Interview with Bob Wandel
“What do you want? Witty stuff? Intelligent stuff?” Tell me what you want from me,” Bob Wandel quickly asked me when we sat down to talk about the first highlighted project from 1970, his home. “Anything you want to give me,” I told him. He sat back in his chair and laughed as I explained the goal of our meeting and the questions I was about to ask. “Why was this project so significant for the firm?”
The house was designed in 1968 before WSA existed. Its design, in part inspired by Le Corbusier, received a Columbus Plan Award, the precursor to the AIA Awards. It was one of two houses called out as important in a lecture on Columbus architecture in 2013. It’s well respected among the faculty at The Ohio State University. It’s in a neighborhood filled with basic stone and brick houses overlooking downtown Columbus. If looking at it from a distance, it looks like it fits right in with the stone and brick houses, but it stands out on its own from the street. “Difference has always been really important to me in architecture,” he told me.
I asked him how the project was successful from a client perspective. He lifted his hands to his face and said “It’s a magnificent house. It really is,” and shrugged his shoulders like there was nothing else that needed to be said… but then he did. “The next door neighbor was a mother of 13 children,” he said. “When the house was being built, she asked in more of a statement than a question, ‘How could such nice people build a house like that?’” He was so proud.
1970 Pop Culture Facts
American Top 40 with Casey Kasem was first broadcasted giving us all the latest tunes. We lost Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix and that’s really depressing even though we were blessed with Aerosmith and All My Children on ABC. The active folk were running their first marathon in NYC and the nerds were saving all of their data on the newest craze, the floppy disk. Collectively, we celebrated Earth Day for the first time and watched as Apollo 13 made its way into space and then back again days later, coining the “successful failure mission.” Wandel & Schnell, Architects opened their first office on West First Avenue.