DANIEL RUIZ DESIGNS BUILDINGS
Norine Dworkin '88 / photos by Richard
Kicking back in one of historic Brooklyn's charming garden
patisseries, architect Daniel Ruiz '88 muses about gargoyles.
Sure, they're charming in a twisted, Halloweeny sort of way.
But what he really likes about them is that they do more than
scare the faithful from straying off the path of righteousness.
He likes them because they're functional. "A gargoyle is
artistic expression, but it's also providing weight to the buttress
so that the loads coming down from the spire and the roof of
the medieval church get transferred properly," explains
Ruiz. In fact, he says, if it weren't for those creepy gargoyles,
churches the world over would be toppling right and left. Even
so, you don't expect today's Wallpaper-driven architects to
appreciate a bunch of stone critters that resemble deranged
Yodas hyped up on steroids. But bizarre as they are, Ruiz believes
they still offer lessons in how community values can be articulated.
idea--that buildings be more than the sum of their steel beams,
concrete, glass, and drywall--is what really fires Ruiz's passion
for architecture. The Bauhaus decreed that a building's functionality
should be evident in its form. Ruiz pushes the concept a step
further: That a building be reflective of, indeed, indebted
to, the community that houses it. "I'm interested in how
architecture relates to the public realm, how people interact
with it, partly in terms of how they live in those spaces, but
even more so, how different pieces of architecture come together
to create a civic space," he explains. "When I think
about culture, I think about what makes a community, how people
relate together in a place that makes it unique. That's what
makes a culture, and it's from there that you have your artistic