the rise of the background building

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At residential architect's Reinvention 2011 conference in December, one of our speakers said something I found very significant. Andrew van Leeuwen, of the Seattle design-build firm BUILD LLC, told the audience that he and business partner Kevin Eckert, LEED AP, weren't particularly trying to create iconic buildings. "The further we get along in the profession, the more we're realizing architecture is becoming a different beast," said van Leeuwen. "It's usually about adding that next layer to something that's already there. It's not iconic like back in the day."

This is a really important point. As much as we all love iconic architecture, background buildings are just as important in influencing our experience of a place--and it's so easy to get them wrong. I'm glad Eckert and van Leeuwen are focusing on these crucial pieces of the urban and suburban fabric, and I know many other worthy architects are doing so, too. (As another fine example, check out Repp Design + Construction's office, covered in Architect magazine's Annual Design Review.)

Check our website soon for more coverage of Reinvention 2011.--m.d.



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