Art: More Than Modern

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"Look, I'm Raving." Stone has also applied his trademark to his own house. Designed in a single afternoon and built as planned, it is currently the most discussed louse in Manhattan. Spotted outside the house one day, Frank Lloyd Wright was asked. "Is this a pupil of yours?" and replied, "Not a pupil but a pal." Then Wright marched up and rang Stone's front doorbell. "I was scared to death," Stone confesses, "but Mr. Wright was wonder-:ul." Eying the house with a connoisseur's discrimination, Wright said: "You know, Ed, we'll have to trade details." Then, in an astonished voice, he added: "Listen to me, I'm raving. And they say that old crank never has a kind word to say about anything. But I'm raving."

Two blocks away from his new house, Ed Stone has set up his office, one of several he has maintained over the years in the East 60s. "There may not be a motto outside the door," says Stone, "but we turn out architects as well as architecture." Other architects agree, point out that Stone has long captured young architects' imaginations, from his years of lecturing (at Yale, Princeton, New York University, Cornell and the University of Arkansas) has been able to pick top young graduates attracted by his informality and insistence that "architecture is an art."

Outside Stone's office, opinion is sharply divided on his direct challenge to the glass façade. The principal question: Will the grille become a cliche and a cover for bad architecture? Says Manhattan Architect Philip Johnson: "The New Delhi embassy? How could I help but love it? It's a jewel! But architecture is more than putting up drapes in front of a house to hide it." Architect Eero Saarinen (TIME Cover, July 2, 1956) feels that the New Delhi embassy "marks a new turning point toward stateliness and dignity," but also thinks that "the best thing that could happen to Ed Stone is for his friends to take him down on the floor and wrestle his grilles away from him."

Bell for Beauty. Stone fires right back at his critics' glass facades: "Let's face it. Large glass areas create serious problems. Interiors are hard to heat in winter and to cool in summer. The problem of glare is continuous. A glass house is lovely if you own the view. But hell, otherwise you're all displayed to your neighbors in your pajamas. The grille is a basic architectural principle, as sound an idea as two steel columns with glass between them."

Can the grille play a role in veiling unsightly pockmarks of urban blight which for economic reasons must stand? Stone is excited by the fact that two major U.S. cities are considering it. But his main hope is that he has touched off a new movement. "What we need is to put pure beauty into our buildings," he says fervently. "Let's strike the bell for beauty."

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