New York City-based architect Fauzia Khanani launched her practice, Fōz Design, just four short years ago but right out of the gate, she established herself and settled right in amongst the long-time veterans in the game. With a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a background in sociology and public health, her multidisciplinary practice covers the gamut – architecture, interior design, and furniture design – with residential, commercial office, and public projects that span from New York to California. Here, the young architect gives us insight into what keeps her creativity on point, in this week’s Friday Five.
When I was in grade school, my father came home from a trip to Europe and brought back Swatch watches as a gift for each of my siblings and me. Back then, we lived in North Carolina and weren’t really exposed on a daily level of what was happening in the world of design and fashion during the 80’s. The watches were a combination of toy, personal luxury item and high fashion and design. They felt like the epitome of what we thought of as “European”. They were so fun and graphic, combined with innovative design and tactile experience. I’ve only worn a Swatch since then.
2. Richard Neutra
A founder of the International Style and mid-century modern architecture in the US, Richard Neutra is a source of inspiration in my architectural practice. Most equate him with the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs but I’ve always been drawn to some of his lesser known projects such as the modest Miller House, also in Palm Springs, and the largely unknown Windshield House that once existed on Fishers Island but was ruined in a fire. Neutra was well known for understanding his clients on a very personal level and addressing their actual needs through the built environment. He often administered questionnaires to clients as a source of discovery (which is something we practice due to my background in sociology). This was in contrast to many of the architects of his time who more or less imposed their artistic visions on clients. It was about the clients not him.
3. Goldsworthy Sketch
In our office hangs a framed Andy Goldsworthy sketch of a proposed landscape project which was unbuilt. When I happen to look up from my computer, it’s in direct view and a reminder for me to pull away from my keyboard and pick up a pencil to hand sketch. The forms and textures in the drawing are gestural and organic – something hard to produce on a computer. There is something profound about transferring ideas in your head to paper by way of hand and something lost when it’s solely done via technology.
4. The Temple of Dendur
One of my favorite spots in New York City, The Temple of Dendur, is located in the Sackler Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s an actual Egyptian temple that was rebuilt in the museum. Though always full of tourists and never dead silent, it has an aura that bends time and space. Not to mention it’s a great place to sketch.
5. Cannondale Road Bike
I bought my first road bike in early 2014 in anticipation of riding along the California coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles for a charity ride sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation. My bike has not only proven to be an effective way to work out and get me out of the office but it’s also been a mode to explore and see places from a different perspective. Roads that I’ve driven on hundreds of times look totally different from a bicycle. I can actually slow down or pull over with ease to check out architecture, geography, wildlife, etc. It’s provided me with new windows to the everyday world. On the California ride last year, we saw migrating whales on multiple days!
Photos 2-5 by Fauzia Khanani.