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041


COULD YOU TELL ME... ... what made you become an architect?


I always loved architecture. It is the marriage of art and technology. It is the state of the art of our culture. It shows what humans are capable of at any time in history. Look at the Great Wall or Eiffel Tower or Bilboa Guggenheim. All of these showing what we were capable of. I am not only an architect but also a builder and a developer. I like to control all aspects of the process. Some clients hire us as a pure architect, while others see the benefit of architect and builder being one entity - the synthesis of the process. Other clients hire us to analyse the economics of the deal and study land use and zoning and market concepts to really design the whole product, including architecture, construction, development, marketing, branding - the whole look and feel! On the 400 N.Lake Shore Drive project we developed the idea from start to finish, including the architecture, construction, marketing and brand. This project is about how the city reflects off the building. It’s like a mirror on the city.


... how important is lighting to your architecture?


Lighting is obviously very important. I always was inspired by other architects, especially Louis Kahn and Tadao Ando. They masterfully had voids and solids touched by light in ways that made me want to cry - in a good way.


... what excites you about light and lighting?


I like to make people excited about the environment they are in and feel like they are part of the “art”, like in the Adler Planetarium Welcome Gallery. I like surprise and understanding to be a part of the lighting concept, have people understand they “changed” the light themselves by movement, or by just being in the space (we use IR sensors a lot). Exteriors and interiors can be changed by the users. It makes it fun and lighting can do this. The technology is changing so fast and we try to stay ahead of the pack.


... why is spending time thinking about and working with light important to you? I think about lighting, branding and technology as one thing. It elevates the final design product to a higher level. I give clients added value, something way beyond the ordinary. Why make the mediocre, when everything can be extraordinary! Our Festa Towers project elevated the potential of Mesa, Arizona, from the business district to the entire perception of the city, what it could become. Lit up at night, our building would be a beacon of Mesa’s future.


... about how you approach lighting a building through architecture? We brainstorm with our team, and concept various options (the best thing in life is options), then we draw and model things in 3D. Then we change it, then we re-draw it, and then change it again, and change it again, a thousand times till it works. We include the whole team in the process, as everyone has experience and knowledge that improves the design. And we listen to the client, and then come back with answers that challenge and educate.


... about the role lighting plays in the life of a city? We want to be a leader in architectural lighting that is artful, useful and helps the building owner increase revenue or attendance.


... about the best and the worst illuminated places you have visited? The best lighting I have ever seen was at the abbey at Mont Saint-Michel. I am still inspired by it. It was so modern, and breathed life into the spaces and structure that was supercool. I don’t like to talk about bad design as it is a waste of time.


... about the importance of shadows and the balance of darkness and light in your work?


One appreciates the light when it is dark and the dark when it is light, so you need both. Also shadows and the balance of darkness and light helps define the mass and lightness of a structure. I like to use glass with light to make buildings glow and appear light, like the Glass Stair and Glass House. These both play off of reflection, glowing light and transparency, which are all fascinating aspects of light. I love the quote “the unbearable lightness of being”, and I like to change this statement in my own way to show the unbelievable beauty that light and lightness of matter can achieve. This brings back my memory of the Kahn and Ando buildings and their magic of light.


www.roszak.com www.triklight.com


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