonates metaphorically for me not unlike sedimentary strata revealed by a highway roadcut speaks to Predock, which in his words function as a “poetic diagram of an investigative process …”

I spent happy hours browsing no less than six books written about him and visited umpteen websites. The Albuquerque-based architect has received numerous awards including the prestigious American Institute of Architects Gold Medal

He’s a genius as far as I can tell.  I think it’s fair to say he’s also an eccentric.  He’s passionate about the American West, and his draws inspiration (literally) while riding around the country on his motorcycle. Art materials go with him on the road so that he scribble out his first impressions, then later converts the raw sketches into ink and pastel drawings, like the one posted here.

Writer Clifford Pearson, writing for Architectural Record, wrote an amazing profile about the 76-year old Lebanon native, closing with this hilarious graph:

No matter what he’s doing—whether it’s designing or diving—Antoine Predock makes visceral connections. To fully appreciate his buildings you must touch them, kick them, walk through them, sit on them. Years ago, he told this writer, “Before you start designing, you have to get your bony ass on the ground and feel the site with your body.” On another occasion, while giving a tour of his Turtle Creek House in Dallas, he jumped on a large circular skylight to demonstrate its strength. Simply explaining it wouldn’t do.