01 June 2018
01 June 2018
Brooks + Scarpa, Los Angeles: One. Large. Family.
The Culture of Practice
Brooks + Scarpa is a collective of architects, designers and creative thinkers dedicated to enhancing the human experience. Honoured with receiving the 2014 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award, the firm is a multi-disciplinary practice that includes architecture, landscape architecture, planning, environmental design, materials research, graphic, furniture and interior design services that produces innovative, sustainable iconic buildings and urban environments.
The 25-person interdisciplinary practice is based in a big open workshop. About 40 per cent of the space is a shop where they make models, mock-ups and a variety of things that they physically construct. “Our office is like a glorified cabinet shop,” explains Lawrence Scarpa, who co-founded the firm in 1991 and has redefined the role of the architect to produce some of the most remarkable and exploratory work today.
“We work in a triangular form as opposed to a hierarchical form where everyone is given responsibility regardless of age or experience,” says Scarpa. Everyone has the same desk including Scarpa and his partner, Angela Brooks. There is nothing to distinguish one person’s desk from another so if you’re able to handle it, you advance quickly. Most people work on several projects so they know what’s happening amongst other projects in the office. “We don’t have any rooms, and we basically have two doors: the door to the building and the door to the conference room. Other than that, there are no doors or walls.”
With a full kitchen and space out back for barbecues, foodie types are well catered for and sometimes people make dinners for the entire office. “We’ll also pass around a lot of free tickets to Dodger games,” says Scarpa. “If you’re interested in good design, being part of a process, if you’re interested in architecture and in taking initiative, this is a good place. We think about those kind of things, they’re on the top of our list.”
Author: Kat Hall, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers