Brad Cloepfil and his firm, Allied Works Architecture, have designed buildings throughout the United States, from Portland’s Wieden+Kennedy building to the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Before a wide-ranging conversation with his friend and fellow Portland resident, filmmaker Gus Van Sant, he talked art, naps, and coffee in the green room.
Q. What’s hanging on your living room walls?
A. I just bought a Richard Serra print. I met him in St. Louis-he’s been an influence [on me]. And Portland artists. And a piece by L.A. artist Peter Alexander. I just re-hung everything, which is why I can answer that question.
Q. What do you love to hate?
A. Obstructionist politicians-without naming parties-who take a position only to serve themselves, not the greater good. … I could really go on on that one!
Q. What’s your favorite plant or flower?
A. When I was in 6th grade I did botany drawings-I wanted to be a botanist. Historically its always been irises, different species of irises.
Q. When’s the last time you took a nap in the middle of the day?
A. I wish I could’ve taken one today! More and more, it’s like any time I can, just to gather my strength.
Q. What makes you feel guilty?
A. I don’t know if I have a tremendous amount of guilt. Good old Methodists, I think we’ve been purged of that. Not calling my mother enough-that would be the universal guilt of all of us.
Q. What’s something you wish more people knew about or understood?
A. Politics and the economy.
Q. How do you take your coffee?
A. Black. I still prefer regular coffee black over anything else, even though I live in Portland.
Q. Describe yourself in five words or less.
A. Introspective, private, devoted, committed, and aspiring.
Q. Where’s your favorite place to shop?
A. John Varvatos.
Q. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
A. I don’t know how crazy I am. … I would say recently having two offices, one in New York, one in Portland. That’s crazy enough, it turns out.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A. Wait, and listen.
Q. How long can you go without checking your e-mail?
A. Depends on where I am. In the city, every five minutes-probably less than that actually. Get me out in the country, and I don’t need it.
*Photo by Aaron Salcido.