Interview with ARO's Stephen Cassell on starting up the practice.

"We are an office that early on said ‘no’ a lot. We figured it was going to work out one way or another. You end up getting more of what you do. If you do one thing, you are going to get more of those things. If you do one more ‘crank it out project’, you get more ‘crank it out projects.’ You need to be pretty careful in the first years about what you take. It was because we do such a diverse set of projects, which for a long time was really hard. We didn’t want to just do rich people’s lofts. We were always trying to expand. It meant we didn’t have just one thing to show in our portfolio. " - Stephen Cassell (Architecture Research Office)

Read the full interview

In the Fall of 2013, I sat down with Gregg Pasquarelli (SHoP), Brad Cloepfil (Allied Works), Paul Lewis (Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects), Dan Wood (Work.AC), and Stephen Cassell (Architecture Research Office). I wanted to understand and document how each of them formed their respective offices. I was after the nitty gritty details not typically published in the glossy magazines. I was looking for the hard times, the struggle, and the projects that were never published, but paid the bills. This interview is the final part of a series of 5 posts that will go through each of these architects and discuss the these topics. 

I have enjoyed reading the feedback I received from the previous posts. I currently plan to continue these types of interviews and discussions in the coming months with prominent and successful architects in the New York City area based on some of the further questions I received and things that tI have learned in the process. Should you have any suggestions for practitioners to interview, or more real questions you want asked, do let me know. 

Nov 8, 14 8:41 pm

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Glad to hear you'll continue the series James; they've been interesting insights on how people make this work.

Other NYC practitioners I'd be curious to read about:

Bjarke Ingels - he changed directions a lot before his recent success - curious to hear his thoughts on starting out and working internationally as a start-up.

Joshua Prince Ramus - Particularly interested to know what he thinks about going into independent practice after achieving note within an interesting office. Would he recommend it?

Thomas Phifer - never hear anything about him, I like the office's work

Annabelle Selldorf, Deborah Berke - Lots of talk lately about the lack of female architects, would be interesting to hear their take on the issue as successful + established practitioners. And they both do nice work.

Peter Gluck - older generation, but early example of design+build practice which seems like a topic with lots of interest now.

Nov 10, 14 4:01 am
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Thanks for your posts. Have you all been following the Shitty Architecture Men list? Just interesting how 4 of the famous architects named here are on the list (not a 100% positive indicator of their guilt, but still). Any thoughts 

Apr 22, 18 3:20 am

Yes and No. Too busy "architect"-ing a virtual city (just to annoy you all and at the same time annoy those of you who get annoyed with people using the noun "architect" in a verb form by adding -ing to it), building design, wrapping up last course in historic preservation program at the college here completing one goal for 2018 all the while being a total pain in the ass SUPER-troll. Just not Presidential TWIT on Twitter or Presidential Donny Dickhead "The John" Asshole Trump.


Thanks for resurrecting this thread, going to read James' interviews now.

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Sorry @whistleblower , I was unaware that 4 of these guys turned out to be on the list. I asked them about how they started their firm based on their accomplishments at the time (2013) and not any current allegations.


Come on Archinect, isn't explicitly stating that one's intent is "being a total pain in the ass SUPER-troll" enough to get them banned?


Nah. Twitter didn't ban Super-TWIT Donny Trump.


Sorry but in my experience "thanks" to one blower of whistles this is more and more turning into some McCarthyist blacklisting, I am starting to feel totally fed up about it and any mentioning of that list makes me hurl for the wrong reasons. I should be only disgusted with the alleged sexual misconduct but what I am most disgusted with now is the tactics being used here. I don't know if that was all planned and intentional, but if so congratulations, "well done", I never ever thought that would be even remotely possible, but hey anyone can put anyone and anything on a shitty list right? "Don't believe the hype"...Innocent people end up in Guantanamo for years for wearing a simple black Casio watch, so I guess anything is possible. Anyway, there can be no justice on stolen land, Woop! Woop!

I've continued more interviews but with a slightly different slant, architects who develop their own work. Similar interview structure with more to come: http://architectanddeveloper.c...

Apr 23, 18 12:19 pm

Thank you James, that's very interesting to know. Thanks for the link to the interview structure! Who do you plan to interview next?


Richard Meier has some room in his schedule as of recently.


I would recommend you interview Architizer co-Founder, who's the son of a developer. He's super sweet, also. 

Apr 24, 18 4:17 am

Ah yes, the brother of Trump's son in law...


In-laws....ppl in Newfoundland have a term for it, "Mother-in-Law door."


LOL rdmsd true. 

Apr 24, 18 4:18 am

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