The Pro Questionnaire is a new series in which we ask architects and designers about their likes, dislikes, beginnings, and innermost personalities.
Perhaps a universal truth in design: It takes a lot of effort to make work that looks effortless. Architect Roger Ferris knows this all too well. “Chaos made me want to become an architect,” says the founding principal, whose firm has offices in Connecticut and New York. “I see the built environment as being very chaotic and want to bring order to and resolve it.” Resolution, though, is not to be confused with adherence to a strict set of design rules. Ferris takes creative risks, playing with scale and materiality to create highly detailed projects that look, well, easy. His art gallery, garage, and pool house extension to Philip Johnson’s 1953 Wiley House (as seen in AD, June 2018) is both contextual and contemporary, while a new-build artist’s studio and home extends the use of red siding to all surfaces (garbled roof included) of a structure in the shape of a traditional New England barn. “You practice to practice,” says Ferris, who has 30 years of experience under his belt. “If you want to reinvent a material or redesign a form, you have to take chances. Out of it comes something artful.”
Ferris designed an art gallery, garage, and pool house extension for the 1953 Wiley House by Philip Johnson, which thoughtfully references and contrasts the original home, a sister to Johnson’s renowned Glass House.
What made you want to become an architect?
Before becoming one, what do you wish someone had told you?
I would never sleep again.
If you weren’t an architect, what would you be?
A lounge singer, because I like music.
How do you celebrate finishing a job?
Taking a deep breath.
How can you tell when a client is happy?
When they are talking to me.
How can you tell when a client is NOT happy?
When they stop talking to me.
What was the last thing you bought for yourself?
If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy everyone?
An Airstream trailer.
Chances are you just Googled…
It’d be too soon if you never saw another…
If you had to spend the rest of your life in one place, where would it be?
Where I am.
What movie could you watch over and over again?
Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
What is the best design or architecture book you have ever read?
Architecture Depends by Jeremy Till.
If you could meet any famous person, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would ask Mies van der Rohe for a cigarette.
What ties together a room?
What is the best thing about your hometown?
The best thing about Westport is that it is artistic.
What do you believe is revolutionizing design and where will it be in 10 years?
Glass is revolutionizing design. Ten years from now you’ll be able to walk through it.
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