Gensler is one of those architecture firms you hear about regularly as they’re busting at the seams with superb talent and incredible projects. Architect Jordan Goldstein is one of those people, whose career with the firm now spans two decades. The Washington, DC native earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Maryland, College Park before heading to the University of Pennsylvania to receive his Master of Architecture degree. After going to work at Gensler in 1996, his projects have landed him various awards and recognition in numerous publications, including Interior Design, Fortune, US News, and The Washington Post. Goldstein has twice been recognized as one of the city’s most influential business leaders by the Washington Business Journal in their “Power 100” list. When he’s not designing any number of structures, he’s Gensler’s managing director of the 400-person Washington, DC office and the co-regional managing principal of Gensler’s Southeast US region. For this week’s Friday Five, Goldstein shares five things that drive his creativity.
1. Japanese Architecture
When I was in grad school, I had the chance to study traditional Japanese architecture overseas with a Japanese master. We traveled throughout the country, often staying in old ryokans and Shinto temples, sleeping on tatami mats in spaces defined by shoji screen walls. It was an eye-opening experience that gave me a deep appreciation of many of the attributes of traditional Japanese architecture: light and shadow and an understanding of the fluidity of spaces from one to another. The simplicity of the buildings and attention to detail all had a profound effect on me. I’ve found that the inspiration from the trip so long ago regularly seeps into my conceptual design work at Gensler.
2. Rappahannock County, Virginia
While growing up in Maryland, my family would often retreat to Western Pennsylvania for some down time. A few years ago, I built a country retreat in the Virginia mountains for my family to do the same. Whenever we go there, time seems to slow down. The rolling fields, flanking mountains, and abundance of greenery offer a break from the urban action and provide the zen moments for our family.
3. PRS Guitars
I have a love of acoustic and electric guitars as both art and instrument. This appreciation began nearly 10 years ago when I realized my neighbor, Parthenon Huxley, was the lead guitarist for the Orchestra (the current incarnation of ELO). He taught me how to play guitar and understand how the components of the guitar work together. I find daily inspiration from a handcrafted Paul Reed Smith (PRS) S2 guitar. PRS makes beautifully crafted guitars not far from my home outside of Washington, DC. The figured wood, perfectly placed inlays, and gloss finish work together to create an instrument that is just as great to look at as it is to play.
I knew I wanted to be an architect when I was five, and I credit LEGO with having a lot to do with this decision (and my parents for buying them). I love that fact that you can start with a pile of various sized pieces and random colors and, after a few minutes, create a structure. Throughout the years, I often tinker with LEGO bricks when thinking about new design ideas. One of the things I love about LEGO is that they allow anyone to build. My younger daughter and I built a model together of our country house prior to its completion. It allowed me to have a great bonding moment with her and simultaneously have a visual dialogue about space and geometry.
5. BMW i8
I’m a car nut. I find so much inspiration in the design of cars, especially BMWs. What I love about automobile design is the need to solve for so many challenges in one object and to do so in a very sculptural manner. When done right, form and function flow together in a seamless way and create dynamic sculpture in motion. For me, BMW’s new i8 model is a perfect example of this.