Chapter 1 of 24
Michael Scott, 1985
My father felt strongly that painting was no good for anybody, and I loved painting. I spent all my days as a boy painting and I wanted to be an artist. But he wouldn't hear of it. He said I'd make no money as a painter, I'd better be an architect and that would be the next best thing. So I said all right I will be an architect.
I joined the firm of Messrs. J. & K. when I left school. My father apprenticed me to them. They were very kind nice men but they had very curious views on architecture. For a start they only liked Gothic or Renaissance type of design. They wouldn't hear of anything creative or modern.
So as I spent some years with them it took me quite a while to get their ideas out of my head. When I left them and started to look at what was happening all over the world, I read about the Bauhaus, it was a remarkable place. It was a remarkable place. And that was early 20's as far as I remember. And Gropius was a great man to me. So all that time I hadn't heard of Mies van der Rohe. I'd heard a lot about Gropius, or read a lot about him. I didn't know about Mies until quite late in my learning about architecture, but Mies was a stunning man. And Mies van der Rohe became my king. Of course I knew about Frank Lloyd Wright and Corbusier. They were famous names to me and I met Corbusier once. I never met Frank Lloyd Wright. But they all disappeared into insignificance in comparison with Mies van der Rohe. He was a giant. He shadowed everybody and everything. His buildings were superb. The detailing was quite lovely, elegant, refined and really very beautiful.
In my early days I did some interesting things. For instance I was architect to Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir to build the Gate Theatre, and that was an old 18th century concert hall with a platform at the far end where I put the stage, and it was open to a great fanfare. These people were marvellous, Edwards and Mac Liammóir, quite remarkable people of the theatre. I used to act for the Abbey and the Gate. I'd leave the office at 5 o'clock and go down to the Abbey where there would be rehearsals of one sort and another and I acted in various very good plays. I liked it, it was fun, a fun thing to do, but it wasn't serious for me. Architecture was very serious, acting wasn't.
However, I went to London to act, and I told my friend who brought me that I must get a name that nobody in London would know, and he gave me the name of Wolf Curran. I thought it was a brilliant name because these are two names of two famous Irish patriots, Wolfe Tone and Sarah Curran.
There I was doing drawings in the dressing room No. 1, drawing the dressing room and the theatre. I was still doing architecture. I wasn't concerned that much about the theatre itself.