Hall of Fame Honorees Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott Focus on Structure, Materials and Form
By Edie Cohen
December 4, 2018
Photo Courtesy Interior Design
Responsible for the designs of the Pinterest headquarters and Bloomberg Tech Hub, College of Environmental Design Professor of Architecture Lisa Iwamoto and Joseph Esherick Visiting Professor of Practice Craig Scott have solidified themselves in the architecture industry with their recent induction into the Interior Design Hall of Fame. Together the duo, Iwamoto, forthcoming and effervescent, and Scott, shy and reserved, have cultivated a lasting legacy.
Originally professors of architecture at the University of Michigan, both Iwamoto and Scott began their careers in academia and each completed a master’s in architecture with distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
In 2002, the couple married and established their architecture firm to fulfill their desire to build. The organization found initial success toying with the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) architectural style, unheard of at the time. Hand-making chairs out of aluminum or swimming-pool noodles, the duo built full-scale installations with students at Berkeley.
“We were thinking about the landscape of the Bay Area and conceptualizing ideas,” Scott recalls. Fully designed but unbuilt, their theoretical Fog House melded modern architecture with a response to San Francisco’s renowned climate condition.
Success in various competitions such as the MoMA PS1 Young Architect Program prompted the growth and reputation of the all-star duo. At a smarter-living installation in Germany, IwamotoScott debuted their Jellyfish House—a project designed to utilize wastewater. Early on, the partners also designed Voussoir Cloud, a staggering composition of vaults and arches in laminated wood at the SCI-Arc Gallery. “We were getting things out there,” Iwamoto says of the time period.
Within the same year that the firm built its first commission, a 1,000-square-foot guest house, IwamotoScott claimed an Interior Design Best of Year Award for a San Francisco commercial building lobby which showed off a ceiling resembling a waterfall of lanterns.
Looking for a studio to help establish their firm, Iwamoto and Scott ingeniously traded the cost of rent and operating space for the redesign of a 1940s warehouse for the interactive media company, Obscura Digital.
IwamotoScott’s later projects have now become some of the firm’s most recognized work. Selected for their “material sensibility and detail level,” they designed the San Francisco office of Bloomberg R&D, Michael Bloomberg’s tech hub. In 2015, the firm incorporated articulated ceilings and organizing central stairways at the Pinterest headquarters in New York and San Francisco.
Recently, the firm has expanded interests into designing homes. Working from a 3,000-square-foot office in Potrero Hill with a committed crew of 12 employees, the firm has designed a lakeside house in Napa and is currently stretching its scale with Portola Housing, a city block dense with single-family dwellings plus three apartment buildings.
For more information on the duo, check out the article in full here.