Page D1.1 . 02 January 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    Interview with an Emerging Architect

    by Brian Libby

    Few architectural commissions are more attractive than an art museum. So no one was surprised in 1999 when the design competition for the Forum for Contemporary Art in St. Louis, Missouri drew an international "who's who" of architects and firms Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, Enrique Norton, Peter Zumthor.

    What was remarkable to some, however, was that the commission went to Portland, Oregon architect Brad Cloepfil and his firm, Allied Works. The 45-year-old Cloepfil is not as widely known as some of his competitors, but as the Forum for Contemporary Art (FCA) moves toward a 2003 completion, he is rapidly gaining recognition in American architecture.

    A Conversation with Cloepfil

    Brian Libby: With architects working all over the country as you do, some say regionalism doesn't exist anymore, while others argue that as long as there is regional culture, climate, and geography there will be architecture that reflects those factors. What do you think?

    Brad Cloepfil: I agree with the latter. It doesn't matter if communication and production are international, because place is specific. I was in a discussion recently with the dean at the University of Texas-Arlington, and she made a very interesting statement: 'Site is not specific, but it's the act of architecture that makes it specific.' I agree with that one hundred percent.

    Libby: What is your memory of working for Mario Botta, and how did he influence you?   >>>



    ArchWeek Image

    Brad Cloepfil's Forum for Contemporary Art in St. Louis, Missouri broke ground this summer and is slated for completion in 2003.
    Image: Allied Works Architecture

    ArchWeek Image

    The St. Louis museum will engage the surrounding streetscape and a shared plaza with Tadao Ando's Pulitzer Foundation the Arts.
    Image: Allied Works Architecture


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