Architecture Couples


Having recently visited the works of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien (and having listened to them lecture about their professional and sometimes personal life), I got thinking about the dynamics of an architecture couple.

Is it healthy for your marriage/relationship? Do they make each other sleep on the couch for disagreeing on designs? Do they get.. creative? Will they drown their kids in Legos?

On that note, how many big-named couples can we come up with? I'll shoot off the obvious ones that come to mind:

  • Tod Williams + Billie Tsien
  • Ricardo Scofidio + Elizabeth Diller
  • Denise Scott Brown + Robert Venturi
  • Amale Andraos + Dan Wood
  • Laura Briggs + Jonathan Knowles

Anyone here who is married to or is dating a fellow architect that can chime in?

Mar 27, 14 10:34 am
Gruen & Mrs. Gruen.

We argue hard about design, but it does improve it. And if course, I'm always right, so that helps, lol.

Actually, we do very different things in the profession, so we don't overlap that much.
Mar 27, 14 9:06 pm  · 

Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo...

Mar 27, 14 9:51 pm  · 
Alien 8

Scogin + Elam

Brooks + Scarpa

Mar 27, 14 9:52 pm  · 

I read somewhere that architect-architect married couples have a sky-high divorce rate. But on the other hand, I know a few, and they all seem pretty happy together. Having said that, most of them seem to be like Mr. & Mrs. Gruen: doing very different things within architecture.

Mar 28, 14 5:54 am  · 
Tony Robins

Well theres the whole myth that any couple working together will get sick of each other. But from personal experience, I know that it can actually strengthen a relationship.

Mar 28, 14 8:20 am  · 

Marion Weiss + Michael Manfredi

Michael Meredith + Hillary Sample

Sheila O'Donnell + John Tuomey

Mar 28, 14 9:13 am  · 

you would say that tony robins

Mar 28, 14 9:53 am  · 
My wife and I work together, design together, have 3 kids that want nothing to do with architecture, and just celebrated 20 years of marriage. Not easy to do but I wouldn't change a thing.
Mar 28, 14 2:34 pm  · 
Mar 28, 14 3:01 pm  · 

I see an opportunity in here for an archinect dating site...

Mar 28, 14 4:21 pm  · 

a more interesting question is how do architecture couples come to be?

long hours at school together? 

instructor humps student?

long hours at work together?

principal architect cheats on partner with intern?

shared passion for a profession?

Mar 28, 14 4:21 pm  · 

chigurh.....Sad to say  I have seen all of them.  However on a good note both my better half and myself  are Architects.  Let me tell you she can pick a chicken bone clean like you have never seen when it comes to design.  I look at it as all for the better.  My comments on the other hand I try to encourage her to look at other options.  We have been doing it since 2000, and I don't regret a moment of it.  I guess were lucky!

Mar 28, 14 5:52 pm  · 

I have multiple personality disorder. Does that count as a couple? One usually wants to strangle the other.

Mar 28, 14 6:39 pm  · 

Are Couture and Rashid partners? It's never been clear to me.

Mrs(-to be)  bowling_ball is an architectural photographer who went through archi school. I love having a partner who understands my design talk and the need for occasional overtime, and I like it even better that we're in separate but related careers. 

Mar 28, 14 8:57 pm  · 

Here's the test: ask the kids of these magical duos how they are as parents.  I'd be more interested in that measurement than in any self-reporting.

Mar 28, 14 9:50 pm  · 

miles   male

milly  female

Mar 29, 14 10:14 am  · 

+1 citizen

Related: It is extremely common for the children of architects to not want to have anything whatsoever to do with architecture. Neither of my kids would touch it with a ten-foot cattle prod, even though my daughter actually has the unusual constellation of personality traits and talents that would make her exceptionally good at it.

Mar 30, 14 6:41 am  · 
Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos
Jan Kaplicky and Amanda Levete
Norman Foster and his first wife (who tragically died young)
Zaha and Patrik were a couple once if long ago
SHoP's Greg Pasquarelli and Kim Holden
Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas

Mrs empea is in the profession as well, even though we've both strayed away from its center you might say, in different directions. I would not stand for a day working together with my life partner. There are too many complex facets of working relationships including so many varying degrees of conflict that I would never want to bring home with me at night.
Mar 30, 14 8:41 am  · 

Jean Nouvel and Mia Hägg

They seem a little awkward in the ArchDaily interview:

Mar 30, 14 12:20 pm  · 


Mar 30, 14 7:16 pm  · 

Charles and Ray Eames, of course!

Mar 30, 14 10:51 pm  · 

Reiser & Umemoto

Apr 1, 15 9:28 am  · 

Phillip Johnson and David Whitney

Apr 2, 15 9:45 am  · 

my partner & I

we both agree that architecture should be a benevolent dictatorship -- one of us is in charge of any given project and has ultimate authority to give it direction

sometimes we have fundamental disagreements but we at least have a solid perspective on the other's design motives and critiques are helpful

biggest downside is that we have the same work stories to tell at the dinner table

Apr 2, 15 1:25 pm  · 


Those two are really adorable together actually. Even when they're fighting (architecturally, that is, I've never seen a personal fight between them that I was aware of), they're pretty cute about it. They tend to defer to each other about certain topics within a project—he defers to her about look and feel more, she defers to him about detailing and construction. 


Apr 2, 15 1:43 pm  · 

Nader and Monica (no longer)

Eric Howeler and Meejin Yoon

Sheila Kennedy and Frano Violich

Apr 2, 15 10:32 pm  · 

found the MIT student.

Apr 1, 20 5:11 pm  · 

My wife is a landscape designer, which is close enough that we can talk about design in the same language but different enough that we don't step on each other's toes.

Three of my exes are architects - two girlfriends from grad school and one from high school who coincidentally also went to arch school. I guess I have a type.

Apr 1, 20 5:14 pm  · 

Also just want to say I didn't bump this thread. A spam post did. That post is now gone (Thanks mods!)

Apr 2, 20 11:43 am  · 

My partner is also in architecture, we met in undergrad. Every single time we try to get help from one another with a design problem we end up arguing! She has a different design approach (and obviously believes its superior...) I suppose we won't be opening that joint firm anytime soon!

Apr 1, 20 6:39 pm  · 

proto + mrs.proto

we operate on a design tyrant model. we each offer assistance & criticism, but the design tyrant of any given project gets the final hard feelings

hardest thing is maybe just making sure we do other stuff untethered to get a break from each other

so far so good

Apr 2, 20 1:24 pm  · 

Tigerman / McCurry
Griffin Enright Architects
Thom and Blythe-Alison Mayne  (She's not an architect but is a long-time owner of the firm) 

Apr 2, 20 3:12 pm  · 

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