Design and fabrication is a topic that almost all architects discuss at one point or another. How does it inform the creative process, who gets involved, why does it make sense? We are going to be talking about this and more, along with special guest Matthew Hufft on Episode 85 “Design and Fabrication”. This is a topic that I am excited to explore because we are talking about a topic that I have always been fascinated by but have never truly experienced – at least not the way that today’s guest has embraced it and built fabrication into his creative process and as part of the services his firm Hufft provides.
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The founder of Hufft Architecture and Fabrication, Matthew Hufft is an architect by trade and entrepreneur by nature. He identified strongly with his creative talents at an early age, and even declared on a cassette tape for a second-grade project that his chosen career would be an architect.
Matthew holds two degrees in architecture from The University of Kansas and Columbia University. After graduating from Kansas in 2000, he won the prestigious SOM Travelling Fellowship Award. Matthew’s early mentors were the respected architects Stanley Tigerman based in Chicago and Bernard Tschumi dually-based in Paris and New York City. His first commission – a residential home for his parents, nicknamed the Line House – came at the very young (and inexperienced) age of 22 years old. Through this foundational project, Matthew learned the value of collaboration and communication. Other commissions came as a direct result, and thus, the beginning of Hufft.
Today, Hufft is compiled of more than 50 creative and talented individuals, based in Kansas City, Missouri, and Bentonville, Arkansas. The firm has completed over 500 projects, spanning from corporate headquarters, mixed-use developments and various hospitality projects, to single-family residences. The firm has won more than 50 AIA awards and been published in 100+ national and international periodicals.
After you declared in 2nd grade that you were going to become an architect, did you ever waiver on that path along the way? jump to 3:52
You left Bernard Tschumi’s office two years after graduating from Columbia to go out on your own and in 2005, you started Hufft. What motivated you to take that leap at such a young age? jump to 5:22
That was 16 years ago and Hufft has grown quite a bit, what sort of lessons did you learn along the way that you would have liked to know about ahead of time? jump to 9:08
How important is it that artesian, fabricators, and architects are all involved in the creative process? jump to 14:02
It’s not an easy task to ask people to collaborate … I don’t think it’s natural for designer’s to collaborate with artisians.
Matthew Hufft – Hufft
How and when did you decide to incorporate active fabrication into your practice? jump to 16:19
How important do you feel that artisans, fabricators, designer’s and architects are all involved on a project? jump to 16:19
How did building a woodshop figure into your business strategy? jump to 24:57
Is there a project size limit to what your fabrication studio would take on? jump to 30:06
What role do you feel that fabrication plays in your overall design process? jump to 31:38
Our studio is organized to foster a collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment that expands traditional notions of the architectural practice, integrating designers and builders into one seamless process.
~ Matthew Hufft
Are you a fabricator yourself? jump to 35:58
Do you feel that incorporating fabrication can act as an incubator into the construction process? jump to 43:09
Matthew was a good sport and wanted to participate in this episode’s Would You Rather question. Did we take it easy on him or give him an obvious question?
Would you rather? jump to 53:25
Would you rather … know when you are going to die, or how, and you can’t change either.
This WYR question is darker than we typically address, but I am fascinated with the idea of how would you deal with the moments before the “when” takes place. If you know the how, it will inform your behavior for the rest of your life – and probably not for the better.
Ep 085: Design and Fabrication
Today’s conversation with Matthew was not only enjoyable, but it was also informative in a way that I did not anticipate before we began. There was a natural evolution to how his company grew and how they began to incorporate fabrication into their process. Starting with a 30,000 square foot shop environment that includes digital fabrication, a metal studio, a woodshop, as well as a full professional paint facility, now the opportunities can be evaluated in a stand-alone capacity while maintaining their origins as a part of the entire design process.
Special thanks to today’s sponsor Otis Elevators – for more information on Gen3 and Gen360 elevators, please visit www.otis.com