All posts by Scott Allen

About Scott Allen

Scott Allen earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University and Master of Architecture degree from Rice University in Houston, Texas. He worked for architecture firms in Santa Monica, Phoenix, Houston, and Chicago prior to coming to Centerbrook in 2005.

Architects on the Big Screen

When Hollywood requires a character who is intelligent but self-absorbed, attractive but socially awkward, dedicated to work but unhealthily consumed by it, it often casts an architect for the part.

What follows is the first installment in a series titled “The Architect, According to Hollywood.” Much like a crime scene investigator, I will construct a profile of a fictional architect using only the fleeting glimpses each movie gives regarding their work and artistic ideals.

Actor: The incomparable

First things first, Education: Most architects will fall over themselves to tell you where they went to school, especially a certain Ivy League school that my career preservation instincts stop me from naming. Bucking that trend, David Murphy confounds us initially during a flashback scene by wearing a Stanford shirt and an LSU hat. This would seem an unlikely path for a young designer in LA. It turns out to be a celluloid curveball: we learn later that David graduated top of his class from USC.

Next, Professional Life: As Demi Moore (his wife) states in one of her sultry narrations, David found employment with a small firm but yearned for something more. David elaborates, “I spent all of my free time working on a design of my own. It summed up everything about architecture that matters to me. It is my dream house.” It is here where moviegoers get a completely accurate portrayal of what architects do in their spare time away from the office: Continue reading Architects on the Big Screen

What I Learned from Video Games

I take a lot of heat around here for being in my 30s and still playing video games. An interest in gaming carries little to no cultural cachet amongst architects and designers. I don’t mind, though. My interests tend to run a little bit askew from those around me. In college, I resisted the black clothes and ironic eyeglasses popular in architecture school. While my peers were debating high culture, I was “modding” my computers and reading science fiction. Continue reading What I Learned from Video Games

Designing on the Fly

Center for Community "Working Wall"

Editor’s Note: Architect Scott Allen was a member of the Centerbrook design team led by partner Jim Childress for the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center for Community. Revit is the 3D modeling software that, along with other new technologies, has revolutionized how and where architectural design and planning can be conducted. Below, Scott recounts three days in the life of modern design, a frenetic hi-tech road trip that was preceded by three months of preliminary research and collaboration with the client and members of the widely dispersed design team. It would take several more months to finalize the planning for the 320,000-square-foot building, which opened last fall to critical acclaim both on and off campus.

CENTERBROOK, CT – March 4, 2008, 9:04 AM EST: Design charette with Jim. We (OK, mostly Jim) have sketched out about a dozen different ideas; thankfully, he settles on five. Peter and I have the rest of the day to lay them out floor by floor in Revit to confirm we’re in the client’s programmatic ballpark.

1:00 PM – Transcontinental GoTo Meeting with the Davis Partnership design team, our collaborators in Colorado, to discuss schedule, presentation materials, and evaluate various schemes – also to confirm we will have time in Denver to print drawings and construct massing models for the five building concepts. No way airport security will let us walk on board armed to the teeth with drawing tubes.

March 5, 4:15 AM – Leaving house to make flight to Denver

5:33 AM – Bradley Airport: Peter’s new pants still have price tags on them. I have an internal debate over whether to tell him. Continue reading Designing on the Fly