When I was three or four years old, in the mid ’80s, I fell in love with My Little Pony. I begged my parents for the little plastic figurines, but they were reluctant to indulge my overtly girly interest. Being a boy, there were clear, acceptable expectations for my play habits: Batman and Transformers yes, ponies no. I can imagine my parents worried thoughts about how my subversive pony phase would play out through the rest of my life: would other kids make fun of me? Would that make me unhappy? Would I turn to drugs to compensate? Would that ruin my chances at university? Would that mean I would be living with them until I was forty?
Modern architecture is often derided for being austere, yet over the past few years, I’ve definitely noticed some clever, playful things inspired by the work of Mies van der Rohe, Arne Jacobsen and Le Corbusier. Toys, gingerbread houses and even a bird house have brought a certain down-to-earth charm to some of the most iconic buildings of the twentieth century, making them more accessible to people who wouldn’t necessarily know the difference between Ronchamp and Fallingwater. Here are some of my favourites.
If I had a backyard with birds in it (especially birds wearing black turtle necks), I would definitely buy Monique Engelund‘s tribute to Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.