We love the people who wear our glasses. Most of all we love their stories. Here is one of them.
Meet Andrew, a Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney who writes books about “pointy-headed” architectural themes. Find out about his latest work, Rome, and why he digs our Sleeping Fox and Critic frames.
- Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living
I’m a professor in the School of Architecture, Design & Planning at the University of Sydney. These days I have feet planted in two cities—working in Sydney and living on the Gold Coast with my wife Ruth (we’re both originally from NZ) and 9yo daughter Amelia. At Sydney, I teach history of architecture, mostly to students who will one day become architects. My books range from pointy-headed kinds of themes (what makes architecture an art? what is discomfort for architecture? or history?) to documentation of knowledge we might otherwise overlook (on NZ modernism, or the architecture and urbanism of the Gold Coast).
- Highlight of your career so far?
I was in New York last November, with a front-row view on all the election aftermath—Ruth and I had followed the results “live” half a world apart, me in Harlem, her on the GC. The Museum of Modern Art was that same week celebrating the 50th anniversary of Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, a book by Robert Venturi that has been hugely influential on the way architects have thought over the last half century. Preparing for the day ahead I wrote a note to one of my former lecturers at Victoria University of Wellington—I would that morning give a talk at MoMA, which would have been unthinkable to me as a student. Those kinds of moments happen from time to time, but that one stands out.
- You’ve recently published a new book – could you tell us a little bit about it?
It’s a short history of Rome, told against the backdrop of the city’s fabric—streets, walls, buildings, monuments, etc. When the first copies were delivered to me at home my daughter asked if it was meant to be that small (it fits in your pocket!), which is a great question to ask of any history of Rome because the answer should always be “no”. It’s the first in a new series by the British publisher Polity, which will orientate visitors or armchair tourists in various cities by presenting accessible paths through their history. Rome runs from its mythical and archaeological origins, through the Republic and Empire, the Middle Ages and on to the modern era. The city’s history is long and complex, and it’s no coincidence that there aren’t too many books that attempt to get it down in so few pages. (I had to change my prescription a little after I was done.) The design is beautiful, which is great for people who (like me) judge books by their covers.
- How did you hear about Sneaking Duck and what do you like most about us?
One of my colleagues put me on to SD. I wasn’t at first sold on the idea of getting glasses online, but the try at home packs quickly got me over the whole thing. I like the thought that goes into the design; and I’ve never run into someone wearing the same style.
- Sneaking Duck frame of choice?
I took up SD’s recent two-for- one deal so my current specs are Sleeping Fox and Critic—I like trying new things with my glasses, and aubergine is a new shade for me; the other, more a classic black intelligentsia kind of design, is safer, but still sharp. I love them both.
- If you weren’t teaching architecture you would be…
I guess I’d be writing—but it’s hard to imagine doing something other what I do now.
- 3 things you can’t live without?
A notebook in which to jot; our morning coffee rituals; and my daughter.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years time
Somehow: drinking a gran caffè at Sant’Eustacchio, scratching down something to do later, and (inevitably) avoiding something pressing.
To find out more about Andrew or to check out his latest book ‘Rome’, see the links below: