Brad Cloepfil, AIA, NCARB, is the fall 2011 Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor of Architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.
Cloepfil studied architecture at the University of Oregon and went on to earn an advanced degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. After more than a decade of work and teaching in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, and Switzerland, he founded Allied Works Architecture in his native Portland, Oregon, in 1994. The New York City office followed in 2003.
Cloepfil's earliest influences lay outside the field of architecture. While studying at the University of Oregon, he drew inspiration from the vast landscape and monumental works of civil engineering in the Pacific Northwest. While studying in New York he was introduced to the simple yet profoundly resonant gestures of land and installation artists of that time. His body of work is as informed by the land and the history of place as it is by formal training, and it is one that cuts a clear line through much of the infatuation with rhetoric and formal novelty surrounding the practice today. The approach to design combines a research-intensive focus on the specific character of each project with an understanding of the profoundly affecting possibilities of building. In addition to leading all aspects of creative work at Allied Works, Cloepfil has held guest professorships and given talks on the work throughout North America and Europe.
In 2000, Terence Riley, a leading architecture critic and former chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, identified Cloepfil as an architect who is "setting the pace for the future" in the compendium of contemporary architecture, 10x10, published by Phaidon Press. Riley believes Cloepfil's work "has a certain assuredness and grace that comes from an intimate knowledge of materials and constructive possibilities" and that "his natural tendency is to fulfill the potential of any theoretical project, to realize it in such a way as to test and perfect the building art."
In 2007, Metropolis' Andrew Blum noted Brad as being "an elementalist in an architecture culture in which image is king ... a leading American architect of a new type: not a showman or a theorist, not a regionalist or a corporate architect, but a high-art practitioner with a burgeoning reputation for powerful, if subtle, buildings."
Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic of the Los Angeles Times, identified Cloepfil as a '2011 Face to Watch in the Arts' along with two other international architects.