Every architecture office we have collectively even been in, and every architecture office that you have seen on TV, share at least one trait – pristine models and photographs or projects past hanging on the walls. Often prominently placed and well-lit, museum like, but sometimes less self-consciously set on shelving or furniture. As an architect, I get it – few offices want to associate themselves and their image with something that someone else made. Our job is hard, and it’s nice to be inspired, to surround yourself with past accomplishments.
On the walls of our old foundry building at 33 Whitney, however, you will find no sexy photographs, no models of any kind hanging on any wall. We do find our job difficult at times and we can certainly use reminders of our past successes. But to us, this type of self-re-presentation feels too indulgent, it smacks of celebration of The Architect in the old-fashioned sense - the celebration of EGO.
Instead, we prefer to surround ourselves with trinkets, totems, art provided by family and friends, materials being considered for our current projects or projects past. (In all honestly, some of this stuff just got set down someplace and we never quite got around to picking it up) I, personally, am better inspired by a luscious piece of walnut and the creativity of others. When the project is done, it’s good to celebrate, but it also has to be put away. Move onto the next challenge and don’t be tempted to crib or copy what made the last one a success.