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In-Depth Interviews With Jonathan Meades and Thomas Heatherwick, Plus More

Following the conclusion of a new radio series featuring in-depth interviews with inspirational names in global politics, business and the arts, we've picked out and compiled four of our favourites for you to listen to. Thirty minutes each, Monocle 24's collection of Big Interviews have heard from the likes of London-based designer Thomas Heatherwick, architectural critic, writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades, plus developers and hoteliers Ian Schrager and André Balazs.

How "Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston" Hopes to Reclaim America's Concrete Heritage

Paul Rudolph, Government Service Center (1962-71). Image © Mark Pasnik
Paul Rudolph, Government Service Center (1962-71). Image © Mark Pasnik

In 2007, when the late Mayor Thomas Menino announced his intentions to demolish Kallmann, McKinnell and Knowles' iconic Boston City Hall, he gave voice to a tragic but all-too-common popular discomfort with midcentury concrete architecture. Concerned that this threat was only the latest symptom of a pervasive misunderstanding of the significance of the concrete tradition, three architects - Mark Pasnik, Chris Grimley, and Michael Kubo - joined forces shortly thereafter to launch "The Heroic Project" and share their appreciation for this unfairly maligned chapter of architectural history. In addition to creating an internet web archive, Pasnik, Grimley, and Kubo jointly authored a forthcoming historical survey, Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston, scheduled to be released by The Monacelli Press in October 2015, which recasts the cultural and political story behind America's concrete heritage.

I.M. Pei & Partners and Araldo Cossutta, Associated Architects, Christian Science Center (1964-73). Image © Mark Pasnik Kallmann, McKinnell, & Knowles, Boston City Hall (1962-69). Image © Mark Pasnik Paul Rudolph, Government Service Center (1962-71). Image © Mark Pasnik Marcel Breuer & Associates, Madison Park High School (1966-77). Image © Mark Pasnik

Norman Foster: Striving for Simplicity

“Quality is an attitude of mind.” - Norman Foster

In honor of Norman Foster's 80th birthday, we bring to you this extensive video interview by Louisiana Channel that gives an in-depth look into the life and career of the prolific English architect. Throughout the 40-minute interview, Foster reflects on his childhood obsession with technology, the evolution of his work, and his constant "strive for simplicity." 

AD Interviews: Elizabeth Chu Richter / 2015 AIA President

In the midst of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2015 National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, we had the chance to sit down with Elizabeth Chu Richter, CEO of Richter Architects and the AIA President for 2015 to discuss some of the important issues facing the architecture profession today.

Archiculture Interviews: Roger Hart

In Arbuckle Industries' latest Archiculture interview, Roger Hart, an environmental psychology professor at New York’s City University, discusses the relationship between people and their surroundings. He analyzes the effects of environmental factors on both behavior and health, and advocates that the physical environment and its occupants be regarded as symbiotic entities. Additionally, Hart discusses the shifting relationship between environmental psychology and architecture, and explains how a closer collaboration between these disciplines in the design process can produce a healthier and more humanized built environment.

Archiculture Interviews: Bill McDonough

"What I'm trying to look at is how do we make humans supportive of a natural world, in the way that the natural world is supportive of us?" In the latest installment of Arbuckle Industries' Archiculture interviews, architect, educator, environmentalist, and author Bill McDonough discusses some of the challenges and themes he has seen in our built environment. He focuses on environmentalism in architecture through the lens of carbon neutrality and the problems with that principle. He goes on to address some of his solutions, including a Cradle to Cradle design approach which changes the way environmental problems are tackled.

Rare Interview with Buckminster Fuller on the Geodesic Life

"I must reorganize the environment of man by which then greater numbers of men can prosper,” says Buckminster Fuller in this rare interview on the Geodesic Life with Studs Terkel (recorded in 1965 and 1970). Animated by Jennifer Yoo and produced by Blank and Blank, this interview has been brought to life as the first of “The Experimenters” mini-series that features rare interviews with Bucky, Jane Goodall, and Richard Feynman focusing on science, technology and innovation. 

Archiculture Interviews: Ted Landsmark

"...In many of our architecture schools [...] we're finding that the students themselves are asking for a more socially-conscious and a more environmentally-conscious kind of architecture, a kind of architecture that really serves human needs." In the latest Arbuckle Industries' Archiculture interview, former Boston Architectural College President Ted Landsmark discusses his experience in the industry. He delves into the demographic trends that make up the field of architecture today, and the influence these have on the work that is being done. He also touches on the "privileged" ideology associated with architecture, and how the shifting global demands and client preferences are abandoning this mentality.

Team Of Interviewers Ask: 'What Is Architecture?'

What is Architecture? (WIA), a small collection of interviews with influential architects from around Europe, seeks to "provide clear and concise information about architecture", thereby "forming a panoramic view of today's architectural thinking." Set up by three students of architecture residing in Innsbruck, the WIA team have interviewed the likes of Patrik Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects), Sir Peter Cook (CRAB Studio), Jacob and Nathalie van Rijs (MVRDV), and Ben van Berkel (UNStudio). Their collection, though small, is continually expanding.

See a selection of WIA's interviews after the break (or see the entire collection here).

AD Interviews: Will Bruder / Will Bruder Architects

A self-trained American architect residing in Phoenix’s urban desert, Will Bruder, FAIA, has built a reputation for being one of Arizona’s most prized place-makers. For more than 40 years, Bruder has refined his craft with the completion of over 500 commissions ranging from large-scale civic and cultural projects to private residences and multi-family housing. 

Rem Koolhaas Sheds Light on Lagos

In this interview conducted by the Brigtje van der Haak maker of the documentary Lagos Wide & Close, Rem Koolhaas discusses his research on the urbanization of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos. While this research is as yet unpublished, Koolhaas discusses external influences on the city’s architecture, how his visits have affected his view of the profession, and Lagos’ future potential. The documentary by van der Haak, released on DVD in 2004, is an interactive exploration of Lagos from a multitude of scales. Now, it has been adapted for the web, and can be viewed in its entirety here!

Yesterday's Future, Today: What's it Like to Work as an Architect in North Korea?

Originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "The Future of Architecture, According to a North Korean Architect," this interview with Nick Bonner, Curator of the North Korean Portion of the Venice Biennale's Korean Pavilion, delves into the realities of architectural work in one of the world's most secretive countries.

There's good chance you'll never step foot in North Korea, which isn't the same as saying you can't. Interest in the socialist state is increasingly high, a fact reflected by a rise in tourists eager to discover the sites and spectacles of Pyongyang. Nick Bonner, founder of Koryo Tours, has been bringing visitors to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for over two decades. He recently curated a small exhibition in the Korean Pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.

For “Utopian Tours” Bonner commissioned designs from an unidentified North Korean architect, asking him to envision a whole new infrastructure for accommodating larger and larger groups of tourists. The resulting handdrawn illustrations are fascinating: the future of architecture—at least in North Korea—looks a lot like yesterday's future, where tourists travel in hovercraft RVs, and workers live in ziggurat-shaped hotels inspired by mountains and trees.

Metropolis asked the trained landscape architect to give us a tour inside the present architecture scene of one of the world’s most isolated countries today.

A resort hotel at Mount Kumgang. Image Courtesy of Koryo Tours Mountain Conical Hotels, connected at various points by ski runs. Image Courtesy of Koryo Tours A riverside development at the foot of Mount Kumgang. Image Courtesy of Koryo Tours The Bird's Nest Villa. Image Courtesy of Koryo Tours

AD Interviews: Leong Leong, designers of US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

We sat down with Leong Leong Architecture, designers of the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale to discuss their concept for OfficeUS. Commissioned by Storefront for Art and Architecture, Leong Leong was tasked with designing a temporary and multi-functional space for architectural practice and exhibition. The minimal, airy US Pavilion features over 1000 projects designed by American architects abroad, set amongst a functional office space.

Campos Leckie Studio: Adapting Materials Across Contexts

In the following interview, presented by ArchDaily Materials and originally published by Sixty7 Architecture Road, Canadian firm Campos Leckie Studio defines their process for designing site-specific, beautiful architecture that speaks for itself. Enjoy the firm's stunning projects and read the full interview after the break. 

We asked Michael Leckie, one of the principals of Vancouver-based Campos Leckie Studio, about the importance of discovery in design and the textural differences between projects. Your website states that your firm is committed to a rigorous process of discovery. How do you explain that to clients?

Process is extremely important in our work. When we meet with clients we do not immediately provide napkin sketches or an indication of what form the work will ultimately take on. Rather, we focus on the formulation of the ‘design problem’ and the conditions that establish the basis for exploration and discovery. These contextual starting points include the site, program, materiality, budget, as well as cultural reference points. This is challenging for some clients, as our culture generally conditions people to expect to see the final product before they commit to something. 

Zacatitos 02. Image © John Sinal Zacatitos 03. Image © John Sinal Zacatitos 04. Image © John Sinal © John Sinal

Strelka Institute Compiles 41 Interviews on the Future of Urbanism

A collection of 41 interviews conducted by students at the Strelka Institute, entitled Future Urbanism, is now available online. The interviews feature architects, urban planners, sociologists, researchers, and other professionals from fields related to urban studies, emphasizing the Strelka Institute's mandate for interdisciplinary thinking. To take a look at the interviews, see here.

"Architects I Met": Interviewing Architects Around the Globe

We're architects. We travel the world to meet the women and men who build our world.

Behind the Magic of Media Installations

In this interview, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Melissa Weigel of Moment Factory", Leslie Gallery-Dilworth talks with Weigel about the challenges of devising multimedia installations for public spaces, as in their recent installation for the Bradley International Terminal at LAX.

Montreal’s Moment Factory, a new media and entertainment studio, is best known for creating and producing multimedia environments that combine video, lighting, architecture, sound, and special effects. You may have seen their work at Cirque du Soleil, Madonna’s 2012 Superbowl Half Time Show, Disney's E3 booth, or Jay Z's Carnegie Hall debut. Perhaps you were there when they lit up the facade of the Sagrada Familia or Montreal's Quartier des Spectacles district. Or maybe you saw that they were included in Apple's recently launched 30th anniversary timeline.

Moment Factory was the main content provider for the interior concept and media features in the newly opened Bradley International Terminal at LAX, designed by Fentress Architects. It was a large collaboration consisting of several partners, including Mike Rubin with MRA International, Marcela Sardi of Sardi Design, Smart Monkey, Digital Kitchen, and Electrosonic with installation by Daktronics and Planar.

THIS WAS OUR UTOPIANISM! : An Interview with Peter Cook

In the following interview, which originally appeared in Zawia#01:Utopia (published December 2013), Sir Peter Cook, one of the brilliant minds behind Archigram, sits down with the editors of Zawia to discuss his thoughts on utopia - including why he felt the work of Archigram wasn’t particularly utopian (or even revolutionary) at all. 

ZAWIA: It is perhaps difficult to discuss our next volume's theme - “utopia" - without first starting with archigram and the visions that came out of that period. How do you view the utopian visions of archigram during that specific moment of history in relation to the current realities of our cities and the recent political and social waves of change ?

PETER COOK: Actually... at the time I was probably naive enough to not regard it as Utopian.