written by:
October 16, 2012

We find the architects featured in Dwell to be incredibly inspiring, but who inspires them? To put the question to rest, we asked the architects covered in our October American Modern issue, "Who is your favorite American architect and why?" The results are as inventive and varied as the architects themselves. 

Sunset at Sea Ranch, 1977, by Lawrence Halprin. Image courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
Originally appeared in In Memoriam: Lawrence Halprin
1 / 5
The Walker Art Center opened in 1971 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Walker Art Center opened in 1971 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
2 / 5
Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas by E. Fay Jones.
Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas by E. Fay Jones.
3 / 5
Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute (top left) is a stunning building that looks directly out to the sea. Architectural tourists flock to the site, which still functions as a working laboratory.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in San Diego, CA
4 / 5
The Eames's living room as it is best known, shot in 1994. Photo courtesy Tim Street-Porter.
Originally appeared in Eames Time Machine
5 / 5
lawrence halprin sea ranch watercolor
Sunset at Sea Ranch, 1977, by Lawrence Halprin. Image courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Heidi Beebe of Beebe Skidmore Architects: 

"Lawrence Halprin (technically a landscape architect) for his work at Sea Ranch. He planned the entire community to complement and restore a sensitive natural environment along the coast, and his work on the design guidelines for the buildings at Sea Ranch led to a consistent architectural style where the residences emerge from the earth like rock outcrops, mushrooms, or clusters of trees."
 

The Walker Art Center opened in 1971 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Walker Art Center opened in 1971 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Doug Skidmore of Beebe Skidmore Architects:
"Edward Larrabee Barnes for Haystack Mountain School and the original Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He achieves a great power of space and sequence without complexity, using simple manipulations of basic, well-proportioned volumes. Materials and details recede in support of the space."
 
"My favorite American architect is the late Samuel Mockbee. Thoughtful, inventive, and humble, Sam Mockbee believed architects should have 'a moral sense of service to the community.' He not only designed, but, through the development of the Rural Studio project at Auburn University, encouraged students to design, build, and celebrate re-use, affordability, structural clarity, and humanity—and do so with joy and imagination."
 

Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas by E. Fay Jones.
Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas by E. Fay Jones.

David Arkin of Arkin Tilt Architects:  
"The late E. Fay Jones. His Thorncrown Chapel embodies an organic modernism that we strive for in our work.  Jones was known as somewhat quiet and unassuming, and I had the honor to hear him speak in San Francisco in the early 90s. In his opening unscripted remarks he quipped, 'As architects, all we have is caring and trying.' 
 
"After Anni Tilt (my favorite for obvious reasons), Obie Bowman would be my favorite living architect. Granted, this is a bit biased, as he is a friend as well as the architect I consider my mentor (having worked with him for two years when I first moved to California). I think he's doing some of the most unique as well as environmentally tuned-in work anywhere."
 

san diego california salk institute exterior
Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute (top left) is a stunning building that looks directly out to the sea. Architectural tourists flock to the site, which still functions as a working laboratory. Photo by Bryce Duffy.

Tom Lacey and Andrei Saltykov of Lacey & Saltykov Architects:
"For us it just has to be Louis Kahn. His architecture, particularly The Salk Institute if you experience it, still gives a vision of the future."
 

eames time machine 4
The Eames's living room as it is best known, shot in 1994. Photo courtesy Tim Street-Porter.

Matthew Hufft of Hufft Projects:
"Well I have two: Eames and Buckminster Fuller. Both have a great spirit that brought them well beyond architecture into other fields, such as film and science, and then back. I think that is not only what it takes to be a great architect but an American entrepreneur."

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Concrete floor, white walls, Bend sectional sofa, Metropolitan chair by B&B Italia, and Arper pouf in living room of Rhode Island family vacation home by Bernheimer Architecture.
Create comfortable areas to lounge, sit, eat, and entertain with these designs.
February 12, 2016
São Paulo apartment dining room with local wood floors and HAY chairs
From concrete to wood, these South American homes enjoy nature inside and out.
February 12, 2016
Custom cabinetry and trim in Chicago apartment renovation.
The Second City is second to none when it comes to inventive modern architecture, from Louis Sullivan to the present day.
February 12, 2016
Kitchen of 1956 midcentury modern Palm Springs home.
Celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from February 11–21, with a look at some of our favorite modern desert oases.
February 12, 2016
Gustav bicycle by Coh&Co
Designmuseum Danmark unveils a permanent collection highlighting new developments in Danish design.
February 12, 2016
A Seattle studio's courtyard
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 12, 2016
Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016