_Richard Anderson [ra]: I was born in 1961 in East Hartford, Connecticut, USA. When I was very young, I knew I wanted to be an architect. Now, I would rather be working in my wood shop.
Question 1: What was your first job after graduating?
_ra: I received my bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati, well known for its cooperative education practice program. Because of that, my first job out of school was a continuation of the last job I had in the co-op program. My first co-op job was in Indianapolis, Indiana at a large A/E office. The experience is strong in my memory, and included work on mobilization documents for the US Army. We designed such things as tank washes (yes, like a car wash, but for tanks) and POW camp guard towers. The set of documents was hundreds of sheets.
Question 2: Why should clients in any case work together with an architect?
_ra: Oddly enough, I do not believe that clients should work in *any* case but maybe something is lost in this translation. I won’t fault anyone for wanting to design and build their own home. Good communication is the key to any successful client-architect relationship and I have seen, as a third-party, when the fit can be wrong. When the communication is works, I believe a client will find an architect enlivens their wishes in ways that they could never had imagined.
Richard is right. Here, the translation is not correct. From the next interview, it will „every case“ instead of „any case“. Thanks Richard for the helping hand at the translation.
Question 3: How would you describe your architectural style?
Question 4: Which book or film has impressed you in the last time?
_ra: I have a four year old boy — my mind turns to mush when I think about this question. Just yesterday I watched „In the Shadow of the Moon“ with him. Like he, I can watch that film scores of times and not tire of it.
Question 5: Who are your role models and why?
_ra: It sounds absurd when I try to express it but I think my role models are everyone I meet. I know I do not always succeed but I look to emulate the best characteristics of people I meet and know. At the same time, I cringe when I see myself behaving in a manner which I know to be offensive or counterproductive. And yes, that has everything to do with architecture which would not exist if not for working with others.
Question 6: Is the client king or should he be guided to his luck by an architect?
_ra: Both of those positions are a recipe for failure. And as much as quality skills are required of an architect for a successful project, a bad client will likely result in a bad project.
Question 7: Which subject in course of studies best prepared you for your profession?
_ra: None. Or all.
Question 8: From Paul Valéry comes the term „architecture is music made in stone.“ What referees to the question, what music you’re currently happy to hear?
_ra: I was at a funeral service two days ago and I was struck, once again, at how powerfully music stirs me but I’ll just add the words of my brother-in-law who once asked me, „How is it that you came to be listening to young people’s music?“
Question 9: Which building would you like to design and why?
_ra: I would like to design a house for my father … because he has no interest in me doing so.
Question 10: Architecture is … ?
_ra: …often misunderstood. Even, it appears, by architects.
And finally, question 11: What question would you like to ask and whom?
_ra: I’d like to ask my son, when he is grown, if I was a father as good-as-any but better-than-some.
I am glad to have you as an non-german speaking architect on my magazine. So I take the opportunity to ask you a few more questions interesting for me and others. How to become an architect in your country?
_ra: It is worth noting that in the United States, registration is done on a per state basis. We have no „national“ registration. Registration is through an accredited degree plus experience plus an examination. When I took the exam, it was a once-per-year four day marathon — including one session which lasted 12 hours. Now, it is taken bit by bit at testing centers, at different times throughout year. The camaraderie and energy of that test was amazing. Architects could once sit for the exam without having a university degree — making up for it with experience — but, to my knowledge, this is no longer the case.
In germany you have to be a member of the architectural chamber to call yourself an architect. Is there any comparable in your country?
_ra: A license is required in the United States to call yourself an architect. A great deal of grumbling is heard because other professions also use the word. We do have a professional association but membership is not required.
What about the current market situation in your place?
_ra: I’m not in a position to describe it well.
Are there any special architectual conditions in the US?
_ra: The biggest struggle for any architect working in the United States is coming to terms with a greater volume of construction dollars being spent on things which do not, as my wife likes to say, „leave things better than they were“.
Thank you Mr. Anderson
BArch, MArch Richard Anderson