Kuggen by Gert Wingardh

Kuggen (The Cog) designed by Gert Wingårdh (who was interviewed by BUILD in ARCADE Iss. 32.3). Sustainable office building, Göteborg, Sweden, 2011. Photo: Tord-Rikard Soderstrom

Since 2010, BUILD llc has been bringing insight and inspiration to our community through their ARCADE interview series. They've spoken with leading creative minds here in the Pacific Northwest and to architects, authors and designers from around the world, discussing a wide range of topics that deepen and evolve our conceptions of design practice. Our upcoming spring issue will include their 20th interview! In the meantime, take a trip down memory lane and revisit their fantastic conversations below. Thank you, BUILD, for your generous creative contributions to ARCADE! And for more from BUILD visit their popular BUILDblog and check out the ARCADE issue they feature edited, From Gritty to Glossy, Methods of Design, their infographic mapping architectural manifestos and tips on getting hired at architecture firms. — ARCADE


Modular Construction & Senior Housing: A Conversation with Gordon Walker

Walker Pope Residence, Orcas Island, Washington.

Walker Pope Residence, Orcas Island, Washington.

From Issue 29.2, Winter 2010

Gordon Walker has been practicing architecture in Seattle since 1962. After completing his studies at the University of Idaho, he worked for Ralph Anderson, co-founded Olson Walker Architects, and was a principal at NBBJ, where he helped established their San Francisco office. He founded Walker Architects in 1992 and is currently a consulting principal at Mithun. Gordon continues to be a voice of sustainable design and construction in the Pacific Northwest.

"What we are currently building is the memory of what was, and it no longer works. We need to design and build for the future, not the past." — Gordon Walker

Read the interview here

Neighborhoods That Fire on All Cylinders: A Conversation with Liz Dunn

Melrose Market, Seattle, Washington. Photo: BUILD llc

Melrose Market, Seattle, WA. Photo: BUILD llc

From Issue 29.3, Summer 2011

BUILD sat down with visionary developer Liz Dunn for an interview regarding her philosophy on the evolution of neighborhoods.

"Building trust with lenders is an incremental thing. The process needs to go smoothly, everyone needs to get paid and the finished projects need to be good. And I think banks appreciate the positive press that comes with innovative projects that the community seems to appreciate." — Liz Dunn

Read the interview here

Believing in Architecture: An Interview with Billie Tsien, TWBTA

Rendering of the west elevation of the Barnes Foundation, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Image: The Barnes Foundation

Rendering of the west elevation of the Barnes Foundation, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Image: The Barnes Foundation

From Issue 29.4, Fall 2011

BUILD sat down with Cooper Hewitt National Design Award-winning architect Billie Tsien at her Manhattan office on Central Park South. Billie and her husband Tod founded Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in 1986 and have completed master works such as The American Folk Art Museum and The Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla; currently they are working on the controversial Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Billie graciously shared some of the behind the scenes process and thinking of their successful architecture practice.

"Tod and I were talking the other day: Why are we doing what we do? And I guess that’s a question that I would ask myself. People retire at a certain age—who would I be if I wasn’t an architect? It becomes completely entwined with who you are as a human being." — Billie Tsien

Read the interview here

Faith, Mindfulness and Dignity: The Work and Process of Studio Mumbai

Studio Mumbai

Palmyra House, Nandgaon, Maharashtra, India, 2007. Photo: Hélène Binet

From Issue 30.1, Winter 2011

BUILD spoke with the wise and insightful Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai. His practice in India, now in its 16th year, integrates architects and skilled craftsmen to produce work that is culturally significant and responsive to the environment. Replacing traditional drawings with consideration, communication and physical models, Jain’s extraordinary work investigates a new process of architecture.

"I developed a non-linear narrative with each project; this narrative describes atmosphere, experience, emotion and connection to place. I believe, in some way, that this process becomes present in the work because the craftsmen are able to connect; they’re not just carrying out instructions. A stonemason is not simply there to break stone and install it." — Bijoy Jain

Read the interview here.

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary: An Interview with Will Bruder

 Burton Barr Phoenix Central Library, Phoenix, AZ. Photos: Bill Timmerman

Burton Barr Phoenix Central Library, Phoenix, AZ. Photos: Bill Timmerman

From Issue 30.2, Spring 2012

BUILD met with Will Bruder at the extraordinary Phoenix Central Library that he designed in 1989 as part of the collaboration bruderDWLarchitects. He spoke about desert light, a strict budget and what it’s like to work through the public design process of a civic building. Afterwards, Will was generous enough to chat via phone and elaborate on his 40-plus-year journey in architecture.

"The only thing “standard” is a belief in the possibility of making. It’s not about creating a set of standard details, but rather, having a consistent understanding of architecture and a respect for the craftsman; details follow their tools. It’s important to inquire about the possibilities that each tool and material hold and what each allows and inspires." — Will Bruder

Read the interview here

Unraveling Methods of Design and Construction: An Interview with Nader Tehrani, NADAAA

Nader Tehrani

Macallen Building, 2002, Boston, MA. Photo: John Horner

From Issue 30.3, Summer 2012

BUILD sat down to talk with practitioner and academic Nader Tehrani, who works and teaches in Boston. Working on interdisciplinary platforms, Nader Tehrani’s research has focused on the transformation of the building industry, innovative material applications and the development of new means and methods of construction. As the founding principal of office NADAAA, Tehrani’s work has received many prestigious awards, such as the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture. Also a professor, Tehrani is the head of the department of architecture at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning.

"The diversity of my background invariably defines me, but as an architect, I think one is defined by an intellectual pedigree altogether distinct from one’s personal background. In my case, the RISD [Rhode Island School of Design] years provided me with a series of debates, references and cultural agendas that rode above my personal biography—or maybe they offered a lens of visual and disciplinary terms through which I could reread my own background in broader terms than I could have previously." — Nader Tehrani

Read the interview here

Designing Pragmatism: An Interview with John Ronan

Gary Comer College Prep designed by John Ronan

Gary Comer College Prep, Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Steve Hall / Hedrich Blessing

From Issue 30.4, Fall 2012

BUILD checked in with Chicago architect John Ronan, who’s been making a marked impact on civic and institutional architecture. BUILD admires his ability to get in the trenches and create design that has an impact on people’s lives. His work with schools, community centers and foundations is contributing to the built environment in significant ways, and he was kind enough to elaborate on his process.

"Our methodology is very iterative, and it’s rarely the case that there is only one way to do something. There have been a few projects in which we’ve locked onto something right away because it seemed obvious, but typically we look at many possibilities and then let the forces of the project narrow down the variations." — John Ronan

Read the interview here

Architecture as Response: An Interview with Gwendolyn Wright

Photo by BUILD llc.

From Issue 31.1, Winter 2012

BUILD visited Gwendolyn Wright in Manhattan to discuss writing USA: Modern Architectures in History, a standard reference of modern architecture in the United States.

"[A] misconception is that all the good architecture was made by a handful of great architects working in the trifecta of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Here, too, many historians and critics imply that there’s a precipice around this group; there’s nothing else worth looking at. I found some fabulous architecture in unexpected places like Oklahoma City, Cleveland and Houston; there are several illustrations from Seattle. But most Americans, even architects, don’t know these buildings." — Gwendolyn Wright

Read the interview here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.

When the Dog Catches the Bumper: An Interview with Jared Della Valle

R-House, Syracuse, NY. Photo: Richard Barnes

R-House, Syracuse, NY. Photo: Richard Barnes

From Issue 31.2, Spring 2013

BUILD got to know Jared Della Valle at the Reinvention 2011 event in Phoenix, Arizona. Astounded by his bandwidth, professional diversity and architectural accomplishments, they sat down with Jared in Manhattan last summer and talked about the architect-as-developer model and working in the new economy.

"The message I wanted to get out to the world [in my book Think/Make] was be resourceful. It doesn’t matter what you are doing. If you don’t have the resources, figure it out. Ask a lot of questions. Go for it. Don’t worry about failure. There’s no other way but to get out there, be scrappy and get it done. Nobody is going to do it for you." — Jared Della Valle

Read the interview here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.

A Quantity of Quality: An Interview with Stanley Saitowitz

Octavia Gateway, San Francisco, CA, 2007. Rendering: Natoma Architects

Octavia Gateway, San Francisco, CA, 2007. Rendering: Natoma Architects

From Issue 31.3, Summer 2013

BUILD met with architect Stanley Saitowitz at his San Francisco studio to discuss his current workload, the challenges of Modernism and bringing good design to the people. 

"Our work is strategic, and it’s modeled on an idea of architecture that relates to someone like Mies van der Rohe. Rather than reinventing everything every time, we’re in a process of evolution and refinement. We also have a small office where we work efficiently and the work is well directed. We don’t do alternatives, try things on for size or have beauty contests. It’s a studio of focused thinking, and we’re a good machine." — Stanley Saitowitz

Read the interview here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.

Designing to All the Senses: An Interview with Joshua Aidlin, Aidlin Darling Design

Sonoma spa retreat designed by Aidlin Darling design

Sonoma Spa Retreat, Sonoma, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte

From Issue 31.4, Fall 2013

BUILD visited with designer and architect Joshua Aidlin at his San Francisco office, where they discussed what it means to be multidisciplinary, why his firm, Aidlin Darling, designs for the entire food chain and the importance of camping out on-site. 

"My business partner, David Darling, and I set out to create a studio environment rather than an office environment.It’s based more on an academic studio—both physically and emotionally, in its size and in how we study a problem. The platform we originally started with was not just to create buildings; we wanted the studio to be multidisciplinary so we could potentially take on sculpture and industrial design projects as well. Having an ethos of exploration in all creative mediums opens the door to discovery on any project, emotionally and sensually. For that reason we’re Aidlin Darling Design and not Aidlin Darling Architects." — Joshua Aidlin

Read the interview here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.

Navigating the Hills of Affordable Housing: An Interview with Architect David Baker

Richardson Apartments by David Baker + Partners

The Richardson Apartments in San Francisco, designed by David Baker + Partners, provides permanent housing for a very-low-income, formerly homeless population. Photo: Bruce Damonte

Blog Post: 18th Feb 2014

BUILD sat down with San Francisco-based architect David Baker while he was in Seattle to speak at the University of Washington (UW) Department of Architecture. David’s work has received more than 160 architectural design awards and honors, including six national AIA awards, and in 2010, he received the Hearthstone Builder Humanitarian Award, which honors the housing industry’s thirty most influential and innovative people of the past thirty years. With his breadth of experience living and working in San Francisco, BUILD got a peek into David's path and passion towards affordable housing and urbanite living.

"Every project is a really complex story, and we’re constantly trying to raise the bar. People used to think we were insane for advocating that retail spaces be located under housing, and now it’s the norm. We’re currently confronting the amount of parking required for most projects." — David Baker

Read the blog post here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.

Through the Lens of Architecture: An Interview with Laurie Hawkinson, SMH + U Architects

Corning Museum of Glass

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY. © Esto

From Issue 32.1, Spring 2014

BUILD sat down with architect and Columbia professor Laurie Hawkinson in the Manhattan offices of Smith-Miller + Hawkinson (SMH+U), which she runs with her husband, Henry Smith-Miller. They discussed SMH+U’s advancement into public projects, working with different types of clients and the education of an architect.

"[Students] have to think about what they’re doing. They have to be able to defend it with evidence, and the evidence is the work. They can break the rules, but they have to build a case. At Columbia, I think we’re training people to be leaders. They have to be able to go out into the world and know what questions should be asked." — Laurie Hawkinson

Read the interview here

Design, Context and Delight: Explanations of the Built Environment. An Interview with Kate Ascher

way to go trains

From The Way to Go: Moving by Sea, Land and Air. Image: Design Language

Blog Post: 11th Aug 2014

BUILD sat down with author, professor and principal at Buro Happold Engineering, Kate Ascher. Knee-deep in her West Coast book tour for The Way to Go: Moving by Sea, Land and Air, they caught her here in Seattle to discuss her mesmerizing trilogy on urban infrastructure, the power of good graphics and understanding complex systems. 

"My first book was inspired by David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work. When it first came out, it was completely different from anything else I'd seen. Even though I’m not an engineer, the information was accessible. I thought, 'That's cool, why hasn't anyone explained a city like this? Or a skyscraper?'" — Kate Ascher

Read the blog post here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.

Designing the Whole Idea: An Interview with AvroKO

PUBLIC avroko

PUBLIC, New York, NY. Photo: Michael Weber

From Issue 32.2, Fall 2014

BUILD sat down with three of AvroKO’s four partners at their recently opened Gotham West Market in Manhattan. With current work in 15 cities across seven countries, the design-and-concept firm tackles everything from architecture and furniture to graphics and fashion. BUILD and AvroKO discussed continuity of design, self-propelled projects and why it’s important to glue things down in a restaurant. 

"When PUBLIC came along, we looked at it and said, “This is how we would love to work as a group.” It established a precedent that our projects would be concept driven rather than goal specific. This method of designing united ideas with form and materiality, and because we didn’t have a client, we were able to focus on our own way of working and create a process. To this day, I think our process was formed through that project." — Kristina O’Neal

Read the interview here

The Art and Architecture of Baroque Scandinavian Modernism: An Interview with Gert Wingårdh

Emporia shopping center by Wingardhs

Emporia. Shopping centre, Hyllie, Malmö, Sweden, 2012. Photo: Tord-Rikard Soderstrom

From Issue 32.3, Winter 2014

BUILD met with Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh at his Stockholm headquarters to discuss his impressive roster of forward-thinking public and commercial design work. With completed projects in Scandinavia, northern Europe and the US, Wingårdh has designed work ranging from embassies and university buildings to shopping malls and air traffic control towers. BUILD and Wingårdh discussed the design of golf clubhouses, how to keep your clients happy and what it means to be a maximalist.

"I started out studying art history and gravitated to the work of Francesco Borromini. The baroque mindset was very intriguing to me, and I felt a similarity between this and Venturi’s argument about the decorated shed, which makes use of exaggerated geometries and architectural exuberance." — Gert Wingårdh

Read the interview here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.

Architecture as Instrument: An Interview with Hakan Widjedal, Arkitektstudio Widjedal Racki

Arkitektstudio Widjedal Racki

H-House, Trosa, Sweden; outer room and courtyard. © Åke E:son Lindman

From Issue 33.1, Spring 2015

BUILD visited Stockholm and met with Håkan Widjedal of Arkitektstudio Widjedal Racki. They discussed the influence of traditional Swedish design on modern architecture, the importance of understanding a client’s lifestyle, and how architecture can be a tool to interpret a site.

"Our clients are genuinely interested in architecture. If you like nice things, you can simply buy a fancy sports car overnight, but you don’t go through the process of designing an ambitious house with an architect if you’re not interested in architecture. There’s a commitment to design there. Our clients also usually have nice properties in remote areas and quite often on the water." Håkan Widjedal

Read the interview here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.

The Craft of Tropical Modernism: An Interview with Mark de Reus, de Reus Architects, Hawaii

Kauhale Kai de Reus

Kauhale Kai, South Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii. Modern tropical pavilions and pools. Photo: Joe Fletcher

From Issue 33.2, Fall 2015

BUILD traveled to Hawaii’s Big Island and visited with Mark de Reus of de Reus Architects. They discussed the design strategies of tropical modernism, the challenges of thatched roofs and why new construction in Hawaii should be blessed by a Hawaiian priest.

"Figuring out the aesthetics of designing thatched roofs was straightforward, but the engineering and permitting process was a challenge." Mark de Reus

Read the interview here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.

Circumstances,  Expectations and Trust: An Interview with Peter Bohlin and Ray Calabro, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Pixar Animation Studio BCJ

Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville, CA. Photo: Sharon Risedorph

From Issue 33.3, Winter 2015

BUILD sat down with Peter Bohlin and Ray Calabro of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson at their Seattle office to discuss their process of designing everything from art galleries to books as well as the importance of understanding clients.

"Some of our more appreciative clients are those who’ve been most enthusiastic about the process. It becomes more than doing a house, but also about how it will make them feel, how the project will change their patterns, and what they see. Perceptiveness is a quality we like in clients." Ray Calabro

Read the interview here. Read Part 2 of the interview on the BUILDblog.


BUILD llc is an industrious design-build firm in Seattle run by Kevin Eckert and Andrew van Leeuwen. The firm’s work focuses on permanence, sustainability and efficiency. BUILD llc maintains an architectural office and is most known for their cultural leadership on their BUILDblog. BUILD team members Sandy Ha and Charles Caldwell contribute to the ARCADE interview series.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, ARCADE’s mission is to reinforce the principle that thoughtful design at every scale of human endeavor improves our quality of life. Support ARCADE today.

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