JK: What was the closest moment you had to throwing down your equipment and screaming ‘ I quit! ’ to the heavens? PB: One of our early jobs was a house, this one is funny, to me anyway, for people actually up in Shavertown, PA. We eventually did quite a good thing, and I was very young. Their lawyer asked me to come in, and I did, and he told me not to mistreat his client. At that moment, one of the very few times in my life, I almost wanted to kill someone. I dreamed I was so strong I could just lift his desk and go ‘whoop’ right down on top of him. But he was a lawyer, so I kept my cool and everything worked out.
circumstance, each person, each place, which is both an effort of your intellect and your emotions in the very best way.
JK: What would you like your legacy to be?
PB: I would love to make [my legacy] modernism. Not hard modernism, but make it something worked with very magically. I don’t mean magic in a light way; I mean something special to each circumstance and each person. I mean I’d like to work hard and make it look easy, make things that look, ‘There they are!’ That’s what I’d like my legacy to be, to be intelligent and simple and thoughtful and fitting each
JK: One of your most notable talents is your ability to work around natural features when designing, and incorporate them into the final product. When was a time in your life that you had to work around something by creatively accepting it instead of just ignoring or removing it? PB: I did a summer house for my mom and dad, in 1974, a long time ago. I remember a very large boulder, and my choices were to move the boulder or move the building. Instead, I carved the building. In my view, accommodation is better than compromise. I accommodated the boulder, and made the building more powerful. We tend to move to the right, and that might be because of our culture and the fact that we read to the right. So we’re always making accommodations, and the key, and I think it’s highly intuitive, is to combine. JK: You have traveled all over the world, designing for many household names. When you were traveling, did you ever have time off to enjoy those locations? PB: Nothing is ever what you expect it to be, and actually, that’s a pleasure, isn’t it? Even if something is negative in some ways, even that is of interest. I do like Scandinavia, and I’ve never spent much time particularly in Copenhagen, and so I’m
looking forward to [going there again]. But so many things everywhere are fascinating. I haven’t gone places, and I really regret it. For instance, I was on a design journey in some place south of Iraq, a very small country. On my way there I went through the Jordan airport, and I never went to Petra, which is an extraordinary place, and so I do regret that. And that is a problem, when you think you can’t afford the time when of course you can. JK: During one of your lectures, you explained that you haven't been back to your first project since its completion because you wanted to remember it as you left it, not as it is now. When possible, do you do this with all of your projects? PB: I’ve learned over the years to not always go back because sometimes it’s so much more powerful in your head, you know, in your mind, and the way you dreamed of it. People will put a hot tub in the wrong place, build a garage where it was just a forest, and I won’t go back because it will always get in the way of my memory and my dream. It’s like you have a child, and someone else would dress the child for the worse maybe, and it would be a terrible thing; that’s not the way your child was. It’s just, you think of many things in certain ways, and they can be lost very easily.
A special retreat built for Bohlin’s parents, the Forest House sits nestled in the lush emerald trees in West Cornwall, Conn.
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