How have you evolved as an architect?
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.
Question: How have you evolved as an architect?
Lee Mindel: Well. I feel like the more architecture one gets to do, the more open ended it seems and in a way the more difficult it becomes because even though you have been exposed to things there are so many great architects. There are so much good work that you feel like you never get the chance to do your best work. You are always looking to the next project to hopefully have that be the thing and I really enjoyed the late Robert Altman’s comment when he received his lifetime achievement award when he said you are giving me a lifetime achievement award for 41 movies. I am still making the same movie and I think architecture is that way, it’s a process of continuing and the beauty of architecture is you don’t have a kind of narcissistic fuse that goes off in your 20s and its over. You hopefully get better and keep learning and the great architects didn’t reach their great work until they were getting on years and that’s hopeful to think that you don’t have an expiration date.
Recorded On: 6/1/07
It's not like some narcissistic fuse goes off at 20 and its over, Mindel says.
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