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Post Gary Moore on Architecturally Emblazoned Quotes
Created by John Eipper on 09/17/20 12:26 PM

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Gary Moore on Architecturally Emblazoned Quotes (John Eipper, USA, 09/17/20 12:26 pm)

Gary Moore writes:

After Patrick Mears's gem (September 17), maybe WAIS should open a thread for architecturally emblazoned quotes.

Once in Chicago my squeeze got us invited to a gala affair at the French Consulate for Bastille Day. While she was conversing with the dignitaries, I gazed in wonder around the glittering reception hall, which had ornate cornices way up by the coffered ceiling, adorned with quotes. As my eyes began to trace distant marching letters, and the sense began to form, it was strange that right there, among the cocktail napkins and hors d'oeuvres, I was being provided with watchwords that would go with me through life. They were from the great Pasteur, who (oft slightly misquoted in English) said:

"Le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés."

Nor did I know until this very moment (when I decided I better double-check my half-remembered French with the great Google), that the phrase also has a first part. Pasteur was saying that the place where only minds that are prepared will be favored by coincidence and seemingly blind luck is in "the field of observation." It's a tricky vale, but has surrounded my journey.

JE comments:  Nothing like a prepared spirit!  Putting a quote in or on a building is a pretty serious commitment.  Even more so when it's chiseled in.  I like Gary Moore's suggestion:  what are some of the other Great Architectural Quotes?  (That's on architecture, not about it, but that would be OK too.)


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  • Another Dutch Architectural Aphorism: "Homo Sapiens Non Urinat in Ventum" (from Paul Rootare) (John Eipper, USA 09/18/20 3:25 AM)

    Adding to our discussion on architecturally emblazoned quotes, Paul Rootare forwarded this nugget from a plaza in Amsterdam:  "The wise man does not urinate in the wind."


    The gateway has a Classical feel, but dates only from 1991. 
    Want to give your adage some gravitas?  Try Latin...and chisel it on your own porta principalis.


    Non urinat in ventum:  the late, great Jim Croce argued the same thing in the early 1970s.  Legend has it, the original lyrics of "You Don't Mess Around with Jim" read "you don't piss in the wind."  Public sensibilities of the time required him to make the switch to "spit."


    Either way, it's timeless advice.


     

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