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CreativeMornings July

Reading time: ~ 2 minutes

July’s theme was Space and the presenter, Brad Cloepfil, did not disappoint.

Brad Cloepfi founded Allied Works Architecture in 1994. His body of work is as informed by the land and the history of place as it is by formal training, and it is one that cuts a clear line through much of the infatuation with rhetoric and formal novelty surrounding the practice today. The approach to design combines a research-intensive focus on the specific character of each project with an understanding of the profoundly affecting possibilities of building. In addition to leading all aspects of creative work at Allied Works, Cloepfil has held guest professorships and given talks on the work throughout North America and Europe.

Brad discussed four ‘amplifiers’ with us, which although is actually the name of a specific project, can be used to describe all of his work.

“‘Amplifier’ is both a space and a mechanism created to concentrate visceral qualities and emotive perceptions.” – source

One of the things that is most noticeable during a presentation by Brad is his ‘quotability’. As described by a colleague of mine, “Brad is a rare creative-powerhouse” and his carefully crafted use of language is impressive. Even during this short presentation, it was easy to get absorbed into thoughts about the immediate topic, and lose track of the path that got you got there (which my notes reflect).

Brad asked: What can architecture address in a problem, that only architecture can answer? He said that architecture is an investigation of:


  • What can structure and form reveal about the landscape?

The Landscape

  • How can the structure be the bridge between the infinity of the landscape and the intimacy of a living or working space?

The Luminous

  • How can buildings be the bringer of light and how does light quality differ geographically?

The Perceptual

  • How to render a building as exclusive to the place as possible?

Construct-ability and Concept Art

Every incredible concept design presented by Brad “is conceived as a built entity”. “We have to innovate with in the budget” and explore the outer boundaries during the investigation. Completed buildings look twice as expensive as they are; a thorough investigation affords that. It’s important to reflect through out the creative investigation and concept design that “just because you can do it, should you?”

Beyond the Architecture

How much concern does Brad have regarding the internal fixtures and furniture within his buildings? “A lot.”

Furniture and fixtures are the bridge between the body perceiving the space, and building itself. The human body connects through the furniture, the furniture connect the building, and the building is connected to the landscape, creating a union that is perceived as one experience.

Brand Identity and Success

Brad does not believe in creating a brand identity with consumable imagery for Allied Works Architecture. The Allied Works brand is not relevant to projects that are created, but the Allied Works process and shared values of team that has “grown up together” are reflected in the output, not a logo or marketing identify. He says the most important constant over the years that have lead to to his success is having “time to think”.

I am not an architecture geek, but I do appreciate great design and perspectives on the creative process. This CreativeMorning was very inspirational and provided insight about how an architecture project is the output of a thoughtful and focused thoughtful investigation, incorporating concerns I never thought to question.

Next month’s event is on Friday, August 23 and features Katrina Scotto di Carlo, the theme is Urbanism. Put it on your calendar now, I look forward to seeing you there!

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