Meet Fritz Haeg
Fritz envisions and builds alternate realities. He is an architect who works in the art world. His life is an intentional movement toward something that is true, beautiful, and impossible.
As a Kid
In second grade he decided that he wanted to become an architect. From grade school through high school, he was designing plans, sections, and elevations of fantasy houses. In 6th grade, he did a term paper on underground houses: he drew intricate sections of an imagined underground home, and then a paper on passive solar systems.
He grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Next door was one of the largest shopping malls in the country, the first climate controlled mall in the world. This was an isolating and homogenous world. The underground environments that he imagined and read about, the kind of people in these environments, seemed so much more alive and interesting to him than the suburban world he lived in.
In college, he was surrounded by artists. Through this community, he discovered contemporary art. His slow migration from architecture to art started here. His early interest in architecture is still at the root of what he does: that same excitement about imagining different ways of living and then creating them is still the same.
It was a desire to imagine something that didn't exist and then create it: it was more than just a building, it was another way of living, it suggested a different reality.
During the 80's he was inspired by the nascent environmental movement in architecture: he looked at ecological design that was responsive to climate. He was always drawn to this movement, although the field was not taken seriously by academics.
Art over Architecture
He chose to practice a personal architecture within the art world, because there was no room for failure or vulnerability in the architecture field.
At the age of thirty, he moved from New York to LA. For the first three or four years there, he was in a rut. I did not know what I was doing or how it was all adding up. In New York he had been painting and doing architecture. In LA, he had been teaching, gardening, and having events at his house. I was not clear how all this work was coming together, and was feeling confused about what I was doing.
One day, I woke up and realized that he was not in a rut any more: I felt a sense of purpose and direction. He had been doing the same things all along, but from this day, he began to understand how it could all add up to a life's work.