From the 44th floor of the Hearst Tower, the exclusive site of the LongHouse Reserve gala, Manhattan looked like a futuristic city. It’s hard edge beauty served as a contrast to LongHouse’ iconic gardens. We could envision drone-like taxis ferrying us from glass tower to tower. How appropriate to be honoring two architects – James Carpenter and Toshiko Mori – that evening.
Leslie and Dale Chihuly, Paul Goldberger, and Lee Skolnick were Honorary Chairs. Architectural Guru Paul Goldberger led a conversation on design prior to dinner.
LongHouse founder Jack Lenor Larsen was the one who told Chihuly to “stick to glass” we were told. “Jack was a mentor of Dale,” Dianne Benson, Chairman of the Board, said. “Dale, like all artists was into sculpture, painting and all sorts of mediums. ‘If I were you, I would forget all those other pursuits and stick to glass.’ Jack told him. He did – and fortunately. We have all those beautiful Chihuly’s.”
“I met Chihuly when I went to a big wedding in Connecticut,” Larsen told us. “We all slept in a friend’s house and there were beds everywhere. My wife and I ended up sleeping in the same room with Dale Chiluly.” This “one night stand” turned into a relationship.
Larsen might have pointed Chihuly in the right direction, but his close friendship with James Carpenter dates to the 70s. “He adored my wife, who died in 2011,” Larsen told us. “She was very stylish and Jack admired that. We travelled together. We remember her each year, coinciding with Jack’s birthday by the Memorial to her in the LongHouse gardens.”
“These two architects happen to be married but their practices are different,” Wendy Van Deusen, Associate Curator, said of the honorees. “Although they’re both magical architects who work with nature and light, Toshiko is a great educator. She was the first woman to ever be Dean of an architecture school like Harvard, besides being this ground breaking and naturalistic architect. And Jamie Carpenter is like a magician. He’s as much a scientist and an engineer as an architect.” High profile projects include the Israel Museum’s expansion and campus renewal project in Jerusalem (2005-2011) and the recently opened Museum at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis (2010-2018). Major private projects, include the Gucci Japan Flagship building in Tokyo (2003-2006) and the Ice Falls water feature in the Hearst Tower (2002-2006).
Guests included: Arthur and Diane Abbey, Jacqueline Brody, Richard De Rose, Sherri Donghia, Lee Freund, Sean Kelly, Christopher Latham, Mark and Elizabeth Levine, Eileen O’Kane Kornreich, Sandy and Steve Perlbinder, Lee Skolnick, James Snyder, Michael Steinberg, and Neda Young.
For more information on LongHouse Reserve, visit www.longhouse.org.