“I Want to Get Down to the Roots of Things”: Interview with Kim Utzon

Kim Utzon started his small architectural practice, Kim Utzon Arkitekter, in Copenhagen in 1987, choosing to work primarily in Denmark and neighboring Sweden, to keep close ties with family and be able to reflect effectively on regional building traditions. Kim is the youngest son of Jørn Utzon (1918-2008), the Pritzker Prize-winning architect whose most celebrated buildings include the Sydney Opera House (1973), Bagsværd Church near Copenhagen (1976), and the Kuwait National Assembly Building (1982). Kim’s brother Jan Utzon is a practicing architect and his sister Lin Utzon is a ceramic artist.

“Each Project Is Like a Small City to Me” in Conversation With Glenn Sestig

Whether an apartment building, house, storefront, office interior, or restaurant, Glenn Sestig’s architecture consistently reveals itself in tidy fragments of robust and determinately monumental geometry that tends to evoke urban qualities. His austere facades, colonnades, stair landings, and even reception desks and shelf displays appear to be quite hefty and substantial. And, in fact, every project, be it a small boutique or gallery, starts with rigorous planning – visual primary and secondary axes get established, circulation flow is laid out, and major anchors are identified before the architect moves on to addressing the appropriate materials, surfaces, and details. Every space is architecture first; its program and appearance will fit into it.

“I Followed My Father’s Advice and Did Not Design a House for My Family” in Conversation With Paul Tange

In the following interview with Paul Tange, the chairman and senior principal architect at Tange Associates in Tokyo, we discussed the relationship with his famous architect-father Kenzo Tange (1913-2005; the most influential architect in postwar Japan and the winner of the 1987 Pritzker Prize), the fate of the house Tange senior built for his first family, the decision of joining his father’s practice right after graduation from Harvard, sharing his father’s design principles, and the vision behind his first independent built work – a 50-story Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Tokyo, a vertical campus that can accommodate up to 10,000 students; the project won an international competition, in which 50 international architects participated.

“I Am Always Mindful That Construction is a Sin”: Interview with Vinu Daniel of Wallmakers

Most architects design projects in the comfort of their offices, sitting behind their desks, making decisions by looking at their flatscreens, never visiting a construction site, and managing everything remotely. This attitude may lead to a design of a sleek and even objectively beautiful building. But such a solution can’t be anywhere near a genuine response to what any given site may require. How do you even find out? Is it possible to build something new as if it were an extension of what is already there in the most innate, consequential, yet original form? The only way to find out is to start from the site itself, says Vinu Daniel, the founder of Wallmakers, an award-winning architectural practice in Trivandrum, the capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala.

“Interesting Things Happen in the Shadows”: In Conversation with Brian Healy

Boston architect Brian Healy moved around for his early career, before settling and building in New England. He had studios in Florida, California, and New York, eventually opening his office in Boston. Healy acquired his bachelor’s degree in architecture at the Pennsylvania State University in 1978 and continued his studies at Yale where he encountered such influential professors as James Stirling, Vincent Scully, John Hejduk, Aldo Rossi, and Cesar Pelli, among others.

Healy graduated with a Master of Architecture in 1981 and then used traveling scholarship money from Yale, the Van Allen Institute, and the American Academy in Rome to travel around the world for a year, exploring ancient ruins in Ireland, Italy, Greece, Sudan, Egypt, India, Nepal, and Thailand. Prior to the trip, he had worked at the offices of Charles Moore and Cesar Pelli. Upon his return, he designed and built homes in Florida before working for Richard Meier in New York. In 1985, he started Brian Healy Architects. Parallel to that he taught at over twenty universities across North America, including Yale, Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania. Healy was the 2004 president of the Boston Society of Architects and, from 2011-2014 he served as Design Director at Perkins + Will.

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“Our Projects Lead to Discoveries”: In Conversation with Oleg Drozdov

Earlier this year the unprovoked barbaric Russian invasion of neighboring independent Ukraine forced millions of people to flee their cities and the country in search of safety. I talked to one of Ukraine’s top architects, Oleg Drozdov, who was forced to relocate his practice and architecture school he co-founded in Kharkiv, to Lviv, 1,000 kilometers to the west, next to the Polish border. His staff and professors — many of them assume both roles — resumed their work just weeks after the war broke out.

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“Functionalism, Rationalism, and Conceptualism Are Not Enough”: In Conversation with Alison Brooks

London-based architect Alison Brooks was born and grew up in Canada and studied architecture at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. Upon graduation in 1988, she left for London where after working with designer Ron Arad for seven years she started Alison Brooks Architects in 1996. Her most representative works include the Stirling Prize-winning Accordia Brass Building in Cambridge, Exeter College Cohen Quad in Oxford, the Smile Pavilion for the 2016 London Design Festival, and several expressive single-family residences in London: VXO House, Fold House, Lens House, Mesh House, and Windward House.

EDGE Suedkreuz Berlin Brings Hybrid-Timber Construction to a New Scale and Vision

Located in the area between Sachsendamm and Berlin Südkreuz S-Bahn train station in Schöneberg, a new mixed-use complex, EDGE Suedkreuz Berlin, was completed last month by Berlin-based architect Sergei Tchoban and his firm Tchoban Voss Architekten with additional offices in Hamburg and Dresden. The complex comprises two freestanding structures—a larger Carré Building and a smaller Solitaire Building. Together they occupy their own block. The pair is now the largest hybrid-timber complex of buildings in Germany and one of the largest in Europe.

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"I Wanted to Look at Places in a New Three-Dimensional Way": In Conversation with Daniel Libeskind

Daniel Libeskind (b. 1946, Lodz, Poland) studied architecture at Cooper Union in New York, graduating in 1970, and received his post-graduate degree from Essex University in England in 1972. While pursuing a teaching career he won the 1989 international competition to design the Jewish Museum in Berlin before ever realizing a single building. He then moved his family there to establish a practice with his wife Nina and devoted the next decade to the completion of the museum that opened in 2001. The project led to a series of other museum commissions that explored such notions as memory and history in architecture.

Architects Can Act More Like DJs: In conversation with Cino Zucchi

Architect Cino Zucchi (b. 1955) grew up and practices in Milan, Italy. He was trained at MIT in Cambridge and the Politecnico di Milano, but claims to be largely self-taught, although influenced by such of his countrymen as Aldo Rossi and Manfredo Tafuri. He is internationally known for diverse projects across Europe. Many are both abstracted and contextual residential complexes in Italy, particularly in Milan, Bologna, Parma, Ravenna, and, most notably, in Venice. Zucchi’s D residential building in Giudecca, attracted international attention and praise when it was completed in 2003. I met Cino Zucchi last year during the Venice Architecture Biennale; that meeting led to an extensive interview that we recently engaged in over Zoom between New York and the architect’s sunlight and books-filled Milan studio.

“Architecture is a Captivating Journey Through the Revived World of Drawing” In Conversation with Sergei Tchoban

Sergei Tchoban (b. 1962, Saint Petersburg, Russia) graduated from the Repin Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture at the Russian Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg in 1986. He started his practicing career in Russia but left for Germany in 1991, becoming a managing partner of nps tchoban voss in Berlin in 1995. Since 2006, he also heads SPEECH, one of the leading architectural offices in Moscow. Apart from building his successful career of a practicing architect, he is a collector of architectural drawings, publisher, and museum owner.

"We Still Have Not Built that City of the Future Where I Once Lived": In Conversation with Nishan Kazazian

What follows this short introduction is my unusually personal interview with a Lebanese-American architect and artist Nishan Kazazian. His work is inspired by numerous sources that come from many directions such as Kintsugi, the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together, primary color geometric abstractions evocative of Russian Constructivism, as well as paintings by Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee. Yet, a stronger inspiration comes from his memories of home and family history. Layering and superimposition of cultures and languages were constantly present in his life since childhood and remain guiding forces to Kazazian, who is both a licensed architect and a professional artist.

"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.

"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.

"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.

30 Technology-Driven Projects Point to Our Future: In Conversation with Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido

Vladimir Belogolovsky talks with Mexican-American architect Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido on his exhibition 30 Projects/30 Years/30 Stories now on view at the Museo Metropolitano in Monterrey, Mexico.30 Projects/30 Years/30 Stories, a large retrospective on the work of Mexican-American architect Francisco Gonzalez Pulido, was opened on June 18 at the Museo Metropolitano in Monterrey, Mexico. The exhibition will remain on view until September 21.

“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.