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June 15-30, 2008 Cover
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ASID Industry Partner

June 15-30, 2008


MEET THE ARCHITECT

Fred Stelle, AIA
By Jami Supsic

A CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECT WITH AN ALTRUISTIC EYE TOWARD THE FUTURE

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How did you get started in architecture? I am seriously not sure how I got started. I grew up on the same road as one of the giants of modern architecture, Edward Larrabee Barnes. He was my mentor and I still believe in his rationalist and inevitable sense of design. As a child I lived on a farm three miles from my closest schoolmate. I had to be very self-entertaining and resourceful, so I found myself building forts in the fields and woods. At one time I had 10, including tree forts, underground forts, above-ground forts and cowboy and Indian-style encampments. I suppose I was born with the building gene. The big thing is that they were always made from recycled or native materials—my first sustainable architecture! Why do you enjoy the field? Architecture is a wonderful, constructive, creative and rewarding, if not lucrative, profession. The things I like most are the ability to create and to collaborate with others on that creation. Why the Hamptons? Twenty-four years ago I decided to take a few months off from my ten-person office in New York to build a project out here. It's on Beach Lane in Wainscott and I would drive down the street every morning and see the water. One day, I just decided not to leave. It was the third best decision of my life after deciding to have my first daughter and marry my wife. I never imagined in my wildest dreams living here would work out so well. It's a testament to the power of your dreams and the conviction to try to live them. [Image] What is modern architecture to you? It's the search for new expression and meaning. It's a three-dimensional manifestation of our culture today colored by a vision for the future. What do you aspire to in architecture for the future? Certainly we are working towards the goal of carbon neutrality in building. In my office we are committed to procedures that support that and describe to those we work with how they can help. Is there a building you would like to see? I would like to see less building. The goal in new design is to attain a higher quality: durable, long-lasting and at the end of its life 100 percent recyclable. We have to stop the tear-down mentality. What advice would you give young architects today? Pick a course and stick to it. Find your passion, believe in it and pursue it. If you do that, success will come in many forms. Second, no person is an island and to paraphrase someone, "from those, to whom much is given, much is expected." Give back to your fellow humans and community. Work to improve the lives of others. Architects are trained as problem solvers, "comprehensivists" and planners. It is up to us to share our vision of how we can improve the lives of those who are not so fortunate.

ENJOY GREAT DESIGN

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