Peter Bohlin in deepest Pennsylvania and New York State, and was very impressed with his house projects and attitude toward design."/>

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Comments Posted 05.12.10 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Alexandra Lange

In Metropolis: The Visceralist


The Visceralist, my profile of 2010 AIA Gold Medal-winner Peter Bohlin (of Apple-tects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson) is now up on Metropolis magazine’s website, as well as in their May issue. I spent a day and a half with Bohlin in deepest Pennsylvania and New York State, and was very impressed with his house projects and attitude toward design. The Envelope House (2006), in Seattle, is shown above. His firm also designed three of the 18 projects selected for the 2010 AIA Housing Awards.

I ask Bohlin why he thinks he won the Gold Medal this year. “I think the whole culture has lost its bearing a bit,” he says. “I have a belief in the nature of things, in really solving things, and the ability to do it in a way that is quite visceral.” This sounded exactly right to me. BCJ’s new monograph, published this month by Rizzoli, includes short essays by Glenn Murcutt, Mack Scogin, Tod Williams, and Will Bruder. These are Bohlin’s colleagues: thoughtful people who are doing good work and have been doing so for some time; who have not courted the press, who are interested in materials, who have never turned their backs on modernism. They may all be better known than Bohlin, but it’s hard to argue that they have better practices. The AIA jury voted for longevity over spectacle. Bohlin thinks he was up against Thom Mayne and Adrian Smith: big names, big works. But a profession turning inward, correcting itself after the boom years, was looking to send a message by choosing something else. “Architecture has become a bit of a fashionable enterprise,” says Bernard Cywinski, Bohlin’s partner since the late 1970s and the head of the firm’s Philadelphia office. “Peter’s work is very fresh and very honest. It can be heroic when it has to be.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect's Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.
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BOOKS BY Alexandra Lange

Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities
Princeton Architectural Press, 2012

Design Research
Chronicle Books, 2010

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