by Crosby Doe
As summer approaches, and this latest issue of ArchitectureforSale, Quarterly is about to go to press, I find myself ensconced at New York’s Palace Hotel en route to France with Docomomo to study the work of Le Corbusier. My room has a view, or should I say, views: The spires of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, each capped with the Christian symbol of hope that life is not in vain, point to the heavens. They have a quiet but penetrating presence. St. Patrick’s forms a square, surrounded by a whole extended family of magnificent tall buildings, each worthy of recognition. Rockefeller Center, like an enduring symbol of the transformative power of architecture, is brilliantly lit, and still dominates. I sit here gazing out, my feelings tinged with loss and hope. These two icons of architecture can’t help but remind me of two men, recently passed on, to whom I dedicate this issue of ArchitectureforSale, Quarterly.
One of the speakers at the celebration of the life of Dr. Robert Winter commented that he wasn’t just taught by Dr. Winter, but rather Robert made him a whole new person. He did the same for me. I did not even know Dr. Winter at the time; I was just starting out in real estate sales when I ran across his and David Gebhard’s A Guide to the Architecture of Los Angeles and Southern California published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Then and there I decided to get out of real estate and get into architecture; I never looked back. That little book reset the trajectory of my career. Ultimately, through six editions of enlightening commentary celebrating the good in our built environment, it changed an industry in L.A. as well.
In the course of pursuing the idea of building a separate marketplace for architecture, there were times when I felt like a voice crying out in the wilderness. I longed for confirmation. That confirmation came through in spades when Mark Morrison entered my life. Mark at the time was a writer for InStyle magazine. He was good at writing about celebrities, but the job had become boring to him. He liked to assuage that boredom by following his passion for architecture, and learning about great buildings. One day he called me up, and, as I recall, he asked whether he could come to visit Lloyd Wright’s Navarro House, which I had for sale at the time. When we met, our mutual delight in sharing the experience of architecture prompted Mark to offer to write an article about my career. That article landed on the cover of Los Angeles magazine! Over the years our bonds grew. Mark has contributed important articles to ArchitectureforSale, Quarterly, and the magazine could not have continued over the past few years without his support as associate editor of the magazine. Mark’s final interview for this journal, with architect Phillip Jon Brown, has been incorporated into these pages with the assistance of his friend and colleague Alison Singh Gee, who courageously stepped in to assist as associate editor of this journal as well.
Mark and Robert, to whom I owe so much, Godspeed.