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Mack & Merrill: The 1999 Charles & Ray Eames Lecture

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Edited by Jason Young. Michigan Architecture Papers 7, 1999. 112pp. £11.95. Available from Triangle Bookshop 020 7631 1381

The 1999 Charles & Ray Eames lecture at the University of Michigan by Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam makes unusually easy reading, writes Isabel Allen . In the introductory essay Jason Young, an admirer of Scogin Elam and Bray, declares that there is 'a sort of embraced madness in the practice'. Judging from the dialogue which follows, this could not be further from the truth. They describe their work in almost childlike terms. Mountain House (see right), for example, is described as 'the biggest small house or the smallest big house you have ever seen'. The impression of unaffected simplicity is exaggerated by the deliberately informal editing. Hence Mack is quoted as saying 'I must say. . . I'm sorry to interrupt you Merrill. . . ' It would probably be annoying, if it weren't for the fact that the bulk of the conversation is so descriptive and succinct. For once the speakers were more interested in making things clear than in appearing to be clever.

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