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Professional Practice
 
Architects, how did you make it?
    When people would ask me, in front of my parents, what I wanted to do, I usually said, "I want to be a painter; I want to be an artist." My mother took me aside -- I was probably five or six years old -- and said, "My son, if you're not as good as Picasso, you'll surely starve, so maybe you should use your ability in a profession." And I said, "What would that be?" And she said, "Engineering or architecture." After she explained what an engineer does, I said, "Well then, I'm going to be an architect."

    "But I haven't told you what an architect does," she said. "It doesn't matter," I said. "I'm not going to be an engineer." Anyway, she did explain it, and I thought it was just the most marvelous thing I could imagine.

    Also, I think a little pat on the back was important to me. My high school entered a competition and most of it was about mechanical drawing, but one part of it was a free hand category. I had drawn the side of Parthenon, and I won the first place and got a drawing set -- a mechanical drawing set -- and I thought to myself, well, if I'm the best in the state doing this, then maybe this is all right. And it gave me a little confidence. I can't tell you how important that was as a kid to be patted on the back.

That boy turned to be Michael Graves, the famous American architect. This is the end of the story.

Can you tell us the story of yourself and how you made it? Can you tell us the story of other architects and the influence of parents and teachers to walk through the right way? Is architecture the right way?

Note: source of M.G.'s story (How I made it) is the Architectural Record magazine, issue No. 05-2001, page 66.

Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Responses
 
Architects, how did you make it?
I had never heard the words architect or architecture, even I had college educated parents. Only by accident, did I become aware of what the word architect means. As a child and through high school I liked to draw and make models, but little boys did not take drawing, they took auto mechanics, and girls took art, there was a stigma attached to drawings, so I was never allowed to do the things that I really enjoyed, like drawing. I attended the university to study chemistry, because my father was a chemist and did well at it. In the residence that I stayed, the head of the dormitory just happen to be an architecture student, I saw him drawing and making models and I asked him " can you do this in college?" he answered, "of course". He was doing all the things that I loved to do. I was doing miserably in chemistry, so when I went home during spring vacation, I told my parents that I wanted to be an architect. My father said "This must be a trick you only want to get out of being a chemist". When I returned to school, I went to see the dean of architecture. He informed me that I must pass all my present courses first. I thought how will I do this since I was doing poorly in chemistry. But the thought of becoming an architect gave me enormous encouragement to pass, and I have never looked back.

It was really quite an amazing story. Who is that boy who turned to be a well known architect?
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
The architect is:
Peter Eisenman.

Source of the story:
Dialogues and interviews with masters of contemporary architecture, by Zak Ghanim, Alam Al Bena'a magazine, issue no. 174, page 6.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
When I was about thirteen years old, I told my father I wanted to be a farmer. He lied and said "There are no Jewish farmers." He was a lawyer and -- being Jewish -- wanted his son to be a professional. Then, I told him I wanted to be a writer and he was against that also because his half-brother died 'in the gutter' because he couldn't make a living as a writer. So, my father went through a list of acceptable careers and when he mentioned 'architect'. I knew then that's what I wanted to be.

He concluded by saying: Be an architect first (implying I could earn a living as an architect), then be a writer.

In fact, that's what I've done and now I happily do both, maintaining an office (http://www.jladesign.com) and I write fiction and non-fiction. For the last forty years I've been researching and writing a book called the Daring Diagonal about the history of Diagonality. I also wrote a novel (yet to be published) -- a love story on many levels about a Muslim man taken prisoner by the Serbs and what happens to him after his escape. My wife and I 'adopted' a Muslim woman who is now a dentist. She is also married to a Serb. I'm a secular Jew, my wife is barely Christian, our 'adopted' daughter is Muslim and her husband is Christian Orthodox. So we're all World Citizens you might say -- as we all should be.

My personal design philosophy in both architecture and interior design is something I call Creative Accommodation.

Anyway, follow your dreams. If architecture is what you love -- do it! I flunked almost every math course I took at least once; so don't let that course hold you back. Good luck!!

Joel Levinson AIA
Joel Levinson
Architects, how did you make it?
Mr. Levinson has been the project designer of almost every project that has been produced by the firm in its 33 year history. He takes an active role in programming, client relations, and construction documentation supervision.

Mr. Levinson also is chief designer in the Interior Design division and oversees the firm's research work.

Works have been published in national and international professional journals including Progressive Architecture; Architecture and Urbanism; Global Architecture; Japan Architect; and Building Stone Magazine; Steel Institute Journal; Philadelphia Magazine; and AIA Journal. His work has also been profiled in several books including Architecture in Philadelphia; Encyclopedia of Energy-Efficient Building Designs; A Guide to Contemporary American Architecture; Rizzoli International's High Access Home.

Education:
Bachelor of Architecture, 1963
University of Pennsylvania, School of Fine Arts.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
"I decided to become an architect when I was four and a half years old. I almost died and I was good at making airplanes, and one day it landed on a stove, and it caught fire and I tried to get the plane. While I was in bed recovering for almost eight months, I used to watch the workmen at the addition that was going up across the street and every now and then, I would see this man with blueprints. I thought I would like to be a person who thinks about buildings, and later I found out that this person was called an Architect.
I was about eight when my father took me in West Minister in Vancouver to see Chinatown, and I thought someone must think about the citie, and I wanted to be that too, later I found this was called an Urban Planner.
When I was twelve during the World War 2 I was put into the camps in Canada, because I was Japanese".
Who is he?
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
Raymond Moriyama, is a hero to many Canadians. His stories of being interned during the Second World War because of his Japanese heritage and his rise to become one of Canada's most respected architects continue to inspire. As described by architectural critic Trevor Boddy: "These early challenges gave him a strong character coupled with sensitivity, qualities that have come through in his architecture."
Born in Vancouver, Ray received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Toronto and Masters of Architecture degree in Civic and Town Planning from McGill University. He is a member of the Ontario Association of Architects and the Canadian Institute of Planners, a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
Source:www.mtarch.com
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
He was born in Wisconsin in 1867. His mother was a teacher and she encouraged him to learn about art, music, and nature. When he was nine, his mother gave him a set of Froebel blocks, a children's learning toy. Through the blocks, he learned to use geometry to create flat designs on paper and to build designs with blocks. As he got older, he started to see geometric shapes in everything around him.
Every summer, he worked on his uncle's farm. He loved the rolling green hills of the valley where he lived, and he became familiar with the flowers and plants of the Wisconsin prairie. He studied engineering at the University of Wisconsin for a time, but left without a degree. His love of nature remained with him when he moved to Chicago and started working as an architect in 1887.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
He is: Frank Lloyd Wright.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
His mother declared, when she was expecting her first child, that he would grow up to build beautiful buildings.
She decorated his nursery with engravings of English Cathedrals torn from a periodical to encourage the infant's ambition.
A trained teacher, Anna was excited by the program and purchased a set for her family. As a child, Frank spent a great deal of time playing with the kindergarten educational blocks. These consisted of geometrically-shaped blocks that could be assembled in various combinations to form three-dimensional compositions. Wright in his autobiography talks about the influence of these exercises on his approach to design. Many of his buildings are notable for the geometrical clarity they exhibit.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
He began his career as a boxer and truck driver. As a self-taught architect, he began studying architecture through traveling, reading and reflecting. By going to see landmark buildings across the world and reading books about works by such renowned architects as Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn. He then returned to his home land at the age of 28 to open his own studio.
He kept on working on concepts and designs when he had hardly any work. He visualized alternative models and types for two cities in his country.
These ideas for gardens in the air and public facilities in the high-rise buildings were not appreciated by any authorities.
However, he kept his faith in himself and his approach. He took up smaller projects and developed a distinctive approach to architectural design called minimalism.
He never had to look back.

Photo credit: Hilde Skj�lberg
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
He is Tadao Ando.
In 1995, he won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize medallion; an award considered to be the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in architecture.
He has become an architect and public speaker of unique public appeals.
He repeatedly suggested that an architect must work in environmental and societal context and not in isolation. He illustrated the premise through his work. He showed how his studio became a universe for thinking with books all round the place.
He hoped that the younger generation of architects would show the same passion and commitment to architecture and design.
He spoke in Japanese, his mother tongue, with the help of a translator.
He said he never had to learn English because he did not have to go to the University!
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
He is one of the great Muslim architects; he has achieved universal recognition. His numerous honors include the International Gold Medal Award from the International Union of Architects - an honor not only for him in particular but also for the entire Middle East.
His undeviating dedication to a clear vision - that many once branded as overly romantic - was buttressed by deep beliefs in concepts that have become so widely accepted today that their revolutionary character is sometimes forgotten. These concepts include the importance of learning from vernacular architecture, the use of local materials, and architecture for the poor. He worked to create an indigenous environment at a minimal cost, and in so doing to improve the economy and the standard of living in rural areas. Such concepts were not widely accepted by the international architectural establishment when originally presented by him in the 1940s.
His major contribution is essentially a profound humanism that transcends the forms and methods of his buildings and opens up broad avenues of awareness in the Muslim world today. The true contributions of him are not just the quaint mud brick structures he built with such elegance and refinement but ideas - the idea of empowering the disenfranchised to express themselves with the architect as catalyst for the refining of local sensibility; the idea of rooting architectural expression in local and regional contexts to ensure both relevance and authenticity; the idea of using rational, scientific methods to accept or reject elements of both the old and the new; and the idea of the architect as a decoder of a past legacy and the articulator of a new, symbolically charged environment.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
Hassan Fathy.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
Salem, Please keep going with your stories. Hassan Fathy is one of my favourites. Lucian Kroll is another, as is Geoffrey Bawa :)))
Frank John Snelling
Architects, how did you make it?
He is one of those rare architects who has imbued his work with a deep understanding of the roots of authentic regional expression, as well as a true appreciation of modernism and its principles. He has shown a unique capacity for the synthesis of form and function that translates traditional architectural idioms into contemporary expressions. He has worked with materials of the 20th century; producing architecture this is uniquely and distinctively recognizable both as his own and as Middle Eastern - if not a universally Islamic one.
His contributions transcend a mere body of work, important as that may be, for he also is a major figure in one of the most important and influential architectural schools in the Arab world. The Baghdad School of Architecture, where he taught for many years, has keenly felt his influence. Rejecting the use of the forms of the past that others espoused, he devised a synthesis of form that could translate into a new and contemporary urban aesthetic - one that would guide the articulations of a genuinely modern Iraqi town-scape in the latter part of the 20th century.
Not only has he influenced many younger architects in Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, and elsewhere, but he also has labored long and hard at developing a deep and thoughtful critical sense of what constitutes architectural practice in today's Arab world. His description and understanding of the deep processes that underlie the intellectual enterprise of architectural design were central to his work. The originality of his work emanates from an understanding and discernment seldom encountered among the architects in his region.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
Salem, I applaud your use of traditional storey-telling to paint word pictures, because no one becomes an architect (or anything else) overnight and yet attention is usually put only upon the products of the adult and not upon the process of individual and cultural development.
Frank John Snelling
Architects, how did you make it?
Rifat Kamil Chadirji was born on December 6, 1926 in Baghdad, is an Iraqi architect and author.

His publications are primarily in Arabic and include:

Al-Ukhaidar and the Crystal Palace (1991).
A Dialogue on the Structure of Art and Architecture (1995).
Regenerative approaches to mosque design-competition to State Mosque, Baghdad. In Mimar 1984,11 page 44-63 ISSN: 0129-8372.
Concepts & Influences: Towards a Regionalized International Architecture, 1987.ISBN no. 0-7103-0180-4.
Internationalised Tradition in Architecture, 1988. ISBN no. 1-85035-146-5.

1986: Chairman's Award of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
Born in Estonia in 1901, he was to become one of the United States' most important architects of the post-war period, alongside the Modern masters Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. Although renowned for a number of seminal modern works, he came to question many of the precepts of the Modern Movement. In particular, he questioned the ability of the International Style of Modernism to house the social spaces required by the latter half of the 20th century.

In 1947, he was appointed Professor at Yale University. He was to continue teaching throughout his architectural career, influencing a younger generation of architects along the way. His teaching enabled him to further develop his own concepts and to inform his ever-evolving definition of design.

He was drawn to investigate monumentality in architecture, creating buildings out of heavy, solid materials and forms and incorporating vivid plays of light, in complete contrast to the lightweight glass and steel structures being created elsewhere by his peers. This monumentality was also imbued with his concern for the ritual of human experience. His career, although extending to just over 20 years, was a rich and varied one, where he continually readdressed the issues of light, mass, structure and materials. Following a predominantly chronological order, this monograph identifies major themes and examines key works according to these themes.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
Louis I. Kahn. (American, born Estonia. 1901–1974).

He was very affected by the size and design of these ruins. They helped influence him to develop an architecture that combines both modern and ancient designs.

Other experts believe Kahn was also influenced by the part of Philadelphia where he grew up. There were many factory buildings with large windows. These brick structures were very solid. This industrial design is apparent in several of Kahn’s early works.
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Architects, how did you make it?
Hello, my story about big A, potion of my life;
when was be child, friends of mine around took various of they child toys, And me: was be with hands in the middle of fresh earth terracotta, making my OWN toys... /mostly 'cose mother and pa don't have money (and want' to buy me any); So, when was Little grow, and meet they big A on high school, didn't know what is about, how will call them, Only KNOW that will be MINE Only One true love till I'm DEAD! That's me, by few words, from hart of mine... Attached first work from High School ;)
Dragan Veljkovic
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