When we named our design Wendy we knew that we were challenging a long tradition of architectural nomenclature. There is no shortage of great names for architectural projects. Even a quick perusal of past Young Architects Program winners reveals gems like PF1 (Public Farm 1), Holding Pattern, and Liquid Sky. But Wendy is different. It’s not a name that describes purpose or an architectural operation. Every strong storm has a name, and Wendy is a force of change that blows in the face of architecture’s discourse on sustainability. By personifying the project the name elicits an emotional connection. Within its short lifetime people have been sending e-mails to email@example.com asking for a summer drink with Wendy. Facebook comments about dating are constantly dribbling in, and e-mails that reference a desire to meet Wendy are a constant.
This personal connection to the project surpasses our wildest dreams as architects. The name breaks a barrier between architecture and the general population by allowing people to feel comfortable talking about a project in the context of popular culture and to relate to it without academic discourse. The name is an invitation to create a friendship with a building, and to be inspired by an installation that is not flawless, but has the right intentions. The success of the name has taken us by surprise, but it also confirms our hunch that the public wants more than just beautiful and functional buildings—they want buildings with personality!