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Exploring an Integrated, Humanistic Approach to Design




Podcast: 2006/7/10 - 21:52

Presenters: Krista Becker, AIA James Mary O’Connor, AIA John Ruble, FAIA & Buzz Yudell, FAIA



John Ruble, FAIA, is one of the founders of Moore Ruble Yudell. He began his career as architect and planner as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia—a profound experience in culture, climate, and place that has provided lasting influences on his work. With architect Jules Gregory, he designed a series of award-winning public schools and civic projects before moving to California in 1974. With architecture degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Mr. Ruble has also been active in teaching and research, leading graduate design studios at UCLA and Cornell University. At UCLA, he studied with Charles Moore, joining Moore and Buzz Yudell in partnership in 1977.

As principal-in-charge, his work has spanned many years of projects in Germany and Sweden, such as Tegel Harbor and the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, and Potatisåkern and Tango in Malmö, Sweden. He has also found great satisfaction in the firm’s long-term relationships with university campuses, such as University of California-Santa Cruz and the University of Washington’s new campus in Tacoma. As Moore Ruble Yudell’s portfolio has expanded into new areas of expertise—from laboratories to courthouses—Mr. Ruble has sought to make each work part of a broad, sustained exploration in the creation of place.

Buzz Yudell, FAIA, is one of the founding partners at Moore Ruble Yudell. His passion for architecture grew out of a synthesis of artistic and social concerns. At Yale University, his work in sculpture was complemented by his exploration of the sciences and humanities. Graduate study at Yale expanded these commitments from small constructions in situ to urban design, and this is where his long association with Charles Moore began. In 1977, Mr. Yudell joined Charles and John Ruble in a partnership based on shared humanistic values and a celebration of collaboration within the office and beyond to their clients and communities.

Mr. Yudell has collaborated intensively with John Ruble to expand the firm’s expression and expertise to campus, cultural, civic, and residential architecture. His commitment to creating humane places inspired by climatic and cultural understanding has informed the firm’s work at many scales. Mr. Yudell continues to be as interested in the design and crafting of lighting and furniture as in planning for urban infill or sustainable growth.

His strong interest in the house has helped to create a body of timeless residential work. As principal-in-charge, he has led projects in Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and throughout the United States. His interest in nurturing community has found fresh expression on numerous campuses, including the University of California-Los Angeles, the University of California-Santa Barbara, Cal Tech, University of Cincinnati, Dartmouth, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Throughout his career, teaching, research, writing, and community service have been critical to the evolution and exploration of the role of architecture in shaping and celebrating place and community.

Krista Becker, AIA, is LEED™ AP and principal at Moore Ruble Yudell. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California. She joined the firm in 2002, bringing extensive expertise in programming and space planning, design, and project management experience in large-scale civic, commercial, health care, master-planning, museum, and retail projects. As project manager for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, she has been responsible for overall project management and works directly with the client to establish project goals and objectives. She was executive project manager for the new City of Santa Monica Public Library.

Ms. Becker plays an important role in Moore Ruble Yudell’s in-house quality control process. She is directly involved in the project organization, multidisciplinary consultant coordination, specifications, detailing, value analysis, project budget, programming, and construction administration of a project. She is a registered architect in California and teaches at the University California Los Angeles Extension in the Construction Management Certificate Program.

James Mary O’Connor, AIA, is a principal at Moore Ruble Yudell. Born in Dublin, Ireland, Mr. O’Connor came to Charles Moore’s Master Studios at the University of California-Los Angeles in 1982 as a Fulbright Scholar. Mr. O’Connor received his bachelor of science degree in Architecture from Trinity College, Dublin; his diploma in architecture from the Dublin Institute of Technology; and his master of architecture degree from the University of California-Los Angeles.

As principal-in-charge, Mr. O’Connor has provided spirited design and project management for residential, academic, and mixed-use urban projects, including Kobe Nishiokamoto Housing in Japan; the Horace Mann Elementary School and the Fairmont Towers Hotel Addition in San Jose, Calif.; and the 606 Broadway housing complex in Santa Monica, Calif. International work has become a focus, with large-scale housing and planning projects such as the Potatisåkern and Tango projects in Malmö, Sweden; the Serendra mixed-use development in Manila, Philippines; ChunSenBian Housing in Chongqing, China; and Tianjin-Xinhe New Town in Tianjin, China. Mr. O’Connor’s interest in uncommon building types is reflected in the Sunlaw Power Plant Prototype in Los Angeles and in the Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Structure. With irrepressible energy, Mr. O’Connor has also led Moore Ruble Yudell teams in national and international design competitions, such as the Beijing Wanhao Century Center and the winning design for the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park, Md.

Over the past 15 years, Mr. O’Connor has taught design studios, lectured, and been invited as guest critic at numerous universities in the United States and abroad.

Beginning in the late 1970s with their partner and mentor Charles Moore, John Ruble and Buzz Yudell established a unique model of collaborative practice by bringing individual and community clients deeply into the design process.

A core group of principals and associates continues the firm’s commitment to an inclusive participatory practice with a vibrant, engaged staff. Together, they have shaped the firm's humanistic approach to design, translating their deep concerns for human habitation and interaction into the thoughtful development of unique solutions to an extraordinary range of places and projects.

Interpreting the role of architecture as a contributor to the more complex entity of place, and the role of design itself as intrinsic to the act of habitation, they have persisted in asserting the value of the human dimension at every scale, from single-family houses to community-based, mixed-use projects in a diversity of settings. While respecting the roots of place and context, and the needs of human habitation, Moore Ruble Yudell strives equally for authenticity and originality.

When honored by the American Institute of Architects with the 2006 Architecture Firm Award, Moore Ruble Yudell was cited for having “consistently produced an outstanding body of work rooted in a deep commitment to humanistic architecture.” The firm continues to evolve in response to new challenges and opportunities while remaining true to its founding principles.



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