Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof: That's right, go ahead and clap, because Pharrell Williams will be giving the keynote address at the 2014 AIA National Convention.
Williams joins artist and urban planner Theaster Gates and MacArthur Genius and architect Jeanne Gang, FAIA, as speakers who will deliver keynote addresses. ARCHITECT Live host Stephen Chung, AIA, and 2014 AIA President Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, will also give talks. And Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel may put in an appearance as well, but who ever knows with that guy.
But none of those announcements has stirred up quite as much excitement today as Pharrell Williams. Because "Happy."
Williams has taken his chipper pop hit, "Happy"—a number that graced the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack—and turned it into a global phenomenon. He recorded an hour-long video for a loop of "Happy" for every hour of the day, I guess? This appears to be the 3:00 p.m. cut. Today's announcement one day after the International Day of Happiness, which the United Nations celebrated by broadcasting home-made music videos for "Happy" recorded all over the world. Not that you need the UN to coax people to record goofy would-be viral videos for "Happy." Of the dozens of millions of people who watched the video on YouTube, approximately all of them have made their own tribute video.
The Wire, which is already over "Happy," notes that the nation has been bopping along to the song's strangely melancholy key and upbeat verses since July 3 of last year. "Happy" will be almost a year old by the time Williams talks with all the architects. Presumably, by then, we'll be talking about something else. (Although, who knows. "Get Lucky" is even older than "Happy," but I plan to put it right back on repeat when and if summer ever returns.)
I'm guessing Williams intends to talk about more than music at the convention in Chicago. I wouldn't be surprised if he spoke directly to any number of issues affecting architects. During a performance at Design Miami, he testified to his affection for Craig Robins, the Dacra Development CEO (and Design Miami cofounder). Williams has designed a series of chairs and a fashion line.
So he has his finger on the pulse. Which is convenient, since he happens to also be the pulse.
Photo used with permission courtesy a Creative Commons license with Flickr user Lisa EK.