"It takes an architect to find beauty – and not stress – in punched-through walls and half-demolished floors. Brent Allen Buck specializes in the renovation of New York City apartments and townhouses, and his feed documents the rocky in-between stages inevitable in any remodel – as well as the dramatic results. Expect to see sparkling white subway tile, expansive skylights, custom millwork, and freshened parquet flooring emerge from chaos."
Written by Brent Allen Buck. Edited and Published by Kelsey Keith at curbed.com. Seven part renovation story.
Edited by Will Jones. Published by Thames and Hudson. The following is an excerpt from an interview for the book:
How do you initially illustrate your ideas for a project what methods do you use?
We find it most useful to illustrate ideas by hand. The scale of work is small, manageable and fluid. Concepts are flushed out using trace paper, pencils, and erasers. We use a variety of colors to differentiate materials - a quick way to diagram and allow for easy visualization. This method of organizing a drawing inevitably brings about discovery - both strengths and weaknesses – and the drawing builds upon itself, layer by layer.
Why do you use this method how do you feel it benefits your thought process?
It’s quick and without commitment. No idea is permanent as many are explored simultaneously. The ability to modify the design and play with a new idea is paramount. The process should be quick enough to not get in the way of the design.
What results come out of putting your thoughts down on paper/into model form etc where do you expect to be in relation to the formation of the design after initial sketches etc are complete?
Typically these initial sketches/models reinforce that we are on the correct track or show that we aren’t. They are honest – equally displaying the benefits and drawbacks of certain details. We use them as tools and learn from them to push the design forward. Initial sketches show hints of where the design may go- knowing that everything can/will/should still change. Details, dimensions, etc. are constantly reexamined.
What percentage of your original design sketches get carried through to the completed design?
None get carried through in their entirety. We believe that if something is sketched early on in the process, we should be able to improve upon it; we believe each sketch should be allowed to wander. Many of the early sketches do give flavor to what follows. I would say if you looked at the initial sketches you would see hints of the final design but not be sure where it would end up. Once the drawings are complete, the process of building informs the final building.
What happens to your sketches/models/collages when the project is complete do you throw them away, store in notebooks, exhibit in galleries?
Unfortunately too many of them end up on the floor- balled up and put in the trash. Some are scanned or put on a shelf. It’s important for us to save some as a reminder of where we have been and what we were thinking at a point in time. I carry a small sketchbook, a remnant of my student days, to sketch ideas and write notes. Once in a while I look back at these documents to see where we've been.
Is there anything else I should know about your working methods and style?
I've learned that drawings and models are not precious. They are tools like a computer. A tool should be used to further an idea, to push it forward, to test it. Sometimes drawings need to freeze a design- to show it for a client, board, etc.- but I try not to look at my hand drawings and models as products, as fact. They are always meant to be drawn over, to be scribbled on with an eraser, to be questioned.
Written by Henry Ng. Drawings and thoughts on suburban development.