Amir Kripper AIA
Founding Principal, Kripper Studio
Master of Architecture from Columbia University
Adaptive reuse, historic preservation
Being born and raised in South America, I lived in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. From a young age I was exposed to the incredible contrast between Spanish Colonial architecture, modernism, and the Bauhaus style, which sparked my interest in architecture.
Good question. I’m an architect who practices architecture that happens at the intersection of craftsmanship and art.
Architecture is realized slowly. Be more patient!
First of all, it is critical to note that architecture is a team effort, so my team at Kripper Studio deserves tremendous credit. Second, I consider my vocation a journey without a finish line, so I’m a bit reluctant to use the term success. I’m grateful of where I am now, but even more excited for the next chapters of this journey.
I am not sure about a single underappreciated architect. I certainly think the contributions of the Latinx community, and the community itself, are underappreciated and underrepresented in the design and architecture world.
Museum of Fine Arts. It is a beautiful Beaux Arts building designed by
Boston architect Guy Lowell, and has been reinvented over the years and
found new vitality through modern architectural additions from I.M.
Pei and Norman Foster.
up in South America, going to graduate school at Columbia University
and subsequently working in New York City was something I could only dream of. Later on, while working at Machado Silvetti in
2007, I lead the design for a large social housing project in Pamplona,
extremely excited about a number of adaptive reuse projects that
involve historical structures, from small scale residential buildings
to large mixed-use ones.
I’d love to collaborate with Vitra or Herman Miller to design furniture. Both companies have been champions of modern design and created iconic pieces for modern living.
To me, a commitment to equity is the tool to achieve equality. It is a key concept as the goal is to reach both fairness and justice. As a Latino and an immigrant, I advocate for removing obstacles to create more opportunities because I’m concerned with the lack of diverse representation in our profession.
My path to architecture started super early. Interestingly enough, in Uruguay, where I went to high school, at age 16 I had to declare my “major.” Let me explain. All students are encouraged to pick an area of concentration between three different and separate paths: Sciences, Biology or Letters. Based on your choice and successful grades, you can enroll in a professional school right after high school. I selected Sciences, and then in my senior year of high school I further specialized and selected architecture. I was pretty sure of my career choice so it wasn’t a real struggle for me.
At the same time, music has always been part of my life. I started to play classical piano at age of seven and kept studying until I was 17, when I switched to jazz piano. Looking back and connecting the dots, as Steve Jobs famously said, learning music from a young age played an important role in my career, as I believe music and architecture are deeply intertwined. It gave me an understanding of the importance of history, continuity and innovation.
What is the most effective step you’ve taken in your work toward a more sustainable built environment?
For every single project in which there is an existing structure, we try to include, preserve, and restore. Sustainability starts by preserving and renewing existing building stock. The greenest building is the one already built!
“Holistic approach.” Architecture is by definition already holistic.
I play piano every day early in the morning before heading to the office. It's an activity which I cherish and which brings me a lot of calm and inspiration.
Calypso by David Sedaris. I read late at night after putting our
three kids to bed. Like the cartoons of Saul Steinberg, Sedaris’
writing is poignant, sharp and humorous and makes me smile.
The subway stations in Boston. I believe there is a lot of potential to design infrastructure, buildings, and other structures that traditionally have been overlooked by the profession.