Interboro at DAZ

03-04-2008

This Friday, Interboro’s work will be on display at “GH_07 GOES NYC,” a New Practices Exhibition at the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum in Berlin. Interboro was interviewed for the show. Here is what Interboro had to say: Q: How would you describe your architecture ? A: A few adjectives come to mind. Our architecture is activist because it is informed by our conviction that architecture can make the world better. It is ambitious because we have high hopes for architecture, which for us is broadly about influencing outcomes in the built environment. It is expansive because it needs to be: everyday, we discover more and more things that act on the built environment and influence its outcomes. It is sensible because we approach each situation differently, and respond accordingly (we don’t have any “isms”). Finally, our architecture is sympathetic because it is always informed by the particular dynamics of a given place. Q: Please describe the design process in your office. How do you approach a project? How do you develop and test an idea? What role do models play in your design process? A: When operating in the city, it’s important to begin with good detective work: old-fashioned empirical observation. When we’re asked to think about “dead malls,” or “shrinking cities,” or when we make a site visit, we try not to bring our prejudices with us: we approach things with an open mind. Moreover, because our interest is broadly in influencing outcomes, we’re similarly open-minded about how we will operate in a given place. This is one reason why our “deliverables” are always so diverse. Q: Why did you become architects? What or who insprires you? A: On the one hand, we are inspired by the same thing that inspired Walt Whitman: the extraordinary, exciting complexity of a city. On the other hand, we are inspired by our conviction that architecture can influence outcomes in cities and make them much better. Our architecture is reverent, but it is also activist. Q: What are the special challenges, difficultiesforayoungoffice– in NYC, in the USA, internationally? A: The challenge of operating an office is convincing the world that it would be worse off without your services. Q: What would you recommend other young architects who are going to establish their own offices? A: An elder statesman of east-coast architecture education who shall remain nameless told us somthing very patronizing and cynical but probably very true, namely, go out there, network, and find a rich patron. Q: Is there any „dream project“ that you would love to realize one day? Where do you see your practice in10years? A: Most of our clients have been private developers, but we would really like to work more for cities. This sounds corny, but it’s so clear that cities today, in order to thrive, need to innovate and inspire. We have lots of good ideas about how cities can do this. Urban planning shouldn’t always be about solving problems: sometimes, its about introducing bold new ideas. Q: What are you currently working on? A: Interboro’s portfolio is very diverse. We’re doing Feasibility Studies, Concept Plans, Market Studies, Site Plans, and Educational Campaigns. We also just finished a piece for “Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes,” an exhibition at the Walker Art Center. Oh, and we’re converting the building our office is in into a 7-story design cooperative. Very exciting! Q: What is the driving force as you see it for the NYC Architecture scene? A: Architects do their thing. Different forces drive architects in different ways. There are architects in NYC who are interested in what we’re interested in, and then there are architects in NYC we don’t have a thing in common with. This is all well and good: there’s a lot to be interested in and inspired by in this wonderful city.

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