Illustrated interview with Marvin Malecha

After 21 years as Dean of the College of Design at N.C. State University, Marvin Malecha retires this month and will become president and chief academic officer at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego, Calif. It seemed fitting in this interview with Walter to have the design visionary sketch his responses.


What do you look like?

A flash of white hair

Against a black image

Defined by the geometry of eyewear

Fueled by an open spirit?

But what does it matter?


Do you have an alter ego?

Yes and no. It is a circus.



Role models

Composed into an idealized aspiration.

My alter ego has wings.


Which building in Raleigh do you most admire?

A building is a marker of life. It is architecture by its relationship to life. The vanishing tobacco barns are genuine. The Fadum House has a simple reality. The memory of the Catalano House haunts us. Dorton Arena reminds us of our better spirit, and the Hunt Library transforms our understanding.


What’s your favorite thing to eat?

In my personal quiet space

A rich Italian red – Brunello and a bold cheese

With my joy

A soft black licorice with my granddaughter

So it depends …


What are you afraid of?


To restrict my curiosity

To cup my wings

The authority of those who would seize my independence


To drain me of my energy

Driving color from my mind


What’s on your feet?

A message, a dialogue of Van Gogh,

Heidegger, and Charlie Chaplin …

Cole Hahn high tops today

Mephisto for comfort yesterday

Asics from my son for exercise

My identity!


What is your favorite season?

The season I am alive in! I am moved by the quiet of a snowfall and the crackle of the first steps in it. Who cannot be astounded by the brilliance of the color of a youthful spring? The lustiness of summer speaks for itself. But the beautiful subtlety of fall … the mature spectrum of color … the instigation … the demand for reflection – makes it my favorite.


What’s on your mind?

The past near and far

Today … NOW!

The transition to the future.

Satisfaction for what has been

Impatience to be better