Architects : In Their Own Words

At Avery Library, when you study the work of an architect, the typical way to begin is by looking for books about them in CLIO and then articles in magazines. However, one of the most interesting ways to gain perspective on an architect and his or her work, is to find out what they have to say for themselves. Here we present four recently acquired resources in which architects do just that – speak for themselves.

Talking Architecture: Interviews with Architects


What makes an architect tick? What is the state of architecture today? How do architects view each other's work? No one can answer these questions better than the practitioners themselves.

Here such distinguished figures as Cecil Balmond, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Philip Johnson, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, I. M. Pei, and others offer a wide-ranging assortment of perspectives on contemporary architecture and the architects’ roles in shaping the state of the art today.

Each interview focuses on the unique contributions of its subject, and is accompanied by images of their most important works. With a no-holds-barred approach the author obtains interesting details about their ideas on architecture in general, from where they get their inspiration, to what formative experiences led them to become architects in the first place. Informative, accessible, and endlessly fascinating, this collection offers a chance to compare, contrast, and get to know the architects that are shaping the world we live in.
from book jacket


READ a review of Talking Architecture in which critic Martin Filler discusses the role that talking about work plays in the architecture world and his experience interviewing celebrated designers: “Why do architects talk so much?”

Rauterberg, Hanno. Talking Architecture: Interviews with Architects.
Munich: Prestel, 2008
(Avery AA650 R195)

Pidgeon Digital


Starting in 1979, Monica Pidgeon began this series of interviews with architects, engineers, designers and landscape architects. This audiovisual collection of illustrated talks will widen the horizons of students of architecture and design by giving them the opportunity to share in the thinking of leading members of the profession worldwide.

Speakers include:
Norman Foster
Zaha Hadid
Kisho Kurokawa
Oscar Niemayer
Lawrence Halprin
Denise Scott Brown
Frank Gehry


The series also includes speakers who have died since being recorded, but who continue to have a lasting influence like R. Buckminster Fuller, Philip Johnson, R. Burle Marx and Felix Candela.

Pidgeon Digital.
(Available on LibraryWeb via CLIO or Databases)

The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews by Robert A.M. Stern


This book is based on a series of ten interviews conducted by Robert A.M. Stern in 1985. The two were friends, and the exchanges and debates between Johnson and the equally articulate and opinionated Stern create a fascinating mix of insightful commentary and personal observation on architecture in the twentieth century.

Philip Johnson's career as an architect, curator, and collector extended from the early 1920s to his death in 2005. Among his architectural designs are the famous Glass House in Connecticut, his own home, and the Seagram Building in New York (in association with Mies van der Rohe). Johnson had a profound influence on the next generation of architects, including Robert A. M. Stern

The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews by Robert A.M. Stern.
New York: Monacelli Press, 2008
(Signed presentation copy: Avery Classics AA685 J63 J6338)

I. M. Pei – Words for the Future

In this special issue of A + U: architecture and urbanism, architect I. M. Pei was interviewed by Fumihiko Maki for three hours. Their discussion centered on Pei’s encounters with great architects of the 20th century, his take on working with the client and his humanistic approach to creating architecture. These recollections from a long career recall, in lively and intimate detail, Pei’s interactions with such masters as Gropius, Mies, and Aalto, and his student years during the height of the early modernist era, and other milestones of his career.

I. M. Pei – Words for the Future.
A + U: architecture and urbanism. 2008 Aug., n. 8, special issue.
(Avery AB K34)

pei7 I. M. Pei
pei-louvre3 I. M. Pei addition to the Louvre