Architects design homes, schools, skyscrapers, entire cities. Who has given architects this role and influence in society, and what have we done with it? From the Pyramid at the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, from the Guggenheim to the Burg Khalifa in Dubai—architect’s egos are stamped all over cities, all over the world. Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels, even has drawings to literally redesign Earth.
JEFF HABER: Who’s out there that is inspiring you with what they’re doing? Is there anybody that catches your eye?
ANTHONY POON: There are a lot of influential people. I mean, Frank Gehry—I don’t know who doesn’t admire his work as an architect, artist, sculptor. Peter Zumthor, who is the architect of the new LACMA, the county museum under construction—he’s a Swiss architect, and everything he does is so poetic, so simple and elemental. One of my professors from Harvard is Rem Koolhaas, a Dutch architect who does amazing things.
I have heard clients tell each other, “After you have your project budget, plan to spend double!”
Architecture and construction projects are indeed notorious for costing much more than originally planned. Whether a house or a museum, how is it possible that costs could be off by so much from when the project started vs. finally completed?
A titan amongst us architects has left this world: Ricardo Bofill. In the zeitgeist of art, design, and individualism, it feels as if Atlas finally shrugged.
In 1986 New York City, I, a young architect bravely stomping the granite cobblestones of SoHo streets, came across one of those suspicious card tables selling random artifacts. The seller and his temporary setting, appearing ready to pack up and run in an instant, had me wonder if his goods were stolen, fake, or both.
Once again, I look back at the past year in search of stand out projects. Instead of “the best”—which I dare anyone to define—I listed the most intriguing for 2020 and the most seductive for 2019. For closing out 2021, the operative adjective is striking. Common synonyms for ‘striking’ include: stunning, dramatic, prominent, remarkable, unusual, and beautiful.
Relative to other industries, mentorship in architecture is scarce. Why? Let’s look at this from the viewpoint of a young architect. If a senior architect approaches the fresh-faced junior architect and offers, “I would like to mentor you. You would be my protégé.”
In many other fields, the young professional would be flattered by an influential industry leader taking him under the wing of mentorship. But not true in architecture. Why would some entry level architects find it demeaning? Is “protégé” such a bad word?