The Architect's Suicide: A Fictional Account
The Architect's Suicide thoughtfully combines fiction with fact in this sometimes-hallucinatory account. It brings readers deep inside the convoluted life and mysterious disappearance of an American architect seeking fame and recognition during an era when heroism appears to have died. An architectural critic endeavors to understand the disappearance of Robert A. Michael architect and his presumed suicide. In his quest, recorded here, the critic sheds light on the world of architectural practice that so disappointed this architect. As part of his research the critic interviews members of Robert's family, business associates, clients, and colleagues. The narratives the critic assembles reveal the personal and professional ambitions and despair that may have contributed to the architect's fate. Robert A. Michael, in his youth, read Ayn Rand's influential book The Fountainhead. Like other young men he was inspired by Rand to pursue a career in architecture choosing architecture over art as his career goal. He believed in Rand's modernist idea of the autonomous man of independent-mindedness and integrity. Robert, however, was continually disappointed as he found the heroic role of the architect promoted by Rand to be elusive. Conflicts arose between his aesthetic ideals and the realities of architectural practice. The critic speculates that Robert's sobering disappearance signifies the end of the modern era for architects and their profession as promoted by Rand and the heroes of architecture's modern movement.