September 12, 2011

Interview with Will Bruder – First Segment

by: Taz Loomans


One of the reasons I love being a blogger is that I have an excuse to talk with the people I admire most about things I’ve always wanted to ask them. I had such an opportunity two weeks ago with Will Bruder, a world renown architect who is responsible for such architectural masterpieces as the Burton Barr Library, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Henkel Headquarters, and the Vale among a myriad of other projects and project types.

In Parts I, II and III of the interview, shown below, we talked about the role of the architect in society, if indeed architects can save the world, and about one architect who definitely thinks he can, Paolo Soleri, and his influence on Will.

Part I How Will was influenced by Paolo Soleri:

Part II Will’s take on the role of the architect in society:

Part III: Will on architects saving the world:

Stay tuned for more of my interview with Will tomorrow!


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9 Responses

  1. […] Today’s post is the second installment of my interview with one of my favorite architects, Will Bruder. If you missed the first segment, make sure to catch up here. […]

  2. Will Novak says:

    Nice interview as always Taz, I look forward to the rest 🙂

    Perhaps this is sacrilegious, but am I the only one who finds Bruder a bit over rated?

    I think his interiors are generally very nice, and his buildings are very clever (and green). However, his buildings are rarely beautiful (subjective of course) and I find his metal and lime green aesthetic to be a bit stuck in the 90s and not very interesting or attractive. The Henkel HQ, especially from the 101, is just plain ugly and looks unfinished.

    The Central Library for instance has a nice interior, but the exterior looks like a car radiator from 2 sides. The North view is nice, but thats about it. It doesn’t address Central Avenue well at all, it lacks the grand or interesting entry a Civic Building of its stature usually has and it totally ignores its sitting, adjacent to Hance Park. Why is the library cafe facing a surface parking lot and not the park to the South?

    Am I missing something? I think to put it in his own words Bruder excels in the pragmatic areas of Architecture but falls short in the poetic areas, especially on exteriors.

  3. […] of my interview with architect Will Bruder. If you missed them, make sure to take a look at the first and second segments as […]

  4. Bob Wilkinson says:

    Those who strive to do their best and work hard at improving our environment, like this Architect, deserve some respect. I thank him for his efforts in creating beautiful structures and speaking with us about what it means to him here and in the myriad of interviews and lectures he has given to so many that care. The work will only get better, and it will influence upcoming architects to strive for greater heights, just as Paolo inspired him. So, I say, “Thanks Mr. Bruder,” and to the critics, I quote another critic: “What have you ever built?”

  5. Will Novak says:

    I think its silly to imply that there can’t be such a thing as Architectural Criticism. Its an anti intellectual notion that shuts off conversation and fosters uninspired design.

    I generally like a lot of what Bruder does, as I noted. However I think most of his buildings exteriors are quite ugly, and I think most people would generally agree with that. As clever as the Central Library is, has anyone ever had their breath taken away by it as they crest over the bridge coming North on Central Ave? Its practical and efficient, but not beautiful.

  6. Bob Wilkinson says:

    I disagree. The library is beautiful.

    It is good to ask questions and offer your opinion, I’m NOT trying to stop you. Criticize away.

    Who is “most people”?

    It is a beautiful idea that a building has the ability take your breath away. Has any building moved you in such a way? Which?

  7. Will Novak says:

    Bob, ‘most people’ would be everyone I’ve ever asked or talked to. Again, I’m just talking about the outside of the Library, the inside with the “Crystal Canyon” and big picture windows out to the City is quite striking.

    Buildings that have more or less floored me upon viewing them:

    ~ Chrysler Tower, NYC
    ~ Marriott Custom House, Boston
    ~ Architecture School @ UofA, Tucson
    ~ 1st Christian Church, 7th ave, Phoenix
    ~ the old VNB in Tempe with the gold dome, probably the first building that ever interested me. We used to drive by it on our way to ASU games when I was a kid and I was enthralled by it.
    ~ Library Tower, LA
    ~ St Louis Gateway Arch (guess this may not count as a ‘building’
    ~ US National Capitol, Wash DC
    ~ Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philly
    ~ Phoenix Financial Center, PHX

    …and in the library category, I actually think some of the PHX branch libraries are much prettier and cooler than the Central. Particualarly the Cesar Chavez and Desert Broom branches are both quite striking.

    I don’t know that any building has ever literally taken my breath away, thats just an expression, but you get the idea.

    The closest I’ve been to literally having my breath taken away by Architecture was probably standing in Millenium Park in Chicago, teaming with people, looking up at the City. So it wasn’t one building, but the whole collection.


  8. mark lymer says:

    ‘architects saving the world’ puh-leeese. should have said “next question”…can’t believe he bit on that. altho not a horrible answer, even tho he really didnt answer the question. short answer – no. i mean is anyone going to listen to me talking about Monsanto and genetically modified corn being sold in Africa to force out the existing corn seed; or polar ice caps; because i’m an architect? nope. maybe as a concerned citizen, like anyone could-should be. and as far as buildings flooring me upon meeting; St. Peter’s, Notre Dame de Paris, top of Empire State Bldg -but that was a height thing; Grady Gammage as a kid, hearing the Phx Symphony play the first time – but that was place and activity; and those are the easy ones, hmmmm. and there are all the small examples everyday, just walking along streets, who needs to be floored? good enough just to enjoy small gestures that pile up to a better quality of life ea day. some nice brick work -a stamp in the concrete sidewalk -a good manhole cover design -a funky window display -a mural on the side of a building, not tagging -a skinny slot between two buildings leading where -bas relief sculptures on the elevations, that no one will pay for anymore, etc. that’s tough enough. and agree with Novak’s comments about siting and exterior relationships of Phx Pub Library -mystify me. do like the copper radiator, makes lots-o sense, besides just looking cool.

  9. […] week on Thursday Will Bruder won top honors at the 2011 Residential Architect Leadership Awards Luncheon held at the Biltmore […]

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