Residential Design

VOL1 2019

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Page 27 of 75

Turn in the Road By the end of the '80s, I was growing concerned with the derivative formula driving each project. It seemed I bare- ly considered the essential elements of design that were so important back in school and in the offices I had worked at previously. I began to retrace my steps and also hit the books: Mies, Louis Kahn, and the work of midcentury masters Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra. Reinvigorated, I was looking for a project to apply my current ideas and again change direction. A New Path While I was returning to the basics of modern critical design criteria (site, program, resource, spatial relationships, and so forth), the Long Island suburban architectural community around my Port Washington office had evolved from post- modernism to neo this and neo that. With designers having no formal training in classical architecture, most of what was being built was compromised. I felt I was on the right path and avoided the "McMansion craze." Since then, our current practice still approaches each project by applying the same fundamentals and incorporating sustainability, resiliency, and, yes, "richness of meaning" and the occasional "touch of humor"—hat tip to Mr. Venturi. During my time in Mr. Rudolph's office and while de- veloping my thesis, a group of us set out on a pilgrimage to Scottsdale, Arizona, to meet Paolo Soleri and experience his visionary desert city, Arcosanti, and to see Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's winter retreat. These visits had a great impact on my thinking and ultimately on the design of my thesis, which was an organic and visionary scheme to redesign the center of Flushing, New York, my hometown. Upon graduation, I contacted Mr. Rudolph to see if I could return to his office, but he had very little work so he was unable to accommodate me. That summer I visited and applied for positions with many of the architects I had met while on the lec- ture committee. Eventually, I secured a drafting position with a small design firm on Long Island, where I spent four years. While there, I was mostly designing white minimalist alterations and additions to post-World War II housing boom ranches on Long Island's "Gold Coast," along with some new homes. I enjoyed the work I was doing and focused on refining my skills. I became interested in more sustainable ideas and studied the work of architects Luis Barragán and Emilio Ambasz, as well as a few local early green thinkers such as Malcolm Wells, William Morgan, and John Johansen. Fork in the Road I offer the details of my early experience and influences as a way of expressing the dichotomous situation I found myself in at the start of my private practice. In 1983, I secured my first private commis- sion: an alteration to an Upper East Side town- house. As I was developing the parti for the design, I struggled with two distinct approaches: a minimal intervention like the ones I had designed on Long Island, or a historically in- fluenced (Venturi harking) approach. I veered and took the Venturi way. I have since come to believe the ideas and vision of post- modernism were brewing within me, or perhaps it was just time for a change. The project was a great success and lead to a string of similar-themed projects. Top: Bryskin alteration, 1983. Above: Ennis Residence, 1986 Above: The Fried Residence, 1989 Stuart Narofsky, FAIA, is past chair of CRAN and former president of AIA Long Island, He and his partner and wife, Jennifer Rusch, oversee a boutique design studio in Long Island City, New York. Left to right: The Doshi Residence, 2005; the Klaynberg Residence, 2017 28 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM VOL. 1, 2019 AIA CRAN

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