KBB - September 2010 - (Page 30)

Profile When architect and designer Margaret McCurry graduated Vassar College with a bachelor’s degree in art history, the professional world offered few female role models. Her father, an architect, suggested she follow in the footsteps of her mother and other family members in the teaching profession, but McCurry thought otherwise. And the world may thank her for that. After talking herself into a job at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where she spent 11 years working on projects ranging from a 20story office building to The Art Institute of Chicago, McCurry went on to enjoy a distinguished career in architecture and interior design. In 1977, If someone had asked you when you were a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” you would have answered… It depends. When I was really small and horse-crazy, I would have said a jockey. But once I realized I was going to be bigger than most jockeys, then the answer would have been an artist. What learning experience has had the most impact on you? There isn’t one “a-ha” moment. At Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, I had a wonderful mentor named Davis Allen, who was in the New York office and was the head of interiors. I learned a great deal from him about how many different ways you can skin a cat with interiors. For him, it was certainly modern architectural interiors, but he had a wonderful sense in collecting eclectic objects and antiques. What’s the biggest misconception about what you do? That it’s easy. It’s not that hard to be an architect or interior designer; it’s just very hard to be good. To be really good takes extraordinary perseverance and tenacity, as well as salesmanship, frankly. You have to figure out a way to have your clients buy into what you do and accept it as something that’s unique to them. What “words of wisdom” can/do you share with others? You have to have a lot of patience and be very stoic. You also have to let things happen and be able to take any setback and turn it into a plus. Who are your role models? My biggest role model is my husband. We’re opposites, so we don’t work together that often. When we do, however, there’s a real synergy but also an abrasive quality. When we’ve designed together, it’s been for clients who are our friends. They know us and they know that edginess isn’t going to resolve itself in a divorce. Q&A Margaret McCurry, FAIA, IIDA, ASID, ALA, TIGERMAN MCCURRY ARCHITECTS she founded her own practice, Margaret I. McCurry Ltd., which merged with that of her husband, Stanley Tigerman, in 1982, forming Tigerman McCurry Architects. McCurry’s work has appeared in several publications, including a dedicated monograph, Margaret McCurry: Constructing Twenty-Five Short Stories (Monacelli Press). She has received numerous awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). In 1990, she was inducted into Interior Design’s Hall of Fame, and in 2002, ASID named her “The Designer of Distinction.” This year, she was a keynote speaker at NeoCon. Do you derive any ideas from nature or other disciplines? Nature, but it’s just a sense—like its stillness or the way it creates patterns. Otherwise, it would be literature, like Hemingway’s prose, which is very taut and tight and elemental. Emily Dickinson’s poetry is the same way. My work tries to be elemental, too, distilled down to the essence of what I’m trying to accomplish. What is the best thing that’s happened to the profession in the past five years? That the public has finally caught onto the fact that it’s fashionable to be sustainable. In the past, everyone did passive solar. Pre-air conditioning, there were many interesting ways to move air through a house or a building, such as cupolas on top that drew the air up through the staircase and moved it around, breezeways and even solar orientation and trees to shade in the summer. People are becoming more aware of these kinds of things now. What’s the one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet? For the last 15 years, I have wanted someone to make a TV series for architects and designers. The public doesn’t value us. They don’t think we sweat blood and tears for what we do or that we have personal lives. So many architects get divorced because they’re so passionate about what they do, and most end up marrying other architects because there’s an understanding. People would be surprised to find out that you…? Have an Irish temper. It appears occasionally on the golf course when I hit a really crummy shot. I’m pretty good at being controlled in client meetings and very tenacious, but I’m quite capable of explosions. s —Alice Liao For more of this interview, go to www.kbbonline.com/McCurry. 30 + K BB September July 2004 2010 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com/McCurry http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - September 2010

KBB - September 2010
Contents
Online Contents
Online News
Editor's Note
Trends
Products
Profile
Design
Good Natured
High Design
Practice
Education
Editorial Index
Ad Index
Favorites

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