James Biber has practiced architecture in a multi-disciplinary environment for more than 25 years. Trained first as a biologist, then as an architect, James has surrounded himself with a variety of thinkers from different fields to expand the notion of architecture.


Statement

James Biber has practiced architecture in a multi-disciplinary environment for more than 25 years. Trained first as a biologist, then as an architect, James has surrounded himself with a variety of thinkers from different fields to expand the notion of architecture. His work centers on a belief that architecture, as an expression of identity, is inseparable from its language of form and tectonics. The result is an architecture tied closely to its context; whether physical, cultural or metaphorical.

Biber Architects has created projects ranging from oceanfront private residences in the Hamptons to a museum for the iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycle company. Filling in this broad spectrum of projects are restaurants, showrooms, retail stores, schools, exhibitions, streetscapes and urban design projects spanning the US market. Current clients include the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston; the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT; Fashion Center NYC; and the James Beard Foundation.

James lives in New York with his wife Carin Goldberg, the graphic designer, and more books than he knows what to do with.


Comments

after buying some sandals and an ed hardy bikini i was thinking about the nature of fame and endurance. the two buildings i highlighted were both by forgotten architects, and i am interested in them, in part, because they are under the radar.

my former pentagram partner Justus Oehler put together a beautiful booklet on 43 forgotten german architects, jews forced to stop their work and leave germany. the booklet, stories and images are both heartbreaking and astonishingly beautiful. http://blog.pentagram.com/forgottenarchitects/

i love older books featuring reviews of early modern architecture that include the period's most famous buildings next to (now) the utterly ignored. that they were once peers is fascinating. the guggenheim had a remarkable show of Russian Constructivism by unknown artists who were caught up in the style. many were of the highest quality if not the highest originality. fame is more than just talent, more than just luck and more than just marketing; it is a kind of market-driven force that requires public consumption of the ideas and individual.

Markelius wrote much more than he built and, i would guess, was not a skilled self-promoter; fame loves the prolific and publicity savvy auteur. his most memorable (and hilarious) quote may have been "it should be possible for a man to put up his house in a few hours with his wife". its exactly the kind of quote that, if proclaimed by the audacious celebrity, is seen as a bold challenge to the future. but when uttered by a lesser figure it is often mocked and dismissed.

the swedish pavilion at the 1939 fair was well known and regarded, but what we really remember is aalto's finnish pavilion (and bel geddes GM futurama). it may be that, like the Commonwealth Institute, it was ambitious and innovative but essentially flawed or imperfect. it may have had influence (and i suspect the CI did too) but not reach the iconic level of the buildings it begat. or, like the CI, a building of a few great moments but no sustaining power.
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