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Barie Fez-Barringten’s Summary of achievements
Barie Fez-Barringten is both an architectural practitioner, theorist, professor, researcher, environmentalist, urbanist, artist, educator, inventor and author who worked in New York City; New Haven; Reston, Virginia; Houston; Victoria; Midland; Odessa; and College Station, Texas; Saudi Arabia; Qatar; Puerto Rico; Belize, British Honduras; Jackson, Sugar Tree and English Mountain, Tennessee; and Lee County, Florida.
Barie Fez-Barringten is a model architect who has made a significant contribution to architecture and society by originating an architectural theory at Yale University which was later published by many national and international learned and peer reviewed journals and used as a basis for international digital design programs: co-founded International Earth Day with John McConnell, authored and taught the Project Management System used by Gulf Oil Corporation, ARAMCO and published by John Wiley and sons; designed buildings evangelizing, teaching and planning businesses in Saudi Arabia, designing, planning and carrying out community work in Puerto Rico, At Pratt taught Climatology, Bio-climatic Design and Tropical Architecture and managed the design of Barwa City in Doha, Qatar. He has additionally been the architect of record for schools, laboratories, resorts and a second home new town community which is now a city called English Mountain, Tennessee and another called Sugar Tree on the Tennessee River . . Started the first global AIA International Chapter and AIA Provider of Continuing Education in Saudi Arabia. The chapter was also the first architectural chapter in Saudi Arabia and the model for a Saudi architectural association called Al-Omran. His work also led to the recognition of the profession of architecture by the Saudi royal family and a new ministerial resolution declaring architecture as a profession on par with engineering.
1.0 Architecture as the Making of Metaphors:
1. To promote the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession Barie Fez-Barringten pursued Architecture: the Making of Metaphors, pollution mitigation, and development and applications of metaphoric theory.
The first lectures "Architecture: the Making of Metaphors" were organized and conducted by Barie Fez-Barringten near the Art and Architecture building at the Museum of Fine Arts Yale University 11/02/67 until 12/04/67. The guest speakers were: Paul Weiss, William J. Gordon, Christopher Tunnard, Vincent Scully, Turan Onat, Kent Bloomer, Peter Millard, Robert Venturi, Charles Moore, Forrest Wilson, and John Cage.
Barie Fez-Barringten authored a lecture series at Yale University called Architecture the Making Metaphors which was later widely published and formed the basis of a New York City Not-For –Profit organization called Laboratories for Metaphoric Environments (LME). LME researched interdisciplinary programming, design and construction means and methods.
Three major questions confront both the student and the practitioner of architecture: First, what is architecture? Second, why is architecture an art? Third, what are the architecture's organizing principles? Many answers to these questions have been provided by scholars and professionals, but seldom with enough rigor to satisfy close scrutiny.
Nor have the questions been attached to proven and workable forms, so that the art could be developed beyond the limits of personal feelings.
In 1967, a group of master students gathered to discuss the issuance of Perspecta 12, Yale's architectural journal - a discussion which summarized the sad state of the profession as well as the major environmental problems society was generating and failing to solve. The group had already been exposed to studies on the creative process, on contradictions of form, on the comprehension of relevant facts of an existing life style, on planning systems, in educational theories, and in building methodologies, yet it seemed that fundamental question inherent in the profession were being skirted rather than directly attacked.
During the series of colloquia at Yale on art, Irving Kriesberg had spoken about the characteristics of painting as a metaphor. It seemed at once that this observation was applicable to architecture, to design of occupiable forms. An appeal to Paul Weiss drew from him the suggestion that we turn to English language and literature in order to develop a comprehensive, specific, and therefore usable definition of metaphor.
But it soon became evident that the term was being defined through examples without explaining the phenomenon of the metaphor; for our purposes it would be essential to have evidence of the practical utility of the idea embodies in the metaphor as well as obvious physical examples. Out of this concern grew the proposal for a lecture series wherein professionals and scholars would not only bring forward the uses of metaphor but would also produce arguments against its use. For obviously there can be dissent from the metaphorical method; in this case the dissent (which focuses upon the possibility that the metaphor might obscure reality) actually reinforces the metaphor's wide structural applicability. Thus developed the symposium, which was presented by the Department of Architecture at Yale in the same year. 1967, with the intent "to illuminate, in order to refine and develop, the idea because it makes metaphors; that a work of architecture is a metaphor because it too blends certain programmatic specifics with concerns implicit to its own medium. "Those exploring these possibilities included Paul Weiss, William J. Gordon, Peter Millard, Robert Venturi and Charles Moore;
2.0 Earth day and LME
Both the NYC Earth day events in Union Square and then in Central Park were for two different organizations and my involvement in either was unsolicited by me.
I mean, I never really actually knew, or, was concerned about the issues founding either undertaking; or, the motivations for staging the events.
In the case of the 1969 event in Union Square I was approached by a member of the Pratt faculty, who was himself designing some of the media electronics, and requested I gather my students to design and build the performance stage upon which his crew did its media things. My students were ecstatic and before you know it I was meeting with people in the Environmental Action Coalition (EAC) and Fred Kent and Mr. Hays and others. One very strange radical Pratt faculty member called and described what he was doing and what was additionally needed and could I utilize my class to do what was needed. He gave the contacts and took me to several organization meetings where I could learn about the mission and the operations.
The mission seemed wrapped around many variations on environmental issues while the films and sound effects of the Pratt faculty member dealt rather with war and peace, identify and the greater good for a different society. Truly, it was not any part of my vocabulary but I was open and learned all that I could.
I had to get the materials so I looked in the yellow pages; and, low and behold every lumber company, scaffolding contractor, paint company, etc. jumped at the opportunity to supply free materials and labor to erect our design on 14th Street and Union Square. I used the lessons taught to me by Pastor Bergen in Puerto Rico.
My students and Christina designed and made the most beautiful drawings. Little did we all realize that some thing bigger was on its way?
The actual event led to legislation in New York State and Washington having to do with the formation and funding of the Environmental Protection Department and attending legislation.
The actual event was a delight where we got close to Pete Seager, the cast of Hair, Paul Newman, the Sesame Street gang, etc. We had a great time. It was here I met Adam Alexander who for several years visited us. He was a member of the Mayors special task force. Our design was published in all the leading architectural journals.
In addition to teaching at Pratt, I was also working part time at the office of LH Pomeroy in the Plaza Hotel and we were living at the Picasso House in Manhattan.
One day I get a phone call from a soft and quiet voice announcing that he was John McConnell and he wanted my help to stage the ”real” earth day on March 21, 1970 and would I help him. Immediately invited him to tell me more and invited him to our apartment. He showed up and for a couple of hours he explained his concept and plans to my self, several of my key operative students, such as “Ken”, “Jeff” and a few others. The plan was to get a petition signed by the people of New York City which on that day he would present to U-thant, secretariat of the UN while we stage a huge gathering in Central Park.
He already had the design for flags; the planet earth as photographed from the Apollo on a blue background. We were to get them up the flagpoles at the main band shell. I volunteered to handle the media my students were again very enthusiastic and after my lining up CBS, NBC, ABC, Daily News, Post, etc/ my cousin Louis, Adam, my students and I came to Central Park to find over one hundred thousand people in front of the band shell.
The cameras and news reporters swarmed us and we told John’s story and held the crowd’s interest. To this day and in his late eighties I still get phone calls from John McConnell to discuss his various peace initiatives. He feels that his entire efforts were shanghaied by environmentalist and that he is still trying to win the peace by a world rallies and single-minded efforts and agreements. John had gotten Earth Day proclaimed as an international holiday and things ended.
LME (Laboratories for Metaphoric Environments)
At the time I was meeting in my apartment at the Picasso House, several nights a week with an architectural student of City College introduced to me by Pomeroy’s, Phil Winters.
Some where in all of this we noticed that we needed space to meet with students and colleagues, perform architectural work, artwork, etc. Soon our lease would be up. Having the examples of Gene’s girlfriend, Davian, Max Waldman, and other artists we reckoned that this would be the most affordable and metaphorically luxurious context we could afford. So, I set out find a place and soon conceived the idea of the place to be a loft, but not in the village where lofts were typically inhabited, but, in mid town where we could combine her studio with a potential architectural studio.
I just believed that in this mid-town silk stocking district there were depressed and marginal properties. I recall seeing them a few years ago with my homosexual Pratt professor friend, Ed Carroll; particularly next to the Fifty ninth street Bridge. He showed me this neighborhood in 1962 and this was eight years later.
It also occurred to us that we could also get people and materials to really design and build a wonderful place, if, with a foundation such as John’s and EAC. I scoured the news papers and walked the neighborhood. I telephoned and I visited. I narrowed down a few very good places.
But this time we do our own. In addition, we wrongfully thought that there was a lot of grant money available to sponsor environmental programs and that we could participate in them with Phil Winters, Adam and my students, etc.