TOP Alice Tully Hall at the Juilliard School of Music, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, completed in 2009
ARCHITECTURE / Q&A
“I like the challenge of solving problems, but I prefer to create my own”
PK: How did the Shed become a more tangible reality? ED: The city ultimately became more convinced and we finally got a contract in 2012 after four years of work that had an uncertain future.
PK: To what degree would you describe yourself as an architect, and to what degree would you say that you’re a cultural activist of sorts? ED: I like that term. Maybe I’m a bit of both. Architects typically respond to predetermined briefs and at best find a new expression to existing problems.
PK: Is that quite limiting? ED: It is limiting. I like the challenge of solving problems but I prefer to create my own. In the case of the opera, a form I knew nothing about, we were able to pull it off, maybe because we had credibility because we’re architects.
PK: Do you have a lot of tenacity? ED: I do. I seem to. I don’t really think of myself that way, but when I believe in something, I push.
PK: Has that always been the case? ED: I think I’ve always had it. It’s just that the ambitions were smaller, initially. I would say 15 to 20 years ago I started believing that architecture could be very meaningful. I didn’t realise that before. I studied architecture. I wasn’t bad at it, but I thought it was a little bit intellectually bankrupt.
PK: Was there a particular moment when you began to have more faith in the ability of architects? ED: I don’t think I initially wanted to be an architect.
PK: What did you want to be? An artist? ED: I wanted to be a filmmaker. An artist and a filmmaker.
PK: Because you started out at art school, right? ED: Yes, exactly. Before I graduated, I decided to switch [to architecture] and I lost a year or two. Then I continued and I finished with an architecture degree.
PK: Given the troubled times we live in, do you think architecture has any answers in terms of promoting plurality or greater cohesion between people? ED: Architects must be vigilant about protecting space for the public. Space [in