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Interviews: The Latest Architecture and News

The challenges of architectural education

Our profession is very particular. We react very fast to current issues with our ideas, yet our buildings can take quite some time to be erected. For example, the project of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange building by OMA in China was the physical image of the new Chinese economy back in 2006. Five years later this new economy has taken the world by storm yet the building is still under construction.

AD Interviews: Steve McDowell / BNIM

During the 2011 AIA Convention in New Orleans we had the chance to sit down and talk with Steve McDowell, Principal and Director of Design of BNIM, the 2011 Architecture Firm of the Year. BNIM was founded over 40 years ago with a commitment to design excellence. Currently at the top of their game the Kansas City, Missouri headquartered firm has worked with high profile architects such as Steven Holl to produce the multi-award winning Block Building expansion for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, they have contributed to advancing education of building sustainability with their innovative design of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, which is the first project in the world to achieve both ‘Living’ Status and LEED Platinum, and BNIM’s scope of work also includes more rural projects such as the Midwest Retreat.

5 Projects: Interview 5 / Alexander Maymind

X-ray view through front elevation, above and below ground
X-ray view through front elevation, above and below ground

5 (student) Projects: is a group of projects completed at Yale University’s School of Architecture by 5 young architects during their graduate education. Each of the 5 projects are sited in New Haven on or adjacent to Yale’s campus. Each project focused on an institutional building, loosely defined by program, type and context. These commonalities became a framework for discussion that illuminated individual polemics and debate about experimentation in today’s architectural landscape. Despite the initial appearance of diversity within the set, each architect sought to address a common set of ideas emerging at Yale and perhaps within the discourse of architecture at large.

Primarily addressing the legacy of Postmodernism (in its various guises and forms), each sought an architecture that engaged historical memory, local context and an renewed concern for communication and legibility. Each was interested in an operable or speculative way to use history and its associated culturally established values, meanings and forms to produce new bodies of work. In that sense, each sought a contemporary way to learn from the past that would have particular resonance in today’s social, political, and cultural milieu.

The identity of the group of 5 is meant as a provocation towards two related issues: the desire for individuality and expression by today’s younger generation of architects inculcated by media and secondly, the desire for consensus within discourse on what counts today as critical & theoretical concerns for architecture. The aspiration behind the interviews and feature is to reveal an internal discussion which demonstrates an effort to clarify and identify a set of ideas that underpin contemporary architectural production. The feature and interviews were organized and conducted by Alexander Maymind.

You can check the first interview, second interview, third interview and fourth interview in case you missed them. Read the fourth one after the break.

AD Interviews: Eugene Kohn & William Pedersen / KPF

Founded by Eugene Kohn, William Pedersen, and Sheldon Fox, on July 4th 1976, Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) has a reputation as one of the world’s preeminent architecture practices. Focusing on design excellence coupled with collaboration and dialogue, KPF encourages an open exchange of ideas throughout the creative process both within the firm and between clients.

AD Interviews: Stephan Jaklitsch & Mark Gardner

A while ago we visited Stephan Jaklitsch and Mark Gardner in New York. Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, formerly Stephan Jaklitsch Architects, have made a name for themselves by designing buildings that engage their users and respond to their cultures. The conceptual framework of each project derives from the context, time and place of each project.

AD Interviews: Richard Meier

Richard Meier, the architect who landed ‘the commission of the century’ and one of the New York Five, has a portfolio of pristine structures that range in scale from the Douglas House on Lake Michigan to the sprawling Getty Center in Los Angeles.

AD Interviews: Thomas Phifer

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.

AD Interviews: Weiss Manfredi

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.

AD Interviews: Peter Bohlin / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

During the AIA Convention we had the opportunity to talk with Peter Bohlin (FAIA), founding principal of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and one of the most renowned architects in the US.

AD Interviews: Archimania

During the 2010 AIA Convention in Miami we had the opportunity to interview Todd Walker (FAIA) and Barry Alan Yoakum (FAIA), founders of the architecture/design collective Archimania.

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:

AD Interviews: Craig Konyk, kOnyk Architecture

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.

AD Interviews: Lawrence Scarpa

Back in June we had the chance to interview Lawrence Scarpa in Miami, at the AIA Convention when Pugh + Scarpa Architects received the 2010 AIA Firm Award.

AD Interviews: Hani Rashid, Asymptote Architecture

We visited Asymptote’s new offices in Brooklyn to interview Hani Rashid.

AD Interviews: Michael Graves

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:

AD Interviews: SO-IL, Solid Objectives Idenburg Liu

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:

AD Interviews: Steve Dumez / Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

During the AIA convention in Miami we had the chance to interview Steve Dumez, Design Director at Nola-based firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, who received his FAIA during the event.

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:

… and more coming soon!

Enjoy the rest of the interview:

Multiplicity and Memory: Talking About Architecture with Peter Zumthor

Peter Zumthor - Courtesy of Marco Masetti
Peter Zumthor - Courtesy of Marco Masetti

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.

Interview with Shigeru Ban by Martha Thorne

IE School of Architecture shared with us the interview that Associate Dean of External Relations, Martha Thorne conducted with innovative Japanese architect Shigeru Ban at Hay Festival Segovia, Spain.