« Weighing the two finalists for Yeon-designed former McCall's site | Main | Poetry from Prose: LEED Platinum row houses by Building Arts Workshop »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Double J

We kinda double teamed Brad and had a lot of fun... the next part on buildings for artists is mine, then the third part is a kind of free for all.

On landscape, I also think Brad's Clyfford Still Museum is more like the Keller Fountain than the Seattle Art Museum.

Ryan Sullivan

Great interview. It underscores the fact that Brad is really a neo-modernist, focused on the compositional and artistic qualities of Modernism, rather than the social and political components. His firm's work is fantastic, but I think it's unfortunate that it sets the standard for Portland practices.

It's the 21st century. Who really believes in "total-design" anymore? Can't Portland, being the progressive and ambitious city that it is, explore other methodological approaches to architecture that result in projects that are just as significant as Brad's work?


I am in the Richard Serra camp of influence as well. After seeing the power of his piece in St. Louis and the conversation/controversy it created, and then seeing the installation at the Theaterplatz in Basel I was hooked. The power and simplicity of his work can't be overstated for me.
The other two I would say as having been of considerable influence are:
Robert Rauschenberg and his urban found art abstract expressionism, and Andy Goldsworthy and his natural found art.

Brian Libby

Among architects who are modern art fans, Donald Judd also seems to be a huge name. I once did a Dwell magazine article on Wim Wenders' house in Los Angeles, and the architects cited Judd as their biggest influence on the design, which was a 12-car parking garage renovated into a house.

Double J

Judd is a monster, you can't be living in a 1st world country and not feel his omnipresent influence on architecture and design.

Also, Cloepfil is hardly about "Total Design"... his St. Louis museum is practically the antithesis of that idea (just wait for part II though his statement about architecture not doing too much in part I pretty much gets that idea across). I think Rem Koolhaas comes much closer to the total design tag.

I appreciate them both but Cloepfil is a very American architect... I'd even go as far to say that the American West looms large in his thinking (also see CS Peirce and philisophical pragmatism). Looking at his influences he got away from European modernism like De Stijl... it's guys like Irwin, Judd and Michael Heizer that have a really open ended way of addressing/articulating space. It's less controlling.


For what it's worth, these artists are some of my faves, all working today (encountered in NY). They deal with perception, projectional systems, fabrication, and interiority in ways fascinating to architects like me. Sort of an optical counterpoint to the muscular, haptically based land-art work you are discussing:

Ricci Albenda

Robert Lazzarini

Josiah McElheny

Ryan Sullivan

Double J, regarding "total design" - intentions are one thing and actions another.

Although Brad's work might be considered "less controlling" in a very abstract and perceptual way, it's certainly all about control in terms of its attention to every last detail of material, space and experience. More importantly, his working methodology/process is downright autocratic.

Koolhaas might be considered a hedgehog at first glance, but really his interests and projects are all about assembling a series of disparate utopias into a messy, unresolved whole. He's really not about total-design at all, although he might like to be.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Lead Sponsors


Portland Architecture on Facebook

More writing from Brian Libby


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad

Paperblogs Network

Google Analytics

  • Google Analytics

Awards & Honors