"There's a secret trapdoor, a kind of magic key into every project," says Bartholomew Voorsanger, whose life and work are chronicled in UNFOLDED, How Architecture Saved My Life". The book, by award-winning author Alastair Gordon, is more of a personal memoir than a conventional monograph, tracing as it does the architect's picaresque journey from an orphanage in the Bronx to an adoptive family in San Francisco, to the ivied halls of Princeton and Harvard, to an apprenticeship with architect I.M. Pei and the establishment of an independent practice in 1978.
Voorsanger's architectural practice served as an emotional anchor through trying times and helped to bring a sense of ceremonial order to life's messy uncertainties. There was the adoption of two Iranian orphans; divorce from his first wife; a broken business partnership; the loss of his second wife to cancer; and a near-fatal embolism. In 1987, Voorsanger's twenty-nine-year-old daughter, Roxanna, was senselessly murdered. As a form of eulogy, the architect designed a new kind of housing prototype. It was an elegiac gesture from father to daughter in which deep, personal loss was transformed, somehow, into healing space.
Author: Alastair Gordon
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