The selection of Peter Bohlin, FAIA, as the 2010 Gold Medalist seems to have really sparked a response by younger, talented architects. When asked why they were so pleased, one said that Bohlin, who began his practice in decidedly no-frills Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, showed that you didn't have to be born in a major urban center to do good architecture: That you could in fact make it, as an architect, outside the cultural capitals of the United States.
I raised this question of origins to the Gold Medalist tonight at a reception honoring him at Joe's Stone Crab, a Miami landmark. He said that, actually, he had been born in the Bronx, and for a portion of his youth, had sported a thick Bronx brogue, which he lost when he went away to school.
The irony is that, yes, he practiced first away from the centers of fashion, but he had strong New York beginnings. The inspiration remains, but the origins seem less relevant than where we work.