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Acts of Refuge

This month’s Cocktails and Conversations at the Center for Architecture was a tête-à-tête between Brad Cloepfil, AIA, principal of Allied Works Architecture, and David van der Leer, executive director of the Van Alen Institute. The conversation, accompanied by Toby Cecchini’s superb rhubarb-infused Plymouth dry gin cocktail designed especially for Cloepfil, revolved around places and spaces of introspection. “We don’t have them in our culture,” Cloepfil said.

Indeed, spaces that give a sense of refuge and filter out the cacophony of everyday life are quite scarce today. That is why Cloepfil’s works are so noteworthy. Inspired by vast landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, his buildings seek to reproduce the sense of awe and stillness found in the natural world.

Cloepfil runs offices on both sides of the continent and often finds himself on flights between Portland and New York. Bored of New York City Sunday brunches, Cloepfil seeks refuge in baking bread, cooking, hiking with his five-year-old daughter, smoking cigars, and, of course, sipping dry martinis.

The recipe, courtesy Toby Cecchini:

Cloepfil Rhubarb Gimlet
2 oz. Plymouth Gin
2 oz. rhubarb/vanilla syrup
1 oz. fresh lemon cordial

Mix ingredients in an ice filled shaker and shake until well-chilled and diluted. Double-strain into a stemmed cocktail or martini glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Having interned at cultureNOW, Rocker-Lange Architects, Kokkinou+Kourkoulas Architects, and taught at Boston Architectural College, Zhanina Boyadzhieva is currently in her thesis year at Harvard Graduate School of Design M.Arch I program.

Blanca Abramek is an M.Arch I candidate at MIT. She holds a B.A. in architecture and communication design from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently interning at cultureNOW and writing for Untapped Cities.

Event: Cocktails & Conversations
Location: Center for Architecture, 05.17.2013
Speakers: Toby Cecchini, Bartender and Author; Brad Cloepfil, AIA, Founding Principal and Lead Designer, Allied Works Architecture; David van der Leer, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute
Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director (introduction)
Organizer: cultureNOW and the AIANY Architecture Dialogue Committee
Media Sponsor: The Architect’s Newspaper