The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by Architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features different creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions.
A variety of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes are interviews, while others are tips for fellow designers, reviews of buildings and other projects, or casual explorations of everyday life and design. The Second Studio is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.
This week David and Marina are joined by Architect Greg Faulkner, founder & director of Faulkner Architects to discuss his background as a design engineer in the aircraft industry; his tools and process; working with the site; his design philosophies and architectural truths; running and maintaining a small-sized practice; collaborating with Tom Kundig to design his house; and more.
Highlights & Timestamps
Greg’s early life before architecture (00:00)
Thoughts on architectural education (06:30)
I wanted to know more. When you're young, there are so many voices and you have to filter and understand what’s right and wrong, and how when you look at an architect's work, you have to look at how the buildings are built and what that means. Then you start to look for alignments with yourself. You really start to realize there's just so much to know and so much time is spent on the production of buildings, the drawings, and the construction period that the concept phase is sometimes leapfrogged or gone over too quickly to get on with the business of building the building. I found that concept design the supercritical time and that's the time that's the most important for the rest of the project. (12:13)
Transitioning from school to the founding Faulkner Architects (17:24)
About Faulkner Architects (21:46)
The importance of concept design (27:03)
When you’re designing, you have to have confidence. Making a good drawing builds confidence. If you can make the drawing start to feel good, then it works. Then it gives you confidence the building might work. (35:25)
Greg’s process for working with site (39:00)
Designing Analog House with Tom Kundig (50:42)
Our firm is very busy and throwing in my personal house into the mix with the lowest priority in the office—because the client's houses are going to come first—is not a great way to do a good house. I heard Tom speak at a lecture in Reno, and we hung out after the talk. The more I read about his work and watched some lectures, I saw that he knew the same things that I did and knew a lot of these eternal truths that are ignored by a lot. (52:24)
Greg’s architectural truths (01:03:19)
If you're designing the space first, then you're not designing an object to be looked at. it's an experiential decision-making process… And if you make reasonable decisions along the way, it'll be good aesthetically in the way it feels. If you have a narrative for how you're making those decisions, for the form and the materials, you don't have to worry so much about what it looks like. (01:11:02)
Working with clients (01:16:35)
The most challenging house (01:21:49)
The most challenging part of Greg's job (01:29:12)