by AIA New York Chapter
As Associate Partner at Richard Meier & Partners Architects, Renny Logan’s stewardship of distinguished modern buildings is unique for its advancement of a rigorous architectural language that emphasizes transformation of setting, order and composition of program solutions, manipulation of natural light, meticulous material assembly, and integral environmental performance. Logan’s design philosophy, methodology, and influence have evolved over three decades in important design roles at Richard Meier & Partners and at Gwathmey Siegel. He methodically shepherds project design in an interdisciplinary approach from conception to technical refinement and disciplined execution. His work continues to enrich the culture and consistency of the practice, and has earned him eleven AIA design awards.
The 2017 Jury of Fellows of the AIA elevated Logan to its prestigious College of Fellows in the first category of Fellowship, which recognizes architects who have “Promoted the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession,” according to the organizations’s definition. Now among the AIA membership’s three percent distinguished with Fellowship and honorary Fellowship, Logan was recognized at the New Fellows Reception hosted by AIA New York in March and was honored further at an investiture ceremony at the recent AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 in Orlando.
Q: What is your earliest memory of experiencing architecture?
A: I grew up scrambling around ½ framed houses in a southern suburban neighborhood that was constantly under construction. It was like playing inside giant dinosaur skeletons, with the smell of lumber and dirt in the air. The finished products were disappointing because they didn’t have the same craft and “depth” of their underlying framework. At 18, my interest in modern architecture was piqued by Harry Wolf’s courthouse in nearby Charlotte, N.C., and then the 1976 Richard Meier monograph from Oxford Press. Those houses were so beautiful and inspiring.
Q. What is your proudest achievement as an architect?
A: I’m grateful for opportunities to advance the firm’s distinguished body of modern architecture across a range of scales and building types, and in various meaningful cultural circumstances. In Barcelona we reinvigorated an important neighborhood with the strategic insertion of the MACBA. The D’Amato Courthouse was an early and notable modern reinterpretation of the traditional courthouse in GSA’s Design Excellence Program. Weill Hall at Cornell is the first time I left a building perhaps more proud of the environment, relationships, and research we were enabling than the “thing” we left behind.
Q: Who do you most admire?
A: So many figures past and present, across a range of fields and for different reasons, have flourished in exceptional circumstances. I most admire those who quietly manage to do extraordinary work with seemingly ordinary or even handicapped opportunities. The architects who come to mind have strong regional roots that have inspired a body of work with a certain economy of means like Marlon Blackwell, Rick Joy, and WG Clark. It is no accident that most of them are notable and generous educators as well.
Q: What are you working on right now, or what is your next big project?
A: One Waterline Square is a residential tower in a planned development around its own urban park on the Upper West Side. We are collaborating with other notable design architects KPF and Viñoly on the last open site at the southern end of Riverside Boulevard. It is one of our first tall towers in New York, and the project will be a vibrant new community encouraged by the ambitious design standards of a great client and team.
Q: What does being a Fellow mean to you?
A: I’m humbled among such distinguished company, and feel awkward being recognized as an individual within a profession that requires such collaboration and teamwork. I am privileged and grateful for the unusual opportunities at Richard Meier & Partners, and blessed with many great mentors, colleagues, and teams over the years who made the work what it is. Fellowship will challenge me to more consciously give back not only to my colleagues here, but to the profession and the public over the next decade.
Editors’ Note: This feature is part of a series celebrating the 18 members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York Chapter that have been elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2017, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to both the profession and society. Learn more about Fellowship here.