OCTOBER 15, 2012

Furman + Keil Architects. from Austin, TX

What’s your favorite building in Austin? 
The un-built parts: the hike-and-bike trail, Barton Springs, etc. These amenities serve as a natural urban infrastructure that connects and catalyzes the built environment around them.

What culture and design influences have the other cities you’ve lived in had on you? 
The architecture of Miami Beach in large part is expressive of a culture of luxury and excess. The extravagant pool decks and flowing, white curtains made famous by Morris Lapidus and Philippe Stark are ubiquitous, and this “tropical modernism” aesthetic makes perfect sense in that context. There is something appealing about a culture that demands pure, white forms and clean, crisp lines as a point of departure.

How do you think Austin is influencing your design thinking? 
The convergence in Austin between “vintage” and “contemporary” gives rise to an aesthetic culture that is exciting to be a part of. There is an affinity for rural vernacular forms and historic brick buildings that romanticize the past, yet there is a very clear desire to embrace technology and ideas about the future as expressed through architecture. This duality provides a great opportunity to explore new ideas and materials while staying grounded in context and memory.

What are you doing now to shape Austin, both in the office and outside of work? 
Sustainability has long been a priority for me. Austin is very responsive to the green building movement, and there are great resources here for discussing new building systems and best practices. By bringing this conversation back into the office and infusing this knowledge into our work, the buildings we design can participate in the ongoing conversation regarding Austin’s green future.

What is the most positive sign you see about the future of architecture and design in Austin? 
I love driving through the neighborhoods of South Austin or the East Side and seeing some of the crazy stuff people do architecturally. Folks are fearless here, and that spirit of self-expression carries through the character of the city.