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When I was a teenager I wanted to be an architect because I liked the technical drawing - on paper.  I lost interest once I went to college where I studied television and film ultimately.  Ironically shortly after moving to LA I jumped ship from entertainment to make more money doing admin work in the construction industry.  So I could make more money.

That was about 18 years ago.  In that time I have worked for an Owner's rep, and mostly MEP engineers.  Projects are mostly new construction.  I do the part of the paperwork that's not drawings.  And even though it's just paperwork I can now say I have worked on everything from so and so's mansion to LAX to the Rose Bowl.

So I have learned a lot about the business and the LA market and still have some interest in architecture.

Since some of you started to geek on it in the apocalypse thread I thought I would make a new thread for it.


I'm not big on Frank Gehry but still like some of his stuff.  As a movement, I find his style to be dead in the water outside of his own firm.

I once told a colleague that and called it free jazz.  There's no longer a frontier once you go there.

I like some historic and Art Deco stuff.  The building I used to work in downtown had a killer lobby.

I also like modern but think there needs to be a balance with functionality and especially warmth.


To clarify - MEP stands for mechanical electrical plumbing.  Mechanical means HVAC and they tend to be the leader since their part is so complex.

There's all kinds of energy modeling and performance involved.  Sustainability too.  Lighting, Technology design.  Low voltage electrical systems, a little fire protection.  It depends on who you work for.  The larger companies try to accumulate services.  It's called consulting engineering because its almost all design work.

Clients for that are usually Architects but we still have to obey Owners.  Sometimes Owners are the clients.  Sometimes contractors have some authority, or will take over a project after a certain point.


I was one of those who got into a bit of a derail in the Trump thread, but I wouldn't say I am particularly knowledgeable.

I got into Louis Kahn a few years back, after being transfixed by pictures of his Salk Institute, and have a list of his buildings I really want to see before I die. His averred philosophy of finding the essential characteristics of materials and designing buildings in sympathy with that struck a chord, as did his way of interpreting the building language of the past without slavishly recreating it.

I also find the intersection of buildings and prevailing social themes intriguing, and find myself preferring architecture that reflects my underlying beliefs like the importance of public spaces and institutions. Housing estates, performance spaces and other public-oriented buildings that promote the coming together and sharing between people on a level playing field in an environment that is both functional, attractive and interesting really appeal.

As I said in the Trump thread, I think that is why modernism and Western European brutalism really appeals. They seem to have been the styles that provided a medium for the expression of a philosophy that empowered the public sphere and had optimism about a society where what we had in common was at least as important as our differences.

Edit: these are the Kahn buildings I want to see

Esherick House


Phillips Exeter Univ Library


Salk Institute


Yale University Art Gallery


Bangladesh Parliament Building in Dhaka


I also love these kinds of buildings. Glass and water always suggests futurism to me. This is the glasshouse at RHS Wisley, built in 2005/6.

Finally, like you, I'm a big fan of art deco. I spent a vacation in Miami soaking up both the sun and the concrete.

A"Free jazz" is too kind for the likes of Gehry. It's not free in the slightest; it's meticulously-constructed absolute wankery.

One kind thing I will say about his work - the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA is breathtaking in person.


Rather partial to the Guggenheim in Bilbao too, personally. The office building in Germany that looks like a twisted cuboid is good too. Subtle, but a heck of a lot more aesthetically pleasing than a lot of variations on the basic skyscraper design we're being afflicted with at the moment.

My favourite architectural story of recent times was the one about the "Walkie Talkie" here in London, the concave glass-clad design of which was reflecting sunlight onto the street and melting cars, as well as causing a win tunnel effect that was knocking people off their feet. Not a design I find particularly appealing, either.


That's messed up.

Other starchitects of note -

Bjarke Ingels

Zaha Hadid

Thom Mayne

Shigeru Ban


ASeattle has a couple of ones that I like. First up is the Seattle Public Library.

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I also really like the Rainier Tower in its simplicity. Freaked me out as a kid.

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The Amazon Spheres (when they're completed) should be a unique addition to the city as well.

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