10 architects making a difference

  • kelly denk and john vetter

    Vetter Denk Architects has taken the post-industrial town of Green Bay, Wis., by storm. Block upon block of prime waterfront footage, a...

  • marianne cusato

    It's fast, dignified, affordable, and flexible. It's the Katrina Cottage, Marianne Cusato's nifty alternative to the ugly FEMA trailers...

  • andrés duany

    Two months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita flattened huge swathes of the Gulf Coast last summer, a flotilla of Congress for the New...


Most of you probably don't remember your 10th birthday. But if you've practiced your profession for at least a decade, you know this milestone has significant resonance. What were you doing 10 years ago? And what have you achieved since? What hopes do you have for the next decade? We asked these questions and more of 10 accomplished architects (actually, if you look closely, you'll count 11). The common denominator among them is that none is satisfied with the status quo. All are pushing for change, either directly in the discipline of architecture or in the broader world it touches. They are inspiration for anyone who aims to leave an enduring mark.

While shopping for orders of 10, we pondered the evolution of residential design during our tenure. We're often asked by others about prevailing trends—for instance, “Are houses getting bigger or smaller?” “Well,” we say, “the answer is ‘yes.'” Intrigued by these divergences, we collected a short list of trends that have substantial, concurrent countertrends. We left out the Venn diagrams, but several coexist in felicitous intersection.

And what kind of birthday would this be without tangibles to unwrap? Training our eyes on the material world of the last 10 years, we culled your 10 favorite brands and a complementary number of popular specifications. These products are your Top 10s.

Why you design, what you design, and how you design. Our 10th birthday party is a celebration of you.