Recently, we visited Thomas Phifer’s office in New York – a working floor that embodies the same spirit as his architecture with its pristine furnishings and axial organization. Phifer (who is also an avid Arch Daily reader) began his firm back in the 1990s and, as his office has grown and developed, his projects have been honored with several AIA Honor Awards and American Architecture Awards.
In fact, the firm’s North Carolina Museum of Art project is one of only ten projects to have been awarded a 2011 AIA Honor Award, the organization’s highest recognition for building design. The AIA commented that the building’s interior’s “gently luminous setting,” the result of natural light that is filtered through hundreds of elliptical oculi in the ceiling, and the way in which its exterior, enclosed in matte aluminum panels, “continue[s] the discourse with the landscape” and offers “unexpected and scintillating reflections.” Since opening in April 2010, the project has dramatically transformed the visitor experience of both the Museum itself and the 164-acre park in which it is sited, and with which West Building is visually and experientially integrated. Surrounded by five courtyards, each of which seems to enter the structure, the museum is a strong example of Phifer’s desire to blend the natural with the artificial.
From smaller scale residences to larger scale courthouses or pavilions, Phifer’s design principals and strategies emphasize a sense of inspiration gained from the environment teamed with providing an elegantly functional structure. Phifer notes that each project provides the opportunity to push limitations and expectations, “It becomes the architect’s responsibility to continually challenge the client and the design team to appropriateness and invention.” It is a way of design that offers thoughtful and refined architecture.
Some time ago we visited New York City based Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, to interview founding principals Marion Wesis and Michael Manfredi. The multidisciplinary firm has distinguished themselves with their holistic design approach, successfully integrating the disciplines of architecture, art, infrastructure, and landscape design.
One of their well-known works, the Olympic Sculpture Park for the Seattle Art Museum, was the winning design of an international competition. Weiss/Manfredi conceptualized it to be a new model for an urban sculpture park. The design transformed a contaminated brownfield into a public park space in downtown Seattle, and extended the museum into the landscape of the city. The Olympic Sculpture Park has been such a successful design that it has become a case study for further urban landscapes.
The firm ahas continued to succeed with their design concepts, as seen in their participation in the St. Louis Arch The City + The Arch + The River International competition. Among the most prominent architects, Weiss/Manfredi was selected as a finalist in this competition.
In 2007 Weiss/Manfredi received the AIA Gold Medal of Honor, New York Chapter. Their work has been recognized regionally, nationally and internationally receiving numerous awards and garnering competitions. They have also been featured at the Museum of Modem Art, the Venice Architectural Biennale, and the Sao Paolo Biennale of International Architecture and Design.
Weiss/Manfredi projects previously featured in ArchDaily:
An early advocate of sustainable design, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson focuses their designs on the site and the user. Their sensitivity to place and ability to work in a wide range of scale and circumstance has resulted in a firm that is capable of providing exceptionally smart design on a consistent basis. Founded in 1965, they have offices in Wilkes-Barre, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson is probably most well known to the general public for their design of the Apple Store Fifth Avenue in New York City. This project is a great reflection of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s commitment to outstanding design and emphases on creating a strong relationship between a building and its physical surroundings.
In 1994 Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was awarded the AIA Architecture Firm of the year and they have received over 450 awards, regionally, nationally, and internationally for their design abilities. Most recently in 2010 founding partner Peter Bohlin received the prestigious AIA Gold Medal, the highest award given by the Institute.
Most of their most acclaimed projects can be found on “The Nature of Circumstance” a monograph published by Razzoli, and on “Arcadian Architecture: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson – 12 Houses“.
You can see some of their projects featured at ArchDaily (more to come very soon!):
Founded in 1995, Archimania has won over 100 awards, including national, regional and local recognition. More importantly though is how the firm has distinguished themselves by their collaborative design approach, no project to big or to small, relationship with their clients, and innovative solutions to creating real value in their architecture.
Featuring a diverse portfolio that pushes the envelope, Archimania is known for their unique client architect relationship. The firm truly emphases teamwork, focusing on an active listening role with clients, resulting in their Visioning Charrette, a design process that is collaborative – creating places that reflect vision.
Archimania is dedicated to their home state of Tennessee, often utilizing local materials in their designs. Setting themselves apart from the crowd, the firm sees each project as a way of further expanding the community’s ideas about the built environment, recognizing the role of an architect within the community not as a passive one, but rather one as a local leader.
Archimania projects at ArchDaily:
More info on their projects after the break:
While visiting New York, we had the chance to stop by Brooklyn-based kOnyk Architecture to speak with the firm’s principal, Craig Konyk. The architects categorize themselves as a creative architectural design studio – a characteristic that is evident in all of their work ranging from the smaller scale designs, such as their Hybrid House, to their larger scale proposals for the Museum of Polish History.
Their aesthetic – an almost simplistic gesture with an added twist – creates eye catching structures which are rooted back to the contextual underpinnings of the site, or supported by their studies of sustainability (see Girasole), or perhaps an exploration of redefining the public realm (check out their Museum proposal).
The success of the firm has grown steadily as kOnyk has been awarded two NYFA fellowships, two ACSA Design Awards, six AIA New York Chapter Design Awards, and has exhibited work at Parsons School of Design, the Architectural League of New York, and the Storefront for Art and Architecture.
“Ninety-eight percent of buildings are boxes, which tells me that a lot of people are in denial. We live and work in boxes. People don’t even notice that. Most of what’s around us is banal. We live with it. We accept it as inevitable. People say, ‘This is the world the way it is, and don’t bother me.’ Then when somebody does something different, real architecture, the push-back is amazing. People resist it. At first it’s new and scary.”
“The thing is, I hate the celebrity architect thing. I just do my work. The press comes up with this stuff and it sticks. I hate the word starchitect. Stuff like that comes from mean-spirited, untalented journalists. It’s demeaning. It’s derisive, and once it’s said, it sticks. I get introduced all the time, ‘Here’s starchitect Frank Gehry…’ My reaction: ‘What the fuck are you talking about?‘”
More snippets of the interview after the break:
Pugh + Scarpa Architects is known for their ability to consistently design within the top tier of architectural works. Their success in creating spaces that blend architecture and craft with community involvement capitalizing on in-house talent is one example of why they have been recognized with more than 50 local, state, and national AIA awards, including the 2010 AIA National Firm Award and the 2010 AIA California Firm Award.
The firm has distinguished themselves with place-making architecture providing each of their clients with a building that truly is their own, an organic derived, sustainable, inventive work of art. Pugh + Scarpa Architects design process, whether for public or private use, for rich or for poor, focuses on engaging the user and utilizing common materials in beautiful and extraordinary ways.
Pugh + Scarpa Architects was founded in 1991 by Gwynne Pugh and Lawrence Scarpa, and Angela Brooks became a partner in 2001. In September partners went in different directions, splitting into two firms: Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio and Brooks + Scarpa Architects.
Projects previously featured at ArchDaily:
We visited Asymptote’s new offices in Brooklyn to interview Hani Rashid.
Hani co-founded the firm back in 1989 with Lise Anne Couture, becoming pioneers of the digital revolution. One of their first projects, the NYSE Advanced Trading Floor (2001), explored the relation between virtual and physical worlds starting the debate on the new digital tools in architecture.
Their recent work includes the Yas Marina Hotel (awarded by our readers with the Building of the Year Award 2009, Hotels & Restaurants) in Abu Dhabi and 166 Perry Street in NY.
Asymptote’s continuing exploration of new forms, building techniques and multi-media has been reflected on several installations and exhibitions, objects, and recent competitions such as the Kaohsiung Port Terminal.
While in Miami for the 2010 AIA Convention we had the chance to visit Chad Oppenheim, founder of Oppenheim Architecture + Design.
The firm specializes in world class hospitality, residential and mixed-use design, with a focus on sustainability. Some of these works include a villa in Dellis Cay for Mandarin Oriental, Villa Allegra, the COR Tower (featured next in AD), Starwood’s DC 1 Hotel in Washington, the Campus Center, the Enea Headquarters and smaller projects suchas the Simpson Park Hammock Pavilion, among several others. Oppenheim’s designs in the Miami area stand out in a developer-driven market.
In the next few days we are going to feature several of his recent projects so you can have a better idea about the firm. Please find the rest of the interview below:
While in Chicago earlier this year I had the chance to interview an amazing architect: Michael Graves.
Michael Graves has played an influential role in architecture, often credited as moving the profession in America from abstract modernism to post-modernism. His designs communicate a clear point of view reflecting a sense of playfulness with sophistication. The balance of traditional elements (typically through arches, columns, and pediments) and exploration with color convey the lessons of modern architecture while referring to historical details.
Michael Graves’s most notable accomplishment may be in his success as a high profile architect and a household name. He teamed up with companies such as Target, Disney, Phillips Electronics, and Black and Decker developing a wide range of products reaching a larger public. In doing so he has required us to evaluate our design sensibility and responsibility, serving both large-scale design and intricate details such as bathroom fixtures, teapots, and dinnerware.
Michael Graves has served as a Professor of Architecture at Princeton University, founder and principal of Michael Graves & Associates, and has been awarded some of the most prestigious awards including the 2001 Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, and the 2010 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education.
Please find the rest of the interview below, including questions on American Architecture and the obsession of chasing green design:
During this summer SO-IL (Solid Objectives Idenburg Liu) took the stage.
First, the Brooklyn based firm won the P.S.1 Competition for this summer with Pole Dance, an interactive performing installation. Then a few weeks after we presented you Flockr, the main pavilion for the Get It Louder festival in Beijing.
We had the chance to meet and interview principals Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu at P.S.1 while Pole Dance was open. The interview went great. I highly recommend that you check out their response to our question regarding their experience starting and running a firm, just during the financial crisis.
The firm is currently involved in interesting projects abroad, which we look forward in featuring here at ArchDaily in the future.
Please find the rest of the interview below:
Steve is the “design guru” at EDR, overseeing the design of all projects from concept to construction documents, and according to the firm “his hand sketches in the early phases of design are invaluable”.
Steve, along side partners Allen Eskew (FAIA) and Mark Ripple (AIA, LEED AP) have been focused their efforts in the NOLA area, not only with their buildings, but also taking part on the initiatives to rebuild NOLA. Steve is also a Past-President of AIA Louisiana and AIA New Orleans.
EDR’s work portfolio includes projects in varies scales, such as the Prospect.1 Welcome Center (AIA Small Project Award 2010) or 930 Poydras Residential Tower, a 462,000 sqf project. On the videos below we discuss with Steve about their experience working on such different scales.
Other works by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple previously featured at AD:
- 930 Poydras Residential Tower
- Prospect.1 Welcome Center
- Dr. Nancy Foster Florida Keys Environmental Center (with Guidry Beazley Architects)
- LITE Technology Center
… and more coming soon!
Enjoy the rest of the interview:
This interview was completely conducted and translated by Marco Masetti, done as his bachelor’s degree thesis in Italy.
The idea of multiplicity is innate in Peter Zumthor’s projects since his very first works: works of art surrounding us put on various meanings, which do not always remain on parallel levels combining well with dialectical relationships. The vague is planned strictly, holding by the rules of the architectural language. Beauty is in the undetermined, the multiple, but it is obtainable only through precision. Multiplicity of objects is shown only when who is living with them can distinguish their single parts and, at the same time, can see the work in its wholeness. This throw back to the “unitary” character of architecture, in which every part is in relation with the others and together they give a sense to the project. Zumthor’s planning is pure: nothing is pointless. In this society, as the architect says, «architecture has to oppose resistance», and react to the naughtiness of shapes and meanings, and return to talk its own language. Original shape invention or particular composition doesn’t take to the truth. Between multiplicity and silence there’s a tense and vibrational relationship, and the concrete idea is in their equilibrium.
Things determine the spatial dimension of the world, and therefore its knowledge and usability to us. The project triggers a linking mechanism between things, so they can assume a meaning to the user, becoming an efficient tool to know of the world. Things, objects, the world of references, transform our sensations in remembrance. The pictures that come to mind enclose Zumthor’s research heart. Shape is the result, not the reason. Beauty doesn’t come out of the shape alone, but of the multiplicity of impressions, sensations and emotions that the shape has us to discover.
I have visited SOM before, to interview Craig Hartman at the San Francisco office, but Chicago was were it all started back in 1936 with Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings, and John O. Merrill who joined in 1939.
This time I interviewed Philip Enquist (FAIA), the partner in charge of urban design and planning. Philip has been involved in development and redevelopment initiatives for college campuses, existing city neighborhoods, new cities, rural districts, downtown commercial centers, port areas and even in a master-plan for the entire nation of Bahrain.
It was amazing to hear from him on different processes that have been shaping the most important cities in the world, such as Beijing’s Central Business District or the master plan for the Millenium Park. But I was also surprised about a project we presented to you earlier, the vision for the Great Lakes area, a project that shows a lot of responsibility as an architect and an example that we still have a very important role in our society.
After the break, the usual questions a bonus with what’s a good city, and some photos of the office.
At the 2009 AIA Convention in San Francisco I had the chance to attend a panel with Jeanne Gang (principal at Studio Gang Architects) who received her FAIA during the event. I was very impressed by her work, specially her proposal for a housing project in India as well as the Aqua Tower, which was under construction at the time. A year after I had the chance to visit Jeanne at her Studio to conduct this interview.
If you don’t know Jeanne, here’s the short bio: She studied at the University of Illinois where she received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture (honors), and then got her Masters degree (distinction) at the Harvard GSD. After working at OMA (where she participated in projects such as the House), Jeanne founded Studio Gang in 1997, where she is now a principal along with Mark Schendel.
Jeanne has taught architecture as an adjunct associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology since 1998. She was visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2004, held the Louis I. Kahn professor chair at the Yale School of Architecture in 2005, and was the Princeton University Graduate Design Studio visiting lecturer in the spring of 2007.
The work from Studio Gang is very broad, from private residences to community facilities, from a small pavilion to a 82-story tower, as you can see on our previous features:
- Lincoln Zoo South Pond Pavilion
- Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center
- Brick-Weave House
- Aqua Tower
- Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theatre
- SOS Children’s Villages Lavezzorio Community Center
But all of them have follow a clear line: careful attention to the materials, and a constant research leading to innovations in terms of sustainability and fabrication.
The firm has been involved in important international competitions, such as the Taipei Pop Center competition, where the firm received 2nd place. An interesting project, with a high level of development.
In the interview we talked about the importance of the Aqua Tower, an honor and a challenge for any Chicago architect, the home of the skyscraper.
Please find the rest of the interview below, with some photos of my visit to Studio Gang, a cool workspace with a very nice garden and common spaces, and some sneak peaks at the Great Wall, Solstice at the Park and Lincoln Park Zoo Pavilions projects which we will soon feature at ArchDaily.
Sustainability has become one of the main issues when designing for any architecture practice around the world, and not only thinking in technological aspects but also in the quality of the community environment. Awarded with the Young Architect Award by AIA Seattle, b9 Architects creates innovative, sustainable, modern architectural solutions utilizing open, connective spaces and maximizing access to natural light. Working through a comprehensive design process, they translate initial concepts into form through text, drawing and modeling, utilizing rhythm and pattern in order to create moments of contrast and difference. Through thoughtful site planning, energy considerations, daylighting and material choices, b9 Architects are committed to working towards achieving carbon neutrality in our built environment.
With this introduction, we would like to present an interview we made to Bradley Khouri, AIA, the Principal and founder of b9 Architects inc. Their work focuses on creating positive change in the urban environment through innovative place-specific modern architecture. Supporting sustainable, transit oriented, walkable communities, b9’s completed works include urban single- and multi-family housing projects, live-work dwellings and commercial interiors.
Designing Educational districts is certainly a challenging topic for every architecture firm. In line with this topic, we would like to introduce you a California based firm who is committed to helping California school districts harness the power of the sun to generate renewable energy.
Founded in 1986, Quattrocchi Kwok Architects provides thoughtful collaborative design services to the clients they serve. They offer responsive design work that supports those who use the facilities they create through client centered design, human scale, innovation, sustainable practices and the willingness to stretch our imaginations to suit the needs of their clients. QKA’s diverse portfolio reflects our commitment to design that responds to use, climate and the community.
With a staff of 47, Quattrocchi Kwok Architects has provided design services for over $850 million of public and private projects. This experience includes master planning, new construction, renovations and historical restoration. While their experience is varied, each project shares a common goal: The facility must meet the needs and wishes of all the users. (more…)
George is also a partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Given his position as a partner on one of the most recognized firms in the US and as the voice of the architects through the AIA, George has a very good idea on the current state and future of the profession. We did our usual set of questions, but also included two things that I find very important: The importance on pushing IPD and the role of the AIA during the financial crisis (and what lessons can be learned after it). We also recommend you to read our article on his position regarding small business taxes, part of his efforts to improve the way architects practice in the US.
We published each question as a separate video so you can easily watch them. On a side note, there is some audio noise due to a bad mic placement. My fault, won´t happen again.
This interview first appeared in Assembly, a new magazine that ArchDaily contributor Sarah Wesseler is working on.
According to the United Nations, 1 billion people currently live in slums. Over the next two decades, this figure is expected to double. In recent years, slums (also known, more neutrally, as informal settlements) have increasingly attracted positive attention from academics and design professionals impressed by their efficient deployment of scarce resources, community-based orientation, and entrepreneurial vitality. Architect Rem Koolhaas celebrated the slums of Nigeria in his 2008 book Lagos: How It Works, while Teddy Cruz has become well known for his work with shantytowns on the U.S.-Mexico border. And no less a traditionalist than design enthusiast Prince Charles, prone to harsh public attacks on contemporary architecture, has championed Dharavi, the Mumbai neighborhood portrayed in Slumdog Millionaire, praising its “underlying, intuitive ‘grammar of design’” in a 2009 speech.
Detractors claim that these and similar attempts to examine the slums through the lens of design romanticize poverty and ignore the sociopolitical forces responsible for their creation and proliferation. However, although some projects involving informal design are doubtless better conceived than others, in general there can be no real question that it is appropriate for architects and planners to concern themselves with a phenomenon fundamentally tied to design-related issues such as land use, infrastructure, and materials. And given the failure of so many top-down modernist schemes for housing the poor over the past century, it is logical for the profession to turn its attention to a housing model which continues to mushroom organically around the globe: the shantytown.
An ongoing research project being carried out by 26’10 South Architects, a young South African firm headed by husband-and-wife architects Thorsten Deckler and Anne Graupner, provides an interesting look into this type of work. The couple have spent the past year and a half studying the spatial dynamics of Diepsloot, a Johannesburg suburb created in 1994 to house the poor. Today, approximately three-quarters of Diepsloot’s residents live in slums.
The interview after the break. (more…)