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From Dubai to Haiti: Richard Best, Sustainable Architect

From Dubai to Haiti: Richard Best, Sustainable Architect

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“A master plan has to take into account the natural and economic resources available in the region.…You have to think about commerce. In order for such a plan to be effective, it has to include more than pretty buildings. It has to be realistic. You can’t plan on exporting pineapples from Haiti for example – not enough arable land for it.

For sustainable development, unfortunately the best opportunities often present themselves in the form of natural disasters, such as Haiti’s recent earthquake. This is an opportunity to turn human tragedy into a triumph by creating better, more livable cities.”

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Olle Lundberg: Hand of a Craftsman, Part 1

Olle Lundberg: Hand of a Craftsman, Part 1

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“Our firm’s work is really about small projects, carefully crafted. It expresses the hand of the builder. The role of the craftsman is so rare today. You can take something hand-crafted and replicate it by machine, but then it’s no longer craft.

I prefer materials with depth and heft, with an elemental power about them. The power comes from the natural piece that they came from, or from the way the material was created. Our palette is nature-oriented. Even steel, I consider a natural material, because it comes out of the earth.

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Olle Lundberg: Hand of a Craftsman, Part 2

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“[With star clients] you have to be really “on”. There’s not much time to impress them… it’s that initial gesture that counts. You have to gain credence quickly, and bring something to the table that they didn’t expect. [When I get a new idea] it’s dreamlike at first. The idea has to be vague enough to be flexible, but clear enough to be able to return to it. I have to be disciplined about working quickly; ideas can dissipate like fog.”

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Karin Payson on Architectural Practice – Part 1

Karin Payson on Architectural Practice – Part 1

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“Hugh Hardy once said to me that the problem with architects is a fear of drapery! Interior design is more tactile than architectural design… I think that many architects are afraid of this tactility. They’re afraid of color.

“Before I saw Aalto’s houses in their natural setting, I was married to the grid… [but] Aalto’s floor plans, while rigorous, did not use a grid. Instead, they focused on grabbing light, on nature, and on circulation.”

(Photo: Stephen Barker)

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Karin Payson on Architectural Practice – Part 2

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“40% of my graduate class were women, but only 9% of licensed architects are women. You know where I think they are? Buried! A few years ago, Robert Venturi got the Pritzker Prize. He had a practice with his wife for over 30 years, co-wrote his books with her, but she wasn’t originally listed. So now, when he got the Pritzker Prize, she was ignored! It was a huge scandal, in my opinion.

“I don’t play therapist with my clients. I play teacher. I educate my clients about the possibilities. Sometimes clients don’t get it until they actually see the walls come down.

“I’m not interested in floor plans that are full of dead ends and pointy angles. In museums, I like simple floor plans. It makes for a more peaceful experience. I always know where I am.”

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Architectural Photographer Claudio Santini: Images That Make You Dream

Architectural Photographer Claudio Santini: Images That Make You Dream

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“When I photograph a building, I am documenting the work of someone else. The photographer’s interpretation should amplify the designer’s intent. If the architecture is very strong like a master, then the photographs will show it.

“[My work is] atmospheric, a selective interpretation of feeling and light. It explains less but it makes you dream more.

“Technique and beauty must be formally balanced. The first thing to remember is that beauty is not luxury! A $10 million dollar home or a $500K home can both be equally beautiful. Simplicity is the ideal, and sometimes simple subjects are more photogenic.”

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Sand and Steel: Sand Studios’ Work Shows a Lightness of Hand

Sand and Steel: Sand Studios’ Work Shows a Lightness of Hand

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“Steel is feminine. Thin, strong, and lithe, it has a certain lightness. It’s the connective tissue for disparate elements; it can be used to integrate or mediate between heavier and thicker materials to make things float and stand off from one another. We fine-tune our designs using classical proportions, and le Corbusier’s Modulor system. In Miami, our style was so completely different from what was already there. Of course there was already a lot of contemporary design, but we were recognized as having a unique sensibility. My work was softer, more textured, more detailed. Unexpected materials, and a lighter hand.”

(Photos: Ken Hayden Photography)

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Zack/deVito Architecture: Designers and Master Builders, Part 2

Zack/deVito Architecture: Designers and Master Builders, Part 2

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“Even though a painting is ‘done’ it’s never really done. I’m always walking around my house and wanting to pull a painting off the wall and work on it some more. Or I look at something in the house and wonder, ‘Why did I do that? What have I learned from that?’ One needs to be continually asking that question.” – Lise de Vito

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Zack/deVito Architecture: Designers and Master Builders, Part 1

Zack/deVito Architecture: Designers and Master Builders, Part 1

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“I like to make things. You can do things structurally with metal that you can’t do with other building materials. Steel is strong, so you need less of it, less bulk, to create a structure. It’s about tinkering, and paring down… how slender can I make this piece of steel and still have it work? Working with stairs, the question is, can I make a particular structural element any smaller?” – Jim Zack

“When you become the client, you realize how hard it is to be a client. Working on our own homes has given me a lot more empathy for the role of the client. When you live in your own projects… you get a heightened understanding of where things should go, and how to accommodate the human body. In my own designs, I emphasize views and vistas, both of other parts of the house and of the outside. Each view is constantly referring to something else, but it’s also telling you where you are.” – Lise de Vito

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