Credit: Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Credit: Tracey Knoll
Joeb Moore, AIA, combines a deep respect for the past with an avid interest in the present and future. Though the Greenwich, Conn.–based architect once worked for local traditional house specialists Shope Reno Wharton, his work has leaned more toward the contemporary over the past few years. Rich with thoughtful details and well-developed ideas, Moore’s houses both please the eye and stimulate the mind. He’s restored a Richard Neutra residence and reimagined a home by Eliot Noyes, as well as created new houses, additions, remodels, and interiors all over Connecticut and New York City. A natural and generous sharer of ideas, Moore also teaches architecture students at Yale and Columbia.
Moore’s interiors projects have led him to start designing hardware and home furnishings, areas that make sense given the firm’s intense attention to detail. Design/build is another exciting new direction for Joeb Moore + Partners, Architects; the firm has built a handful of its own projects over the past couple of years. But nothing can distract it from the core goal described on its website: “Great architecture should, on some level, be a provocation, one that deepens human experience, engages our prosaic rituals, while also elevating our awareness of a larger, changing world.”
What is the most gratifying aspect of residential practice?
I would say it is the creative process, the loop back and forth between inspiration and collaboration, with a client. The peak emotional experience for me is to experience first-hand the delight, the surprise, and beauty of a completed house lived in and loved by its new family, i.e., “a house as a home.”
What is the most frustrating aspect?
Encouraging everyone—owners, builders, consultants, subcontractors—to think outside the box, outside what is conventional, easy, and banal. The constant struggle with how time-intensive good, thoughtful, creative design is, and how difficult it is to translate design into built-work. This process and translation demands enormous amounts of patience and goodwill from the owner, the architect, the builder, and subcontractors. The process and the final built-work, in my opinion, can only be as good as this collaboration.
What is your mission statement or firm goal?
Our minds and our hands thinking through the making.
What software does your firm use?
Rhino, ArchiCAD, Photoshop, etc.
Who is your ideal client?
A client emotionally and intellectually sensitive and elastic enough to suspend preconceptions about what a house “is” or should be and let the design and construction process bring about unexpected surprise and delight.
What is your favorite building?
Wow. This question is too general. Turning back to the ancients, the Pantheon had a tremendous impact on me when I first entered its sphere. I have great admiration and respect for Louis Kahn’s work at Exeter Library, LeCorbusier’s La Tourette, and more recently, Peter Zumthor’s Kunsthaus at Bregenz, Austria.
If you didn't have the time to design your own house, who would you hire?
Wow, do you mean in all of western architectural history? If yes, I would turn to Adolf Loos. If you mean contemporary architects, I would turn to LTL Architects. Both architecture firms represent a continued engagement with “critical conventionalism” in architecture.