F5: Eran Chen Shares a Favorite Painter, His 4-Legged Child + More
Architect Eran Chen established ODA in 2007, and has earned a reputation for designing mold-breaking structures meant to deliver a better urban future. In the past decade alone, he’s completed more than 50 buildings, becoming one of the most prolific architects in New York while doing so.
Eran’s mom seemed to all but predict his eventual career during his childhood. “When I was around 12 years old, I sat down and drew my family’s living room, in perspective view. The drawing captured everything, the windows, furniture, and accessories. When my mom saw it, she said, “Eran, you’re going to grow up to be an architect,” and I guess that really stuck with me. Over the years I thought about going into medicine or psychology, but something always brought me back to architecture. It was my destiny.” Eran’s also quite musical, and jokes that his mom must not have seen a career as a rockstar in his future!
“For me, architecture isn’t just work, it really is my life. So, I never fully switch from one to the other,” he shared. “I do, however, need mental breaks from time to time, and spending time with my family is my favorite way to do that. We’re fortunate enough to have a house in upstate New York and every Friday night, we drive up there for the weekend. The time in the car is perfect to make the mental shift, and once we get there, we’ve left our city lives (and worries) behind.”
Recent projects include the renovation of the former Postkantoor in Rotterdam, an urban plan in Chicago, and the conversion of a defunct parking garage into a public park and class A office building in Buenos Aires. His writings on architecture have been published in Unboxing New York and in ODA: Office of Design and Architecture, which features notable projects from Eran’s portfolio and the firm’s range in architecture – from apartments to buildings to neighborhoods.
“No ideas should be cherished as works of art unless they are,” he said. “That’s how our process unfolds at ODA: we start off with so many ideas, then we test and scrutinize them, without having an attachment until they form into the pieces of art they’re meant to be.”
Eran’s work has been widely published and recognized by the AIA, the Society of American Registered Architects, and others. In addition to guest lecturing globally, he’s also an Adjunct Professor at both Columbia University and New York University.
This week, Eran Chen is joining us for Friday Five!
It’s an authentic, family-owned and run Italian restaurant that’s my go-to in my neighborhood. I love it when the family speaks Italian in the restaurant. The food is simple, so the quality really shines through. It’s off the beaten path and a hidden gem, since most of the restaurant is on the second level.
2. Marco Grassi
Marco is a young artist from Italy, who creates hyper-realistic oil paintings. I have several of them in my loft. His work reminds me of the old Dutch masters, every work is a masterpiece. Each of his paintings takes up to four years to complete – and it’s worth the wait.
3. The Whitney
The Whitney Museum on the High Line in New York is my favorite museum – and one of my favorite urban experiences. Renzo Piano’s design feels like a natural extension of the High Line, combining views of the city, the Hudson River, and of course, the art. I love how you make your way down the museum through outdoor terraces, it’s truly a perfect integration of the urban environment.
4. My Brown Lab, Boo
My fourth child, not in importance but in age. He’s the only one in my house who doesn’t criticize me or ask me for anything… except food.
5. Small Ceramic Homes
I have these 6 tiny white ceramic homes that were made by a craftsman in Tbilisi, Georgia. They each have either a small light inside or a chimney made to hold incense, so that at night they emanate a small glow.
Work by Eran Chen + ODA:
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