Aaron Venn

Aaron was a student in the last housing thesis studio I taught in Portland, back in the late 20th century. He was an unusual student, one who never acquiesced to conventional wisdom or just went along with what all other architects thought;  Aaron was (and still is) tenacious in arguing from first principles, not giving an inch until he was satisfied with the premises and logic of any proposition.  I really enjoyed this attitude back then, and have continued to appreciate it over the years, as he looks at all social issues in this way, not just architecture.

Not surprisingly, Aaron had issues with much of how the architecture profession is structured in this country, and has drifted away from professional practice.  (Can one be a “lapsed architect”?)  He lives in a remarkable period house in Woodstock, Illinois, which is such a perfect small midwestern town that it was used in the film Groundhog Day.

Their house in Woodstock.

Their house in Woodstock.

Greta siting in the hall of their amazing period house.

Greta sitting in the hall of their amazing period house.

Aaron lives with his wife Heather (a veterinarian) and their son Gordon (a deadly serious gamer, who was busy fabricating his own 13-part history of the world board game while we were there).  Aaron now spends much of his effort turning his family’s love of stamp collecting into a career, growing the stamp dealer business through their website at http://www.postroadco.com.

Aaron shows some of their stamp collection to Greta.

Aaron shows some of their stamp collection to Greta.

After a week in the bustling Miesian universe, it was an amazing contrast to return to visit their beautiful town and their comfortable, small-town life.  As always, it has been great to see what different lives our old friends and former students have mapped out.

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