Rank #1: 40 – Steven Holl
Steven Holl is globally renowned for monumental works that specifically invoke light, color and porosity in both programmatic and aesthetic ways. Holl can also be thought of as an artist’s architect—his firm has done work for many arts institutions, he methodically sketches his projects in watercolors, and his style is heavily influenced by art practice and theory. He’s also very interested in the phenomenology of architecture—how it’s sensed by humans, and its impact on our existence.
We spoke in a totally unremarkable conference room at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, the day before Holl was scheduled to give a keynote presentation for the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture’s conference.
Oct 03 2016
Rank #2: 45 – 'Never Built New York' authors Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell
Never Built New York, by curators and authors Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell, is an astounding collection of architectural projects that never made it into being. The book features projects from the last two centuries, sited all throughout the five boroughs, that range from the monumental to the mortifying. Alongside infamous projects like Buckminster Fuller’s dome over Manhattan and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Key Plan for Ellis Island, visions for an alternate New York-urbanism abound: aborted reflections of their time, place and politics.
The book continues in the tradition of Goldin and Lubell's 2013 exhibition, "Never Built Los Angeles", including focused research on each project alongside gorgeous drawings and visualizations. I spoke with the authors about their curatorial approach to the book, and the projects that they were most excited by.
Nov 07 2016
Rank #3: 43 – George Tsypin, stage designer behind the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark"
You probably don’t recognize George Tsypin’s name, but you’re almost certainly familiar with his projects. After training as an architect in Moscow, Tsypin moved to New York to study theater design, and it’s now safe to say millions upon millions of people have seen his work. He’s designed stage sets for the MTV VMA’s, operas, Broadway plays, and the 2014 Winter Olympics’ Opening Ceremony at Sochi, among many others.
Tsypin's work is now captured in GEORGE TSYPIN OPERA FACTORY: Invisible City, released on October 18 by Princeton Architectural Press. We spoke about designing for theatrical and mass media performances, and how his architectural training grounds his practice.
Our interview begins with Tsypin's account of working in 5Pointz, the infamous graffiti building in Long Island City. Special thanks to Princeton Architectural Press for helping coordinate the interview.
Oct 24 2016
Rank #4: 42 – Catie Newell and Wes McGee, ACADIA conference workshop co-chairs
Aside from their role as workshop co-chairs for the ACADIA conference, this week's One-to-One guests are both architects who work and teach at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Their focus on fabrication led them to their roles at ACADIA, with McGee directing Taubman's FABLab and Newell serving as Director of the Master of Science in Material Systems and Digital Technologies.
ACADIA stands for the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, and this year's conference, "Posthuman Frontiers: Data, Designers and Cognitive Machines" (October 27-29) attests to the extreme collaborative depths humans and machines have come to in architecture. I spoke with Catie and Wes about what they have planned for the conference workshops, taking place October 24-26, and just how close architects are to achieving the singularity.
Oct 17 2016
Rank #5: 41 – Deborah Berke
The small town of Columbus, Indiana is packed with the works of famous modernist architects, but unlike cities like New York or Chicago, Columbus’s pedigree isn’t so often brought into the national architectural discourse. Exhibit Columbus, a new symposium and exhibition happening annually in the city, is hoping to change that.
Deborah Berke, architect and dean at Yale, has worked extensively in Indiana and was a keynote speaker at this year's inaugural Exhibit Columbus symposium. She joined me on the podcast to reflect on the local and regional influences of Columbus IN, and the impact they've had on her career.
Oct 10 2016
Rank #6: 44 – RotoLab co-founders Michael Rotondi, M A Greenstein and Nels Long
Paul and Amelia are joined in-studio by the co-founders behind RotoLab, Michael Rotondi's new start-up. Along with Nels Long and M A Greenstein, Rotondi has ambitions to create uniquely VR-environments for architectural education and practice, and in the process, completely upend how we learn and work. Inspired by decades of experience in architecture and VR’s imminent future, Rotondi and his co-founders spoke about socializing in VR, gaming as education, and what this new frontier could mean for tomorrow’s architects.
Oct 31 2016
Rank #7: 39 – Tomas Koolhaas, filmmaker behind REM documentary
Tomas Koolhaas is a filmmaker in Los Angeles, whose most recent project, a documentary about his father Rem, recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival. REM follows its titular architect around the world, visiting his projects and investigating their human impact. Aware of his special perspective on the film's subject, Tomas didn't want REM to be a teary biopic or heady architectural salvo, but something more impressionistic and accessible, appealing to emotions over intellectualism. We speak about managing family relationships in creative work, his influences as a filmmaker, and film's role in architectural media at large.
Sep 26 2016
Rank #8: 38 – Martino Stierli, chief curator of architecture and design at MoMA
Martino Stierli took over as MoMA's chief curator of architecture and design in 2015, when the museum was already undergoing major changes. Diller Scofidio + Renfro's redesign was underway, and the architecture and design galleries faced something of an uncertain future in the expanded museum layout. On the podcast, Stierli dispels the rumors that the galleries would be closed permanently, and discusses MoMA's strategies for exhibiting architecture, as well as his plans to diversify the museum's collection.
Sep 19 2016
Rank #9: 37 – Michael Arbib of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture
For nearly 30 years, Michael Arbib taught computer science, neuroscience, engineering, psychology, and mathematics at the University of Southern California, and is known for his prolific work on brains and computers: essentially, what the mechanisms of one can teach us about how the other works. Gathering together all aspects of his work, he’s sharpened his focus on the connection between architecture and neuroscience, and developed the concept of neuromorphic architecture.
He is now associated with the NewSchool for Architecture and Design and UC San Diego, and has played a major role in the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, based in La Jolla, California. We spoke about the Academy’s upcoming conference, and what architecture practice can realistically take from neuroscientific research.
Sep 12 2016
Rank #10: 36 – Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ
Kunlé Adeyemi founded NLÉ in Amsterdam and Lagos in 2010, after over eight years at OMA. Raised in Kaduna, Nigeria, with an architect father who was constantly redesigning his childhood home, Adeyemi studied architecture in Lagos before getting an MArch II at Princeton, studying with Peter Eisenman. His work at OMA included pivotal roles in projects such as Lagos’ master plan and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Throughout his work, he focuses on issues of rapid urbanization and climate change in the Global South.
I spoke with Kunlé this past August, for his keynote presentation at the AIA Tennessee Convention in Chattanooga. We cover his work in wide breadth: how he focuses on cities’ relationships to water and infrastructure, quickly iterating projects like the Makoko Floating School prototypes in Lagos and at the Venice Biennale, and why he left OMA to start his own firm in the first place. Due to a technical glitch in the live recording, the episode starts about ten minutes into our conversation.
Sep 06 2016
Rank #11: 15 – Michael Maltzan (REBROADCAST)
Los-Angeles based architect Michael Maltzan may be best known for his multiple residential projects with the Skid Row Housing Trust, and the longer-than-the-Empire-State-Building-is-tall residential mixed user, One Santa Fe. But Maltzan’s office is also designing Los Angeles’ new Sixth Street Viaduct, a since-demolished infrastructural icon of the city that bridged the Los Angeles River between downtown and Boyle Heights.
Michael shares his relationship with the growing identity of downtown Los Angeles, and his perspective on the style of urbanism arising on LA’s westside in the “Silicon Beach” neighborhood of Playa Vista. We also discuss the effect of China’s ban on “weird” architecture for LA-architects practicing there.
This episode originally aired on March 14, 2016.
Aug 29 2016
Rank #12: 35 – Charlie Hailey, author of 'Design/Build with Jersey Devil'
Design/Build with Jersey Devil: A Handbook for Education and Practice is a wonderful mixture of history, interviews, experiments and how-to’s, all focused around the design/build pedagogy and practice of its 1970s pioneers, Jersey Devil. Author Charlie Hailey, who is also an architecture professor at the University of Florida, spoke with me about Jersey Devil's beginnings at Princeton University, and the implications of design/build pedagogy for today’s academic climate.
Special thanks to Princeton Architectural Press for helping coordinate this interview.
This episode's title is a reference to architect and writer Michael Sorkin's description of the firm: Jersey Devil “put the funk back in functionalism".
Aug 22 2016
Rank #13: 34 – architect and experimental theater founder Abraham Burickson
In the spring of 2015, we ran a Working Out of the Box feature with Abraham Burickson, the practicing architect who founded Odyssey Works—a theater company that produces performances for an audience of one, often lasting days. Participants are extensively researched and the performances are rigorously planned, so that the whole thing unfolds before them spontaneously, as they move about the world.
To Burickson, theater and architecture are one and the same—their objective is to immerse the audience, and make them feel something. And in preparation for this month’s theme of Games, it's impossible not to see Odyssey Works' performances in the same genre of experience: game-like interventions that change the way we experience the built environment.
The following interview is our conversation from February of 2015, edited for time and clarity.
Aug 15 2016
Rank #14: 33 – Dora Epstein Jones, executive director of Los Angeles' A+D Museum
Dora Epstein Jones is the newly minted executive director of the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles. With a doctorate in Architectural History, Theory and Criticism from UCLA, Epstein Jones came to A+D after nearly 15 years at SCI-Arc, where she led the coordination of humanities and theory courses, and served as the founding coordinator of the General Studies program.
Now situated in L.A.’s booming Arts District, A+D is neighbor to downtown’s own museum renaissance, not to mention the SCI-Arc campus. In our interview, Epstein Jones imagines how A+D could become the L.A version of Storefront, while working to keep it accessible to the local community.
Aug 08 2016
Rank #15: 32 – Jose Sanchez, co-creator of Block'hood computer game
Architect Jose Sanchez is the co-creator of Block'hood, a city-building computer game that runs on real city data. Under his practice, plethora-project (covering architecture and indie game development), he focuses on how play can initiate design practice.
In Block’hood, players build cities out of 80 preset block types, and are rewarded for thinking “ecologically” and creating diverse cities. Sanchez wanted the game to be accessible to everyone, not just urban planners or architects, and to ultimately be both a learning tool and fun in its own right. Sanchez's interview is part of our special August focus on Games.
Aug 01 2016
Rank #16: 31 – LeRoy Troyer of Troyer Group
The Genesis-sized replica of Noah's Ark is just the beginning of Ark Encounter, Kentucky's new biblical theme park managed by the Christian apologist ministry, Answers in Genesis. Troyer Group are the architects behind the ark, with president and chair LeRoy Troyer as the lead architect.
I spoke with LeRoy about the challenge of building a project with Biblical construction specs, as well as the inherent controversy of designing something that is meant as a kind of proof of concept for Answers in Genesis' ideology: that the Bible "is the true history book of the universe".
Jul 18 2016
Rank #17: 30 – Mark Middleton of Grimshaw
Mark Middleton, partner at Grimshaw in London, has been facing the Brexit decision's aftermath like many of his architecture-compatriots—with positive pragmatism. While many architects and design professionals strongly supported "Remain", they have little choice but to #keepcalmandcarryon, while carefully reevaluating how ties with the European Union could affect business, as well as London as a design capital.
Middleton joins Amelia Taylor-Hochberg on One-to-One to sort through the current mood for practitioners in the UK, and the effects Brexit could have on architecture projects and policy in the years to come.
Jul 11 2016
Rank #18: Happy 4th from One-to-One!
We're taking a break from One-to-One this week to set off fireworks and contemplate the potential future of a Trump Presidential Center. In the meantime, we present some of our favorite episodes related to this big ol' hot mess of a nation.
We've got it all:
- "Traditional" architecture, not necessarily just like Jefferson would have wanted: Building Our Best Nature: Archinect Sessions One-to-One #8 with Scott Merrill, winner of this year's Driehaus Prize
- The too-common tragedy of mass shootings: Queer Space, After Pulse: Archinect Sessions #69 ft. special guests James Rojas and S. Surface
- Seeing through anti-LGBTQ legislation: Due Protest: pushing back against HB-2 and fighting for interns on Archinect Sessions #64, ft. special guest Gregory Walker
- Gun-control in the classroom: Guns in the Studio: Texas' new campus carry law prompted Architecture Dean Fritz Steiner to resign. He joins us to discuss the law's effect on architecture education, on Archinect Sessions #55
- Public health crises from compromised infrastructure: Dispatch from Flint: How architects can help, on Archinect Sessions #54
- Good ol' American architecture institutions: Inside the Institute: Archinect Sessions goes to the AIA National Convention on Episode #30
- Interview with the architects who would become the designers for Obama's Presidential Center: "Starts with me, ends with us": A conversation with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien on Archinect Sessions Episode #22
- and, of course, hot dogs: Hot Dogs Around the World: James Biber, architect of US Pavilion "American Food 2.0" at EXPO Milan, joins us for Episode #31 of Archinect Sessions
I (Amelia) also personally recommend you check out these prior One-to-One's:
- The "Impossible" Car – Faraday Future's lead designer, Richard Kim, on One-to-One #17
- The Ascendancy of Theory: writer and theorist Sylvia Lavin on Archinect Sessions One-to-One #13
- The Art of Architecture Criticism: Archinect Sessions One-to-One #7 with Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for the New York Times
- Our brand new interview podcast "Archinect Sessions One-to-One" premieres today! Listen to episode #1 with Neil Denari
Jul 04 2016
Rank #19: 29 – Pierluigi Serraino
In the late 1950s, some of the world's most prominent architects gathered in Berkeley, California, to take part in a landmark psychological experiment on creativity and personality. Eero Saarinen, Philip Johnson, Richard Neutra, William Pereira and dozens of other architects were put through a barrage of tests and surveys, to gain a better understanding of what creativity is, and its place in architecture. They also rated one another, and in the process exposed not only exposed their egos honestly, but also their insecurities.
For the first time, the story behind the study (along with its data and results) have been made public, in The Creative Architect, by architect and author Pierluigi Serraino. I spoke with Serraino about the context of psychological research in the 1950s and the evolving personality behind being a “creative” architect.
Jun 27 2016
Rank #20: 28 – Hugh Howard, author of "Architecture's Odd Couple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson"
Architecture writer and historian Hugh Howard has written many books on American architecture, telling stories that meld design and cultural history together in highly accessible and humanistic ways.
His latest book, "Architecture's Odd Couple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson", tracks the fruitful and contentious relationship between the two architectural frenemies—beginning with Wright’s role in Johnson’s pivotal “Modern Architecture” exhibition at MoMA in 1932, up until Wright’s death in 1959. Through their relationship, Howard provides an excellent overview of midcentury architecture's context in the United States, and personalizes the architectural giants in the process.
Jun 20 2016