Who We Are
Posted on January 28, 2014
Our friend and Editor of Southern Living, Lindsay Bierman, opened January’s issue with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson- To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Lindsay and I have known one another since the days when he was editor of Southern Accents and I was named one of the magazine’s Four under Forty– and that, my friends, is going way back. Lindsay was a Southern Boy that ended up at Robert A.M. Stern’s office in New York and I was a Texas Boy that went from offices in Greenwich, Connecticut to Allan Greenberg’s office in Washington D.C., both careers very influential on our young careers. These were eye-opening experiences that took us out of our comfortable home-town upbringing and exposed us to national and international art, architecture and culture, brilliant people and yes, given it was the ‘80’s, at times some outrageous moments (not the subject of this blog). But eventually we both returned to our respective roots, changed, yet ever- committed to recognizing the importance of local cultural colloquialisms and the value of home- anywhere that home might be.
Most of you may know our work, some may know our recent book Ranches, Villas, and Houses, and fewer still, my talks during my recent book tour. The subject of remaining true to ourselves is at the heart of our message and our work, and will most certainly be the subject of this (or shall I say as a Texan- “this here”) blog. In a world that is changing faster and quickly becoming smaller day-by-day, we see the loss of local culture and expression quickly diminishing- disappearing to worldwide commercialism and what the media deems as popular culture. I recently saw a cover of a National Geographic that made me pause: an Indian boy with striking face paint. When I opened to the article Kayapo Courage, about an indigenous South American tribe that is resisting assimilation- not from a point of ignorance or fear; in fact, they are so savvy that they have internet and even a Facebook page. The story here was that they were completely culturally self-aware and comfortable with who they were, and staying who they are is important to them; that it is worth fighting for their way of life- not the life that others expect them to live. Imagine a world with one language, one culture, one architecture; an over-processed world of sameness. Imagining such a world gives real meaning to what’s left of the special, unique and authentic places we still live with today. Let’s stay who we are.