If building one’s own home is one of the most difficult exercises, in the case of Leon Krier the exercise is even more complicated. After 18 years in the profession as a permanent polemicist, writing and describing what architecture should and should not be, his first construction project, which came so late in his career, could have been a trial by fire. Krier is perplexed at times when he sees his ideas put into practice, to a greater or lesser degree of success, when those very ideas were almost always received negatively at first.
He recently accepted a post in a research foundation within the powerful Chicago firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, but at the last minute he decided against taking it. It would seem that Krier carefully weighed the cost of his entry onto the business scene after so many years in another area, that of architectural theory, and realized that other theoreticians have fared badly after making the same transition. Among his examples was surely urban theoretician Camilo Sitte, the old Viennese master so championed by Krier who designed little of true interest throughout his entire life.
The design of his own house, half-way between an order and a test, allowed the architect to take a more relaxed attitude. It is nearly a lark, an amusing joke that combines classicism and its supposed ligneous origin, a combination Nordic cabin, Far West house and Greek temple. Krier had said he would not build unless the circumstances were to his liking, and they apparently were in this case. The house is located in a housing development in northern Florida whose promotors offered him a parcel of land in exchange for his advice in designing the development as a whole. It is somewhat contradictory that real estate developers turned to the man who has fought so hard for a different kind of city; one hopes that the contradiction works out positively and that at last we will see the polemicist become a builder…[+]