Joshua Prince-Ramus


What's up with this guy? He totally defies the demographic of a typical successful architect--35 and running the US arm of OMA!? People in my grad studio are that age.

Anyone read the feature in FastCompany (power of design issue) on him? Strange that he took the full page spread but the article was all about his little ringer, "Architecture is not created by individuals."

Typical success story, I guess, though--double ivy educated olympic athlete.

Jul 18, 05 8:41 am
brian buchalski

ramus may seem young, but isn't that typical of rem's office.

in other words, doesn't rem surround himself with young people, i.e., isn't he the only one over the age of forty? ostensibly the idea is to use the quantity of youthful talent to generate a large number of ideas so that the best can emerge as the design?

the question is, does rem sends his young colleagues elsewhere after they reach a certain age? it kind of reminds me of that old horror movie of a town filled with children where they killed everyone before they reached the age of eighteen.

Jul 18, 05 9:33 am

I have heard some stories, not sure at all if they are true, that part of the reason the youngins who got to run the US office was because they fronted a big chunk of money to start the office....just what I have heard.

Jul 18, 05 10:06 am

Really? Where did that info come from?

Jul 18, 05 10:09 am

just nyc architecting sewing circles, don't even remember specifically

Jul 18, 05 10:57 am

hmm...any reason to think it's truth and not envy?

Jul 18, 05 1:15 pm

petey's theory may be more true than most fields, to be partner not only means being one of the bosses, but also means "business partner" as well. in my firm, one can't be a partner unless they a) buy into the corporation, and b) bring at least one new client to the firm. age typically has nothing to do with it, and unfortunately, nor does talent/intelligence.

Jul 18, 05 1:34 pm

So typical IVY story--leaves school and has a running trust-fund-backed start in the career, like trump or anyone else?

Jul 18, 05 1:51 pm

i would say that it does take talent/intelligence to be a partner or should i say remain a partner. to continually bring work, and good work at that, into a office, and guide the design process in a successful way is not easy.

Jul 18, 05 1:53 pm

yes, but given two people, one less qualified and more wealthy, one more qualified and less wealthy, who gets the job?

I suppose that it's a question of investment--if the marginal ability of the less wealthy candidate is of more financial value than the wealthy candidate's investment, then it's worth it, otherwise, not.

I'd just really like to know if that was the case with US OMA and this young guy.

Jul 18, 05 2:07 pm

it depends. if the one who is more qualified and has less wealth can bring more and better suited jobs for the firm into the office, that person will get the job over the person who is less qualified with more wealth and who brings fewer and less relevant clients to the firm.

we all know money can open many doors, but it can't open all doors by itself. you still need to be smart and have some talent.

Jul 18, 05 2:18 pm


let's not start the semantics game

the talent you speak of is simply a relative term. i was referring to talent/intelligence in terms of design/construction, not to one's business savvy. while both are necessary to run a successful firm, they aren't always possessed by all the partners.
and i would say that in most situations you are correct, that the more desirable partner would be one who could bring more clients, but one's ablilty to brign in clients might not be related to their skill, but perhaps because they come from a powerful/wealthy/connected family. .....i'm just saying.....

but also, OMA went through a period in the 90's where they were owned by venture capitalists, in other words, they belonged to a parent company because the partners had to sell the company to survive financially. they were able to buy the company back a few years ago, and i'm just suggesting that perhaps it was some of Ramus' money that made that possible. i don't know for sure, all i was saying was that it would not be unheard of, nor surprising....again it has only been supported by rumor.

Jul 18, 05 2:56 pm

sorry, my intention was not to get into a semantics game but to only acknowledge what ramus stated >> "Architecture is not created by individuals."

it takes many well qualified, intelligent ppl with diverse backgrounds working towards a common goal. all ppl are just as important in my mind.

Jul 18, 05 3:50 pm


Jul 18, 05 4:08 pm

josh is an intelligent and great guy in general. have a drink with him and you'll most likely agree. "prince"-josh whatever -- he's much more humble than that, and better for it.

Jul 18, 05 5:09 pm

I have read in a couple of places that the Seattle Library was mostly designed and carried through by Ramus. That feat alone, in my mind, proves his immense worth as a designer. How much money he has and where he went to school have no place in a discussion regarding the validity of his position at OMA.

Jul 18, 05 5:18 pm

it is simply a curiosity. the interest is in the fact that it is uncommon for people in the field of architecture to see that much success at that age--then, someone brought up that perhaps he had money, which helped him into his current position.

drinks would be lovely, in either scenario.

Jul 18, 05 5:55 pm


i completely agree....i think Ramus is certainly a gifted architect, but five is right, such success at such a young age will stir curiosity in any industry (except sports and entertainment)
if only we were all that fortunate....

Jul 18, 05 6:20 pm

yeah, if you were that lucky, your career in sports would be over by the time you hit ramus' age. instead, it's just beginning.

Jul 18, 05 6:29 pm

As he tells the story, he was given leadership on the seattle library because the office had too much going on and there was no one else to do it. Reading the entries reveals the persistent culture of complaint and general pejorative perspectives of architects. Who cares what office he runs or how he got there? Can we just for a second have some respect for a man who in our hearts wed all like to be. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak, and he stood there giving his lecture draped in prada and expanding on material in the audaciously articulate manner expected from an OMA representative. He commanded the room and controlled the discussion panel like only could be expected from Rem himself. That what happens when you have something to say. Maybe he is an exception and maybe is was fortunate, but we all can be him, well i guess maybe not if youre 36. Lets all be less negative/critical and focus on our other stereotypes....
using big words and having an ago. those will get you further!

Jul 18, 05 7:49 pm

Dear Friends,

It pretty much holds true that to become a full partner in any enterprise, one needs to bring in business. This is also true of law firms and just about any professional endeavor. In fact, you are not really a full partner with Jesus in heaven until you have managed to bring in some more clients! That is why it is not only so important to be a great believer in God, but also to be a great preacher of his word.

At any rate, this Joshua Prince Ramus sounds dreamy! And at 35 he is even younger than Brad Pitt (who is not yet a partner with Gehry, mind you). Maybe Joshua will go outside and make out with me!...sigh

With Love!


Jul 18, 05 10:15 pm

yeh, how can it be that he is so young ?? Ole Scheeren, OMA's man for the CCTV looks like he is in his mid 60's.


Jul 18, 05 10:26 pm

from first-hand experience, joshua has flat out earned every bit of his current recognition. even in grad school, it was very apparent that he would be successful in whatever he wanted to do.

gifted? hmmm... i wouldn't say he's the most gifted architect, at least in school. he has incredible perseverance, a god like work ethic (you try qualifying for the olympics in the middle of grad school), and makes the most of the opportunities that he has created.

no idea about family money - it just never came up in conversation. and why would it matter? he's there. he has the leadership, sales, and management skills. if you know him, it's absolutely no surprise he is where he is. he is, as noted above, very down to earth and a great person to 'have a drink with'. kudos to him (the fast company article was too much fluff - the metropolis article about the library was much more revealing).

Jul 18, 05 10:58 pm

josh indeed is a pretty cool guy. though he had his job-market sights set squarely on several famous architects while in grad school; and after he didn't get rem for studio, he basically moved to rotterdam and hung out there until rem gave him a job -- the rest is history...

Jul 19, 05 12:06 am

Is he also able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? And cure the sick? I thought that he might actually be made of solid gold but then I remembered it would be hard to qualify for the Olympics that way.

Sorry, not trying to be trite but I'm a firm believer in the "flaws make people more interesting" theory. He sounds great and all, but surely there's something wrong with him. ???

Jul 19, 05 12:43 am

sure he has flaws - but why do you need to know about them? to prove something to yourself? we're not writing a biography here...

maybe someone else will pick that part up, though not i.

Jul 19, 05 7:50 am

g-love, bothands,

did you both graduate with him?

no one is denying any of his abilities, but certainly you'll concede that there have to be more than one extremely talented and gifted architects of 35, but none of those typically sees success at JPR's level until their 50's--am I not mistaken in this stereotype about our profession? that's the basis for this whole discussion, and surely, the question of flaws only comes up in considering whether we are as qualified as him. no need at all for defense.

however, if it comes to light that he has gifts x and y, and flaw z, and so do we, but he is in his position with the help of a trust fund, it makes this a very different story--then it would be that there is a qualification that we do not have, and, again, there is the interest: accurate comparison

Jul 19, 05 8:25 am
David Cuthbert

I think we are looking at this wrong. We recognize the talent that Ramus has but the reason for his opportunity to show his talent has to do with the kind of firm OMA is. No practice of that size is handing over the keys to a 35 yo, its just not happening - you are often expected to pay your dues. That said there are lots of other talented folk out there, but the practices are fairly small.

Jul 19, 05 8:36 am

Hey, Tim Johnson was(is) a partner @ NBBJ @ 30-31- It's all about the office dynamic- If you've got talent; are a team player; make your Boss look good; save his ass a few times; have an understanding that you will continue to save his ass; bring in a client or two and leverage it; you too can be a young, hip, hot-shit partner at a well-known firm.

Jul 19, 05 9:10 am

"...Don't Hate- Congratulate...!"

Jul 19, 05 9:12 am
brian buchalski

i agree with jam-arch in that i feel this has as much to do with the culture of the firm as it has to do with ramus (which i think i pointed out in my first post).

Jul 19, 05 9:14 am

NNNJ is more of a design firm, no?

Jul 19, 05 9:16 am


Jul 19, 05 9:28 am

sorry, NBBJ

Jul 19, 05 10:36 am

five, get over the "accurate comparison" and whether he has a trust fund or not. we are all dealt different cards in life so an "accurate comparison" is not possible. make the most of what you have and most importanly work your ass off to achieve what you are passionate about. the rest will work itself out.

Jul 19, 05 10:44 am

can someone correct me if I'm wrong...but I'm under the impression that Ole Scheeren, another OMA partner, is somewhere around JPR's age and he is in charge of OMA's largest project ever (CCTV). Here he is with RK at the star-studded Prada Beverly Hills opening:

My point is, five, that it's not a rare phenom at OMA.

Jul 19, 05 10:45 am

Yes, I suppose that's right--OMA, then is a point of interest.

relax, friend. If joe makes a million on wall street and started with ten million, and tom makes a million and started with dick, then is more interesting to me--that's the issue. damn. this has nothing really to do with me at all, except the tale would be more inspiring without the trust fund.

Jul 19, 05 10:51 am

that is, "then TOM is more interesting to me"

Jul 19, 05 10:51 am
(IN) Theory

I've got one image to say about all this...

that's right these two guys get the BIG paris hilton!

Jul 19, 05 11:42 am

Dan Wood is 30 something and was a partner at Oma and in charge of the new-york office before he left to start WORK-AC

i saw him talk and my girlfriend had him as a guest critic and he too seemed like a really smart and down to earth guy...

Jul 19, 05 12:15 pm

five-back to your original post-there is no one dam- person in your studio that is 35! you just think we are old-compared to you!!! take it back.

Jul 19, 05 12:25 pm

jetcetera....Are you really seriously going to put out the comparison of NBBJ to OMA?

Jul 19, 05 1:02 pm

pretty close, tiny; pretty close.

Jul 19, 05 1:24 pm

why are there so many defensive posts in this thread? one ever said Ramus didn't deserve what he has, nor has anyone tried to discredit him in any way. people are curious creatures by nature.....there isn't one person (architects especially) on this site who can tell me that they have never wondered about ANYONE else and the what, why, and how of their status (whatever it may be)

it is perfectly acceptable for someone, especially when beginning their own career, to wonder how certain people got to where they are......if nothing else to try to accomplish similar goals everyone please relax, and if you can't help answer five's original question, then the least you can do is not criticize him for asking it.

Jul 19, 05 2:09 pm
Will Prince

there is so much misinformation here it's disturbing . . .

Instead of addressing any of this . . . Josh is a great guy, with an almost monastic dedication to his work. He deserves all the sucess he has gotten, he earned every bit of it. And there was NO trust fund behind just a lot of student loans.

Jul 19, 05 2:23 pm
Will Prince

also, in Javier posted photo from the Beverly Hills opening, thats Rem's son not Ole.

Jul 19, 05 2:27 pm

i think this post was not directed to Joshua Ramus anyways. It is using him as an example to question what actually leads to a faster success in architecture. In other words, does some added $$$ lead to an accelerated success in architecture??? More like a critique of the ways of our profession than Joshua Ramus, or OMA.

But with all sources suggesting contradictory information, i guess we will never know the actual situation.

Jul 19, 05 4:03 pm

thanks for the info, Will...
who's the mom?

Jul 19, 05 4:25 pm
(IN) Theory

the work of the cult of rem, no doubt

Jul 19, 05 4:26 pm
(IN) Theory

that's even funnier....

whose the mom!

Jul 19, 05 4:27 pm

well said, sameol', cynic.

again, will, it's not about great or not great. since you seem to know him intimately, I thank you for your candid information about there being no personal investment. I'm glad to put an end to that ambiguity.

Jul 19, 05 4:29 pm

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