Archive for 'Interviews'
“Art has conventionally been distinguished from architecture based on utility – architecture must do something, while art is free from functional requirements. However, art can lead us to approach architecture as something more than just rote problem-solving. Injecting an element of “uselessness” into a building allows the artistic elements to form an intellectual background against which the building’s functional aspects can be fulfilled in innovative ways.
Ironically, contemporary artists are much more engaged with the actual world through activist agendas that directly address social and environmental problems. Art helps us innovate how we deal with the world, beyond purely normative solutions.”
Jeffrey L. Day
Fashions come and go, but then they come back around again. Wayne Thiebaud once said, “There’s nothing uglier than a 20-year-old car, but there’s nothing groovier than a 50-year-old car.” It’s our own thought process that has changed, not the object itself…
When something is completely made by hand, like a custom home, there’s a Zen to that. Your body recognizes it almost on a cellular level. It’s really about knowing how to make things. That’s what you learn at a good art school. My furniture is made by people who do the finest work in this country. People in the know, people who work with metal, they see my tables and they say, “Oh… my… God…”
- Gary Hutton
(Photo: Steve Hodge)
“The idea of simplicity for the sake of mental clarity can actually be created even within a complex space by having an orthogonal way of moving through that space. Even a Frank Gehry design can have an orthogonal footprint within it. I’d love to visit his museum in Bilbao. It could be a fascinating building to hear or to sense… virtual reality is all about being “somewhere else,” but architecture is about being where you are – that’s what I’m really interested in doing.”
– Chris Downey, Architect
“When I lost my vision, the first thing I had to learn was non-visual coping skills. Rehabilitation teaches you about things like how to travel on mass transit, but there was no training on how to be a blind architect. But why not? After all, Beethoven wrote some of his best music after going deaf. We’re not shut out of architecture.”
- Chris Downey, Architect
With 80% of the world’s arable land already in use, we are running out of land to feed ourselves. Land and water are fixed, finite resources; their scarcity could become a greater crisis than global warming, terrorism, or species extinction. One way to address that is by expanding the notion of what “land” is to include urban settings, to make regions like the Bay Area self-sustaining. Architect Anne Fougeron answers a few questions about her vision for a San Francisco 100 years in the future by saying, “People shouldn’t be allowed to come into this world only to starve.”
“Color isn’t just about surface decoration. There’s a cellular response to color that we have as human beings, and it’s that response which we are addressing when we work with color. Sometimes colorizing a space costs more to do and to maintain. But our environment shapes behavior. It’s WORTH spending time on.
Few architectural institutions offer a formal program addressing color in the built environment. Any exposure they have to color theory is frequently through studio courses that focus solely on two-dimensional color applications. Architects aren’t taught about bio-responses to color. They’re not taught how they can move volumes around in space through the application of color, or how they can use color to shape experience and behavior. I’d like to tell them not to be afraid of color. Give color a chance!”
– Jill Pilaroscia
“Architecture is a tough profession, and it’s not kind to women. It’s not kind to anyone, really. But you’ve got to claw yourself out of that hole. You have to fight the fight. You can’t stay in the back, because nobody’s going to fight that fight for you. NUMBERS MATTER.
With the Planned Parenthood clinics, I didn’t want clinics that look like a prison. There’s already so much victimization of women… why punish them further by making them come to a jail for basic care? Ninety percent of Planned Parenthood’s business is providing basic gyn care – exams, pap smears – for women who can’t afford it any other way. These women already going through enough in their lives. Some of them already have other traumas to work through. The clinics should make them feel wanted and safe.”
“The importance of place means respect for what is actually there – including its history. If clients come to us requesting a specific regional or historical style, we respond by asking them what they like about the style they have selected and try to elicit the underlying qualities that attracted them to it in the first place. Then, ideally, we can embody those qualities in a design that’s actually the best fit for the project and its context.
The early design stages are a sort of courtship between architect and client. We’re really interviewing each other to see if there’s a mutual alignment. Just as we listen to their desires, we also educate them on what our values are, and they ideally buy into that early on in order for the project to be mutually successful.
We design homes with the client’s full life cycle in mind, and beyond. The home has to be versatile enough to accommodate generational life changes without requiring a renovation every 10 years. Sometimes this freaks out the clients a little bit! They’re not used to thinking this far ahead. We’re creating their home as an heirloom and a legacy to future generations.”
[Cover photo by Cesar Rubio]