Born and raised in Chicago, I have been fascinated by the built environment from a young age. I knew that I wanted to be an architect since before I can remember. Now I am licensed in California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania and committed to designing homes that reverse climate change to the market. For more info, please check out my LinkedIn profile.
When I travel I love to see how different societies have created different approaches to the built environment. For example, during my travels to Japan I noticed an engagement with the natural environment that allows water to flow through and around the man-made environment instead of containing and controlling the water. This can be seen very clearly in Japanese water-scape design.
For examples of what I think is important in architecture, I have compiled a list of my favorite large scale architectural projects and the architects behind them.
Large Scale Architecture
The list below is in alphabetical order of the last name of an architect behind the project or projects highlighted.
While I admire the forms of Calatrava it is a shame that so many of his projects are so leaky. Calatrava makes this list not because of his lackluster detailing but because of the beautiful forms that push the boundaries of what is possible such as the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin.
This building is a fantastic example of experience design. Although I think the environmental impact of this building might be out-sized due to the water pumping requirements BLUR takes experiential design to the max. It would have been perfect if it took advantage of a location that naturally and frequently produced fog and put people right there in it.
One of my favorite architects. Gaudi really integrated natural forms into the built environment to fantastic effect. Here are links to two of my favorite works: La Sagrada Familia, and Parc Guell. The image shown here is actually of the school he built right beside La Sagrada Familia because it is one of my favorites and much lesser known.
R.I.P. You went too soon. The architectural community will miss you for a long time yet. Zaha Hadid found ways to manufacture organic forms on a massive scale with modern CNC machining and software. Unlike Calatrava above Hadid actually gets the details right as far as I am aware. My visits to her buildings confirm a very high attention to detail while also accomplishing incredible spatial gymnastics. Two of my favorite projects from Zaha Hadid are the Heydar Aliyev Centre which I have not yet visited, and the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea, which I have visited.
Using materials in new and unexpected ways is one way to push the boundaries of architecture. The Nelson Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City is an excellent example of reconsidering the possibilities of translucent glass to create bright diffuse and even light for the artwork inside all day long. However, the building does look much better at night…
While their more recent work does not question spatial arrangements in the same ways or have the same power as earlier works, most Bjarke Ingels Group projects really re-examine fundamental spatial arrangements that have gone unquestioned for a long time. Answering those questions in different ways is what leads them to the new and intriguing final forms they often arrive at. My favorite projects from Bjarke Ingels Group are called The Mountain and “8”.
The Hearst Castle is a pastiche of European styles and a wonder of craftsmanship to behold. It is amazing that one person could coordinate so many random styles and come up with a way to organize all the activity necessary to make this crazy castle possible while working with such an eccentric patron. The way that Morgan dealt with the client is a demonstration of how important communication and relationships are for successful projects.
Starting with an epic mirrored entrance the caught my eye at first glance, what surprised me most about this building was the rooftop deck and how the architect deftly drew visitors all the way up to the top floor of the building. Tokyu Plaza is located in Harajuku Tokyo, Japan and is a prime example of how architecture can add value to a building. By drawing visitors to the building up and up and up every store throughout the building enjoys foot traffic at levels normally only seen at the street level.
Mies Van de Rohe
Clean lines. Radical design moves. Nothing extra. I really like the Seagram Building.
Eero Saarinen really broke some rules and created some beautiful structures that opened up the modern architectural world to more curvy forms. My favorite Saarinen project is the Kresge Auditorium at MIT.
Norma Merrick Sklarek
Mall of America is one of the largest indoor malls in the world and was the first of it’s scale. The layout makes a lot of sense for Minnesota where it frequently gets below zero and gets dark early. By creating experience zones and street-scapes Sklarek created spaces that address fundamental human needs that add value to the stores that populate its avenues.
This architect is not as well known as perhaps he should be. He was behind some incredibly futuristic projects including the Theme Building at LAX. We must never forget that we create the future. If we do not push the boundaries of what is possible for a more just and equitable society, no one will.