My Kingston — Harold Ford Morrison

My Kingston — Harold Ford Morrison

Harold Ford Morrison, Architect, Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory

Saturday, March 19, 2016

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What was your first impression of Kingston, Jamaica?

I was struck by its natural beauty, weathered stone skins, and its long-legged golden girls.

You have continued to come. Why?

Mostly to connect with and visit with my beautiful family here in Jamaica.

What’s your one must-have meal/fruit or drink whenever you are in Jamaica?

Coconut water and curry chicken.

When not in Jamaica, where do you go to chill and why?

Northern California. For me the culture and setting reminds me of a time long past.

Your mother is the celebrated writer Toni Morrison. How does that make you feel now as opposed to, say, as a child?

It now feels fantastic to see her continue her work. As a child I felt some curiosity and wonderment when it came to her writing.

You shared that a film and a book about Toni Morrison are in the works. Would you care to elaborate?

The title is The
Foreigners Home  ". I filmed her in Paris while she was guest curator at the Louvre for about eight weeks.  

Which is your Toni Morrison’s favourite work?

Beloved was a revolutionary work. The notion of killing one’s own children to protect them from slavery has reached a wide audience.

Did architecture choose you or did you choose architecture?

When I was four years old I saw my father’s drawings for the first time and knew instantly I wanted to do that.

What was the defining moment?

I was a child actor from the age of 5, but at 15 I got a job in an architectural firm as an intern in New Orleans. From that moment I thought this work was important.

You have shared your travelling to Tobago with your father the late Harold ‘Moxy’ Morrison, to work on a project together. How many of these projects did you work on together and which was your most memorable?

That was the most recent some years ago. We worked on some ideas for projects here in the US, in the South mostly.

What impact did your late father (you were named for him) have on you – first as a child raised primarily by your mom, later as a teen, and finally as an adult?

His impact was profound. His determination, his talent He had that dash of flamboyance in both style and action.

What advice would you give a child with two successful parents who wants to carve out his/her own niche?

Follow your true calling; it might take some time.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

To listen and learn more from our culture and environment.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

After college I became interested in deconstruction as a theory for architecture. Today I think I’ve morphed into post-structural expressionism.

Today’s budding architect need not be able to draw- As a lecturer in design, how do you keep a student intrigued and focused?

Yes, I have met people who’ve never drawn on paper. However, I think there is a tactile aspect to the design process, especially in the third dimension. At the conceptual stage in order to just capture the design idea is most important.

Which country inspires you for its architecture, and conversely, what city makes you want to wipe the slate clean and start over?

I’m inspired by both Morocco and Spain. As far as wiping the slate, I think Georges-Eugène Haussmann learned that was not successful either culturally or environmentally.

Were you to have dinner with five architects living or dead, who would they be and why?

For me architecture is informed by theory, and these are the philosophers that have influenced me:

Jacques Derrida

Antonio Negri

Michel Foucault

Antonio Gramsci

Louis Althusser


What will your legacy be?


Yet another work in progress.


Finally, what’s your philosophy?


Feet on the ground — eyes on the stars.



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