“Homegrown” Creates Less by Using More of What’s Around

The name of Katie MacDonald and Kyle Schumann’s firm After Architecture suggests architecture’s demise, which is probably an unwelcome prospect for many architects. The name also suggests that architects might collectively be able to choose their fate, for what comes after. For Le Corbusier, the choice was architecture or revolution. For Mies van der Rohe, the choice was between less or more. For Venturi, it was also between less or more (more or less). What comes after architecture, then? A both/and plurality of architecture and whatever it isn’t. Obviously. (Venturi would approve.)

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Q+A: Donald Lococo on Market Volatility and Sustainability

Washington, DC-based architect Donald Lococo, AIA, is the founder and principal of Donald Lococo Architects, an award winning residential firm on the front lines of a post-pandemic economy rife with supply chain and labor challenges, as well as a local real estate market ablaze with low inventory and fever-pitch prices. By focusing on current work, Lococo has been weathering the volatility, and by pausing to reflect, he’s been mapping a path forward for new work with an emphasis on sustainability.

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ARCHITECTUREFIRM’s Three Hills House is a Meditation on Simplicity in Cedar

Three Hills House occupies the middle hilltop of the eponymous triad, positioned squarely in a glade’s clearing. The approach to the 5,000 square-foot Fredericksburg by car circumnavigates the hill until it sharply turns into the entry path that takes us directly to the heart of the home, in a procession reminiscent of Aline Barnsdall’s 1922 Hollyhock House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Three Hills, designed by Richmond- and Brooklyn-based ARCHITECTUREFIRM, is subtler than Hollyhock, however, in its nod to the Mayan Revival of a century ago. There are no abstracted flowers in high relief, no images of the rain god Chac seen at Uxmal, and no stone serpents — just an unadorned frieze that makes the home appear a little grander than the term “one story” suggests.

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Reader & Swartz’s Crooked Bow Tie is Dressed Up Down Home

photograph of the exterior of Reader & Swartz's award winning Crooked Bow Tie House
“You have to know when to shout and know when to be quiet with your design, because there’s always a context to respond to,” says Chuck Swartz, FAIA. Photography: Nathan Webb, AIA, Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C.

Bow ties are still worn today, but not as popularly as they were two generations ago. For architects, bow ties have always been sartorial and functional — the less fabric dangling over your mayline, the better. Beyond fashion (and architecture), bow ties can signal class, disposition, vocation, and political allegiance. Bill Nye and Tucker Carlson are both passionate devotees, as were Karl Marx and Groucho Marx. Wearers spark uncommonly strong reactions by non-wearers, from endearment to hostility. One New York Times correspondent called the bow tie a “red flag that comes in many colors,” while one Virginian-Pilot correspondent concluded that, “bow tie wearers are not like the rest of us.”  Pre-tied and self-tied divide wearers, as do different styles such as the butterfly, the batwing, and the diamond point.

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