Barry Svigals, FAIA

Get to know Build Pittsburgh's keynote speaker

By Posted on April 1, 2013

w-dossier-svigalsName: Barry Svigals, FAIA
Firm: Svigals + Partners, LLP
Years in practice: 36 years practicing architecture
Eduction: Bachelor of Arts, Yale College; Master of Architecture,Yale School of Architecture
Your first job: With Herbert S. Newman and Partners, a former professor and mentor who was an inspiration to work with.
Project you are most proud of: I wouldn’t want to suggest that any one project is more important than another, each is the most important to our clients. As a segment of our work, however, creating schools for small children has been enormously rewarding.
Most embarrassing moment: On the first day of my first job, incorrectly  feeding an original drawing into the blueprint machine (can we remember those?) and not having it come out!
The best part of your job: Imagining a better world.
What have you always wanted to tell your clients? What I do tell my clients is that we are in this together and little of value is possible without being deeply collaborative.
What’s the most annoying thing architects do? Think they know what’s best.
What’s the next big architectural trend? Defining our services beyond buildings. What we provide is a way of leveraging resources to create something of value. This may include something built, but not necessarily. It could be helping people think of what they are doing in a more creative and holistic way.
Advice to young architects: As Frank Lloyd Wright said, don’t work on your architecture, work on yourself.
Architectural quote to practice by: As Bill Caudill said, always look to the next biggest thing.
Favorite tool (can be digital, drafting, physical..): Humor.
Favorite building: Antonio Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia
Favorite outdoor space: Place des Vosges
Favorite city: Paris
Favorite architectural book: Not actually architectural, but essential: Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees – Lawrence Weschler’s book on Robert Irwin.
Favorite Pittsburgh neighborhood: Shadyside
Best gift to give an architect: A commission.
If you hadn’t become and architect, what would you have been? Musician
What’s on your ipod/Pandora? Raphael Saadiq, Keith Jarrett, Yo-Yo Ma, Fleet Foxes, Amos Lee, Andy McKee, Liz Story…
Building you would like to renovate into something else and why? The Pentagon into botanical gardens because it isn’t needed any longer.

Think Barry sounds interesting? Then you won't want to miss his Keynote Address - "The Art of Collaboration" - at Build Pittsburgh on April 18th!

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