Aileen Kwun and Bryn Smith’s newly released book Twenty Over Eighty: Conversations on a Lifetime in Architecture and Design is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge from a group of architects who have seen it all.
Kwun and Smith’s premise was simple: Sit down with 20 key figures in the profession over the age of 80, and be treated to a series of architectural anecdotes and words of wisdom for designers. The resulting compendium of interviews makes for essential reading — there are some outrageously outspoken gems sprinkled throughout — and will undoubtedly become a staple addition to bookshelves in architecture schools around the world.
One of the most inspiring voices to have been transcribed by Kwun and Smith is surely that of architect Phyllis Lambert, famous for founding the Canadian Centre for Architecture and for bringing a certain Mies van der Rohe on board to design the iconic Seagram Building in New York City. Here are 9 of the best soundbites from her chapter — read on for some true pearls …
1. On brilliant buildings:
2. On striving for the best:
3. On place-making:
4. On architectural activism:
5. On a new age for architects:
6. On engineering and art:
7. On comfort conditions:
8. On professional passion:
9. On priorities:
For more from Lambert and 19 more giants of architecture and the built environment, you can purchase Twenty Over Eighty here.
Top image: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Phyllis Lambert with the model for the Seagram Building, New York (1955); © Fonds Phyllis Lambert