Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"A is for Architecture"

George Smart's mother, Ann Seltman Smart, was an accomplished radio personality in Raleigh in the 1950s, one of the first women broadcasters in North Carolina. In the 1960s, for UNC-TV, she produced this great 20-minute documentary film on North Carolina architecture. What a wonderful period piece from a time when architecture looked forward and North Carolina was where it was happening. We look back at the 60s and wonder how they could have made so many mistakes, how we ended up with all this sprawl. What gets forgotten is that they were trying, at least the best of them were, to "design for living" in all the right ways. What's painfully evident from this production is that architects considered themselves urban planners. I don't know exactly when or why architects retreated from the front lines of planning and building. We don't look to architects to be planners any more. Architecture is for the few who can afford it and who care to ask for it. This film is from another time.

So, watch the film; then watch this 7-minute video that George has produced as part of his nomination of his mother to the North Carolina Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Clearly she deserves to be there!

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