A Bridge to the Future

The Making of an Architect



A question I am often asked is when I knew I wanted to be an architect. Unlike many other professions or businesses, I suppose people see architects as having a calling to do what they love. So it’s often interesting to hear how that spark was first ignited, and I’ve heard great stories from some of my colleagues. For me it started on a bridge.


I grew up in suburban Philadelphia, my mom was from Forest Hills, Queens, and her whole family was still in that area. So we often went to visit my grandparents, and other relatives for weekends. I always loved those trips, it was a pretty raucous New York Jewish family, and I was also dazzled by our trips into the city to see the sights and the big buildings. To get to Queens from Pennsylvania in the early 60’s you drove through the Lincoln Tunnel, across town, and through the Midtown Tunnel into Queens.


When I was 9 years old, my parents left me to spend a week with my grandparents, and they were to bring be back home the following week. Instead of the usual route, my grandfather took us over a new bridge from Brooklyn to Staten Island that had just opened, the Verrazano Bridge. I was in the back seat and awed by the scale and simple grandeur of this new bridge. It was then that I first recalled thinking I wanted to be an architect. OK, I was 9, I didn’t know that most bridges aren’t designed by architects, but there must have been the realization that designing structures was something I wanted to do.

To this day, I’m inspired and get a special pleasure driving over that mighty bridge.