Architects who inspire TALL
We find ourselves constantly looking to past, present, and future architects for inspiration, and we thought that instead of keeping these game-changing architects to ourselves, we would share them with you, so perhaps you too could find a bit of inspiration, or simple joy, in their work. The few we have selected encourage us to bend rules and defy standards.
The folks that we have put on this list are far from boring, and we think that with just a little explanation, you might find them and their work as intriguing and energizing as we do. One last thing before we start, remember we are showing you all the people who inspire US… this means that if you are reading this and are in the market to hire an architecture firm don’t hire the people on this list! Hire TALL!
John Soane, an English architect who practiced primarily in London, defies the Neo-Classical style that was prevalent in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. While he would follow certain compositional rules that would make his buildings look Neo-Classical, he would also tweak the angles of walls and cut big holes through the interior of his buildings to provide ways for natural light to permeate the spaces. His house, which is now the Sir John Soane Museum, is a living masterpiece of his craft. If you find yourself in London, you MUST visit this house (we did)! No matter who you are, it will change your outlook on what a building can be.
Antoni Gaudi, a Spanish architect who practiced in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, created his own style of design. A mixture of fluid curves and irregular geometric compositions, his architectural touch is nearly undeniable in any building he designed. It is not surprising that, due to the intensive care and consideration that he put into every architectural decision that the Sagrada Familia, his crowning achievement, is still in construction…they started in 1882!
MODERN, OR POST
Le Corbusier, a Swiss/French architect, was one of the three big hitters in modern architecture in the early 1900s. For reference to his credentials, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright were the other two. His early pursuit and book, “Towards a New Architecture”, explained how the way of the future was not based in buildings, but in seemingly magical machines like planes and boats that are exemplars of functionality. He is credited with saying, “A house is a machine to live in.” His use of concrete, glass, and bright colors eventually allowed him to create robust and humane structures all over the world that illustrated that there was a “new architecture” and he was the torch bearer.
Oscar Niemeyer, a Brazilian architect who worked until his death in 2012 at the age of 104, was a paragon of artistic success. Due to the sheer size of his work—he designed whole cities and dozens of monumental buildings-- as well as his eight decade long career, he was able to hone and employ his brand of curvy and sensual modernism to a staggering amount of Brazil. Instead of straight lines and angles, he embraced the curves of nature to inspire his sinuous master pieces. While viewing his work, it is totally acceptable to stare agape is amazement.
Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, architects whose buildings and books paved the way for post-modern architecture, strived to create playful places that demonstrated that architecture doesn’t have to be stuffy to be impactful. For nearly fifty years the duo consistently broke barriers that softened the boundaries between “every day” design and official “architecture” business. If TALL is able to make half the cultural impact Denise and Bob have made, we will consider it a job well done. Plus, it’s fun to see how another husband and wife team balance work and personal life.
Rem Koolhaas, a Dutch architect, partially responsible for re-introducing the weird factor into global architecture, is possibly the most influential architect practicing today. He and the firm he helped to found, O.M.A.—Office of Metropolitan Architecture, have completed socially important buildings of all sizes all over the world as well as seminal texts about design. Rem, a trained journalist, continues to doggedly push the boundaries of possibility, and we see no reason to expect a slow-down.
MVRDV, a firm based in Rotterdam and founded by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, and Nathalie de Vries in 1993, is the epitome of a powerful collaboration. The buildings, master plans, and books created by this powerhouse have positively changed the outlook of cities across the globe. From simple yet ingenuitive houses to city plans and important museums, the trajectory of the firm is equally as inspiring as the work produced.
Thom Mayne, an architect and the leader of L.A. based firm Morphosis, is a polemical force against the status quo. If Marcel Duchamp and Jacques Derrida had an architectural baby, it would probably be Thom. (If you don’t know Duchamp and Derrida, look them up immediately!) Morphosis has the incredible ability to create and sell inspirational and shocking buildings to some of the most straight forward entities in the world, like governments and public school boards. With Thom’s leadership and cheerleading, the firm has blazed an international trail all their own.
David Adjaye, a Ghanaian British architect whose head office is in London, is a visionary in refined architecture. His capacity to jump from a simple and lovely house to a sophisticated museum and back to the scale of a house without losing quality, is unparalleled. While some of the spaces created seem initially austere, they are far from it. Somehow, David and his crew refine their buildings into, dare we say, romantic environments, and for that knack, they made this list.
Marlon Blackwell, an architect based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has created an influential body of work from a small office in a small town. He seems to know the buttons to push to achieve radical ideas in mostly conservative areas with mediocre budgets. The work has a strange essence that is absolutely rooted in the local feeling of where it is built, yet it is without a doubt a new set of ideas. As the firm continues to grow, we look forward to gaining more inspiration.
Steven Holl, an architect whose head office is in New York, has carved out a career creating ephemeral buildings-- the types of buildings that amaze and surprise people with unforgettable experiences. He often uses carefully placed windows and sculpted walls and ceilings to allow natural light to dance throughout spaces. If this seems impossible, simply Google his buildings and be happily surprised.
The following is a list of more architects who influence TALL!
Andrea Palladio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini, Thomas Jefferson
Modern, or Post
Ray and Charles Eames, Charles Gwathmey and Peter Siegel, Charles Moore, I.M. Pei, Richard Neutra, Philip Johnson, Mies van der Rohe, Luis Barragan, Michael Graves, Fay Jones, Louis Kahn
Zaha Hadid (While she has passed, she is still a force.), Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Mueron, Will Bruder, Rick Joy, Jeanne Gang, Eric Owen Moss, Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, Rafael Moneo, Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith, Daniel Libeskind, Richard Meier, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Michael Maltzan, David Chipperfield, Jean Nouvel, Bjarke Ingels, Wolf Prix, Peter Eisenman