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Interview: The Latest Architecture and News

"I Would Rather Be Known as an Architect of Elegant Restraint": Interview with Belmont (Monty) Freeman

Belmont (Monty) Freeman (b. 1951) founded his New York-based, currently eight-person practice, Belmont Freeman Architects in 1986. Its active projects are half institutional and half residential, with a special focus on adaptive reuse, predominantly in New York and nearby states. Among the firm’s most exemplary projects are the LGBT Carriage House on the University of Pennsylvania campus, a series of restorations at the Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building, renovations at the Yale Club in Manhattan, and the renovation of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, designed by Kevin Roche. Current projects include an expansive but minimalist residential compound on Martha’s Vineyard, branch library renovations in New York City, and redevelopment of a former meatpacking building into a new Innovation Hub for Columbia University’s Business School.

KOWALEWSKI RESIDENCE. Image © Christopher WesnofskeTHE FOUR SEASONS. Image © Jennifer Calais SmithKOWALEWSKI RESIDENCE. Image © Christopher WesnofskeEZRA AND CECILE ZILKHA GALLERY. Wesleyan University . Image © Christopher Wesnofske+ 20

The Second Studio Podcast: Interview with Jacob van Rijs, Founding Partner of MVRDV

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 Jacob van Rijs, Founding Partner of MVRDV, Architect and Urban Planner to discuss the beginnings of MVRDV, working internationally, the office's structure and growing from 3 people to 300, creating a positive office environment (the MVRDV house), design process, having fun in design, MVRDV's diagrams, why clients hire MVRDV.

Bulgari Kuala Lumpur / MVRDV. Image Courtesy of MVRDVMission Rock. Image Courtesy of MVRDVMirador. Image Courtesy of MVRDVDepot Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum / MVRDV. Image Courtesy of MVRDV+ 6

"It’s Not Because You Are Limited in Resources That You Should Accept Mediocrity": Interview with Francis Kéré

African architecture has received deserved international attention in the last decade and one of the main responsible for this is, undoubtedly, Diébédo Francis Kéré. Born in Gando, Burkina Faso, Kéré graduated in architecture at the Technische Universität Berlin, in Germany. Today, he maintains branches of his firm, Kéré Architecture, in both countries, through which he seeks to develop works in the "intersection of utopia and pragmatism", exploring the border between Western architecture and local practice.

Known for involving community in the construction process of its buildings, Kéré and his office have developed works that go beyond the conventional limits of architecture and touch on themes such as local economy, migration, culture and equity. We had the pleasure and privilege of talking with the architect about some of his projects and his broader vision on architecture. Read the full interview below.

"I Want My Places to Come Alive": In conversation with Brian Mac

American architect Brian Mac grew up near Detroit. He graduated from the Architecture School at the University of Detroit in 1988 and for the next five years worked for a preservationist firm, Quinn Evans Architects in Ann Arbor. There he learned to love historic architectural detailing, and, while working at the firm, in 1992, became a licensed architect. Then followed a short period of disillusion with the profession and moving to Ohio to work in a residential treatment center for adolescent felony offenders.

Lathhouse, Sagaponack, New York, 2020. Image © Michael MoranLathhouse, Sagaponack, New York, 2020. Image © Michael MoranLathhouse, Sagaponack, New York, 2020. Image © Michael MoranLathhouse, Sagaponack, New York, 2020. Image © Michael Moran+ 24

Architect Kim Holden on why Birth is a Design Problem in Design and the City Podcast

In a Design and the City episode - a podcast by reSITE on how to make cities more livable – architect and founder of Doula x Design and co-founder of SHoP Architects Kim Holden discusses how rethinking and redesigning the ways birth is approached can change the outcomes of labor and birth experiences, and improve the qualities of life for both the babies and women giving birth to them. The interview explores how it is crucial to investigate the spaces where generations come into this world, just as we have been planning and building better cities for them to work and live in.

Courtesy of Kim Holden - Doula x DesignCourtesy of Kim Holden - Doula x DesignCourtesy of Kim Holden - Doula x DesignCourtesy of Kim Holden - Doula x Design+ 24

"I Am Always Inside the Architecture that I Design": In Conversation with Toyo Ito

Examining the work of Tokyo architect Toyo Ito (b. 1941) – particularly his now seminal Sendai Mediatheque (1995-2001), Serpentine Gallery (London, 2002, with Cecil Balmond), TOD's Omotesando Building (Tokyo, 2004), Tama Art University Library (Tokyo, 2007), and National Taichung Theater (2009-16) – will immediately become apparent these buildings’ structural innovations and spatial, non-hierarchical organizations. Although these structures all seem to be quite diverse, there is one unifying theme – the architect’s consistent commitment to erasing fixed boundaries between inside and outside and relaxing spatial divisions between various programs within. There is continuity in how these buildings are explored. They are conceived as systems rather than objects and they never really end; one could imagine their formations and patterns to continue to evolve and expand pretty much endlessly.

Tod's Omotesando Building_interior. Image © Nacasa & PartnersSilver Hut. Image Courtesy of Toyo Ito & Associates, ArchitectsSendai Mediatheque. Image Courtesy of Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects'Minna no Mori' Gifu Media Cosmos. Image © Kai Nakamura+ 13

"Architecture is Vital to Native Culture": Sam Olbekson on Indigenous Design and Social Justice

Social justice begins with building understanding and community. For Sam Olbekson, Principal of Native American Design at Cuningham Group and Founder of Full Circle Indigenous Planning, community holds a deep relationship to local cultures and traditions. As a member of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, Sam brings the perspective of a tribal member who grew up in Native communities, both on and off the reservation. Today, he's using design to reflect contemporary social values and build for future generations.

Courtesy of Cuningham GroupCourtesy of Full Circle Indigenous PlanningCourtesy of Full Circle Indigenous PlanningCourtesy of Cuningham Group+ 16

Let's Design How we Behave: In Conversation with Bruce Mau

In a recent interview with Louisiana Channel, graphic designer-turned-architect Bruce Mau explains how design is a mindset "of optimism and action". The designer talks about how architecture and design can influence and give form to the world we are sharing, and explains how we are the ones who design the outcomes of life, leaving no room for cynicism.

New Chouteau Greenway Plan for St. Louis. Image © Stoss Landscape UrbanismBig Blue Bus Redevelopment / LOHA + BMD. Image Courtesy of BMDNew Chouteau Greenway Plan for St. Louis. Image © Stoss Landscape UrbanismUCCA: Rebranding the leading center for contemporary art in China. Image © OMA, photography by Bian Jie+ 5

"Beirut, after the Dust Settles" in Design and the City Podcast

For Design and the City's sixth episode - a podcast by reSITE on how to make cities more liveable, the team interviewed Christele Harrouk, Archdaily's Managing Editor and Salim Rouhana, Senior Urban Governance and Resilience Task Team Leader at the World Bank Group. The two Beirut natives talk about the devastating explosion in August last year and share their perspectives on what rebuilding the city could look like.

© Rami Rizk© Rami Rizk© Rami Rizk© Rami Rizk+ 23

This Pandemic Could Be Our Chance to Change Our Way of Thinking: In Conversation with Kengo Kuma

"We all have to change our way of thinking now. I want to change my architecture to be even more kind to nature," says Kengo Kuma in this Louisiana Channel interview, where he shares his thoughts on the pandemic's impact on architecture and the environment. The architect discusses the collective responsibility towards nature and the importance of designing buildings and cities that allow for and encourage outdoor activities.

Hans Christian Andersen Museum . Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and AssociatesMeditation House in The Forest. Image © Erieta AttaliMeditation House in The Forest. Image © Erieta AttaliPortland Japanese Garden Cultural Village. Image © Jeremy Bittermann+ 5

"There is a Relationship Between Narrative and Architecture": In Conversation with Emilio Marín and Rodrigo Sepúlveda, Cuartors of the Chilean Pavilion

Among the many topics explored at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, the idea of community has been at the forefront, with several national pavilions exploring its many manifestations, evolution, and its relationship with the future of built environments. ArchDaily met with the curators of the Chilean Pavilion Emilio Marín and Rodrigo Sepúlveda at the Biennale and discussed how the project tackled the question of the future of living together and how they bridged the stories from Santiago to Venice. The interview was conducted in Spanish but is provided with English subtitles.

© gerdastudio© gerdastudio© gerdastudio© gerdastudio+ 16

“Architecture Stands Out Because It Has Something to Say to its Context”: In conversation with Mario Botta

Swiss architect Mario Botta is known for his geometrically imposing, spatially captivating structures that are invariably dressed in zebra-like horizontal stripes in either black and white or red and white combinations. These both traditional and strikingly modern villas, chapels, wineries, schools, libraries, museums, company headquarters, banks, and residential blocks are scattered throughout towns and mountainous villages in the architect’s native Ticino region in southern Switzerland, extend all over Europe and can be encountered in places as far away as China, India, South Korea, Japan, and the USA.

Riva San Vitale. Image © Marco D'AnnaCasa Rotonda. Image Courtesy of Vladimir BelogolovskyChurch San Giovanni Battista. Image Courtesy of Vladimir BelogolovskySecurity Forces Centre. Image © Marco D'Anna+ 20

The Second Studio Podcast: Interview with Archie Lee Coates IV, Co-Founder of PLAYLAB

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 Archie Lee Coates IV, a Co-Founder of the extremely multi-disciplinary design studio PLAYLAB. Archie discusses the evolution and future of PLAYLAB, naïveté in design and art, social equity in design practices and design, believing in humanity, design office as permeable amoeba, working with Virgil Abloh for the Louis Vuitton Show, and more.

Courtesy of PLAYLABCourtesy of PLAYLABCourtesy of PLAYLABCourtesy of PLAYLAB+ 19

Adam Nathaniel Furman: “Buildings Always Embody the Values of Their Creators”

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Stefan Fuchs & Raphael Dillhof interview Adam Nathaniel Furman and discuss the role and importance of facades in today's urban fabric, "in the context of a broader range of social, economic, and political issues". Part of a more in-depth study examining the role of facades in the 21st century, this discussion also raises the question of why buildings always embody the values of their creators.