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I think that all architecture comes from what went before. And how carefully
one hews to precedent or how many liberties one takes, in my view, is part of a
larger set of judgments as to what is, or could be called, “appropriate.”
Appropriate from every point of view, especially from the site, the cultural
expectations of a community and of the specific client.
—Robert A. M. Stern
Central to the work of Robert A. M. Stern is a commitment to an architecture
that reinterprets the past to serve contemporary life. This monograph, the
fifth volume since Stern opened his practice in 1969, explores the application
of this principle to a wide range of building types, including libraries,
university buildings, cultural centers, offices, towers, and private residences.
Focused on the years 2004 through 2009, an exceptionally productive period for
Stern’s firm, this volume includes designs for the Miami Beach, Jacksonville,
and Clearwater Public Libraries in Florida, the vast Zubiarte retail complex in
Bilbao, Spain, two new residential colleges at Yale University, the widely
acclaimed 15 Central Park West condominium in New York, Comcast, a crystalline
addition to the Philadelphia skyline, and the George W. Bush Presidential
Center in Dallas, Texas.
In a conversation with renowned architecture critic Paul Goldberger, Stern
discusses the principles that have guided the firm since its inception,
focusing on the collaborative nature of the work and the importance of
precedent and context. He also describes his own role as an educator, as dean
of the architecture school at Yale University, and his deep interest in the
history of architecture, first awakened during his student days at Yale.