Lee Mindel

Encouraging Young Architects to Think Farther

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A professional has to think of the timeline of his profession, Mindel says.

Lee Mindel

New York-based architect Lee Mindel received his Master of Architecture from Harvard after obtaining his B.A., Cum Laude with distinction at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked for the New York architecture firms of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and then Rogers, Butler, Burgun, before forming the firm Shelton, Mindel, & Associates with Peter Shelton in 1978. Since the formation of Shelton, Mindel & Associates in 1978, the architects have strayed from the dictates of their modernist training to avoid the trappings of a signature style. Their formal explorations steadily oscillate between the "modern" and the "traditional," directed in each cast toward a carefully wrought simplicity. In addition to the firm’s architecture and interior design expertise, it has a product design division with collections for Knoll, Waterworks, Jack Lenor Larsen, V’Soske, and Nessen Lighting. Shelton Mindel & Associates is the recipient of 17 AIA awards for interior architecture, three design awards from the Society of American Registered Architects, a Progressive Architecture citation, three Roscoe awards for product design and most recently the 2004 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum. The American Institute of Architecture, the National Academy of Design, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts have exhibited the firm’s work in both traveling and permanent exhibitions. Both Peter L. Shelton and Lee F. Mindel have been inducted into the Interior Hall of Fame, and in 2000 Mindel became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.


Topic: Encouraging Young Architects to Think Farther

Lee Mindel: I think that we have a responsibility as a professional to understand the timeline of the profession. What has happened in the profession. Who has made a contribution and learned from those things to free yourself to become your own voice. When I was building this house in North Sea which we are making the documentary of and I work with Peter Shelton my partner and my dear friend from college Reed Marson. I realized that the building went out I could kind of see the intellectual collage of who I was as pieces of the building stood at various stages. I could feel the ghost of Lucon when I looked at the Port concrete. When I saw some of the glass details I kept thinking of the architects collaborative in Boston, when I looked at some of the wood working on the cladding I thought of Ed Barnes or Sert and then the way the stair was conceived I thought of the purpose and I started to realize that pieces of who we are, are often pieces of who we looked and study, but its our responsibility to then become ourselves. So how do you take that? Where you can almost dissect your own psyche and the layers of building is such an interesting tapestry of those pieces of who you are and then hopefully when they come together they become you what you owe to who you become and then I realized when that building was done because I love the archeology of great people in my profession meaning whether its their drawings, their furniture that lining that designed democracy emerged, which is such an American idea that we embrace many cultures and we celebrate them and we celebrate ideas. So the building was international amalgam of people and things that as Americans we are very open to and that I had actually collected the archeology of those people and as those things occupied the building I realized that their archeology informed the building that they inhabit. Recorded On: 6/1/07