Image Credit: National City, Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign
D.C. is home to its share of blogs and bloggers, and our passions cover a wide range of topics. Residential architect, Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign focuses his writing on architecture, design, and travel – often times, sharing with loyal readers some of the inspiration he finds in his very own backyard (i.e. Logan Circle).
Hurray recently shared with me his passion for architecture, design, and of course, D.C.
We Love DC: What is ArchitectDesign?
Stefan Hurray: A visual diary of places I find inspiring. It might be something I’ve visited myself or the occasional magazine story.
Image Credit: Gas Lantern, Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign
WLDC: What inspired you to create ArchitectDesign?
SH: I began my blog [in 2007] after reading a lot of others, and I really felt that it would be a great way to reach out to people with similar interests. It also gives me an excuse to do a little research on the things that strike my interest, the things that I ordinarly I would have just said ‘someday I should read that’. It holds me accountable to my inspirations.
WLDC: What about D.C. excites you?
SH: Diversity. We not only have the international mixture we all see surface wise, but the mixings of the political with celebrity, the aesthetes with the intellectuals, students with professionals, etc. It’s one of the few international cities that draw such a diverse set of interests.
Image Credit: Library of Congress, Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign
WLDC: What are you favorite places in the city go and find inspiration?
SH: I love the great walkable city neighborhoods we have here. Cleveland Park, Georgetown, Dupont circle and Logan circle come to mind.
WLDC: In your opinion, what are the five most ‘architecturally-great’ buildings in D.C.?
SH: The Library of Congress (modeled partially on the Paris Opera House), the Folger Shakespeare Theater (by Paul Cret), the very grand Federal Triangle buildings from the 1930′s, the Freer Gallery on the National Mall, and a whole host of residential buildings – particularly the grand dames along Embassy Row.
WLDC: What, in your opinion, is the most ‘architecturally-underrated’ building in D.C.?
SH: The Kennedy Center. Everyone loves to hate it, but I think it’s actually very well designed. It appears much smaller than its actual size (enormous!), has a nice classical form (an updated temple), and is made of beautiful materials. You can’t discount the view either.
Image Credit: DC Government Building, Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign
WLDC: If you could only have one piece of furniture in your home, what would it be?
SH: I love my daybed – couch, bed and comfy hang-out zone all in one. However, if I really had to chose only one I’d choose something really unique and fabulous: an early 19th century secretary perhaps.
Frank Lloyd Wright (and Dorothy Parker) always said “take care of the luxuries and the neccesities take care of themselves”.
WLDC: What is your biggest pet-peeve about D.C. architecture?
SH: America’s obsession with size. Everyone always wants to build bigger at the expense of quality and design. A well designed smaller home will be twice as comfortable and energy efficient in the long run than a poorly designed shabby “McMansion”. Plus, you’ll be happier with it.
WLDC: Who are your favorite, national and local, designers and architects?
SH: I’ll stick with those that are living for ease!
Architects: Richard Meier, Renzo Piano, Robert Stern, Michael Graves and Santiago Calatrava.
Image Credit: Old Executive Office Building, Stefan Hurray of Architect Design
WLDC: Is there a D.C. neighborhood that sticks out amongst the rest when it comes to design and architecture?
SH: I’ve always loved Kalorama: Beautiful and diverse houses, from cozy to grand, in a great city-neighborhood. It’s close to the heart of the city, yet, in some parts you would think you were in the country.
WLDC: Do you have any advice for aspiring designers, architects, and bloggers out there?
SH: I still am aspiring; daily! Read everything you can on your field, travel everywhere you can, keep your eyes ALWAYS open, and learn from history.
Also, more practically, find a professional you admire and try to learn from them: Either work under them or study everything you can on them. Many designers are open and willing to answer any questions you may ask. We may idolize our ‘top designers’ but they’re still just people who love design as much as you probably do yourself.
If you would like to learn more about ArchitectDesign and catch a glimpse of Hurray’s digs – check out his home tour on Apartment Therapy.