This week I got in touch Tim Seggerman of the Tim Seggerman Design and Building Workshop in New York and asked the designer about his influences and outlook:
“I carry my inspirations with me all the time, though by now they’re mostly hidden from view. I came to architecture and building through art and still believe that Richard Serra, Donald Judd, Gordon Matta Clark and the like are the great architects post Kahn, not the Gehrys, Hadids or Koolhaas’. I adore Aalto, Barragan and Le Corbusier above all. I look to Japan and Northern Europe for aesthetic models, in addition to barns, vernacular structures and pretty much everything that everyday folks ingeniously cobble together. I grew up in a house designed by Antonin Raymond, the founder of Japanese modernism, whose raw, simple Japanese clarity surely influenced me more than anything. Raymond enabled the release of George Nakashima from the internment camps, bringing him to Bucks County, PA, where they set up studios (and where I grew up). Legend has it that the circular stair on which I trod to my bedroom was built by Nakashima.
“I like ideas in their raw state before they’re cooked, not to mention overcooked. Clients generally ask for cooked, with spices and expensive ingredients. My philosophy is to look to do the opposite, placing humble materials with care, engendering their eloquence. John Lennon once spoke of blues music being equivalent to
a simple chair, saying that you can make a zillion fabulist iterations of that chair (or the blues), but none will ever come close to the chair’s lean, lyrical grace. In a nut shell, that’s what I’m after.”
“I believe in houses more than buildings; the simpler the house the better. Houses (as opposed to buildings) are used intimately, every second of the day, so you really have to do things properly, make deft moves without pretense or show. I’m presently working a house in the country that, aside from the framing, I’m happily building all by my lonesome. I’m out there there a couple of days a week, giving new meaning to ‘slow building’. It’s a fantastic way to work through ideas, make a few mistakes and find answers not evident initially. I’m using this personal project to see how raw and pared down I can get yet still seem ‘just right’ as if meant to be.
“Wood is for sure the dream material, the most versatile, beautiful and enduring. This house will be entirely made of pine, Douglas-fir and cypress with a dash of rock/plaster but all with a very light touch avoiding the weight of heavily timbered places. Houses, to me, are more beautiful before all the finishes are applied, when anything is possible.”
On the Workshop
“In one sense [the Tim Seggerman Design and Building Workshop] is a one-person company, certainly design wise, but I work closely with (and deeply respect) woodworkers, carpenters, masons, really all the trades. On very small jobs I might do a good portion of the wood working, refining all the while. Generally, I have a few core guys I work with. My stuff is highly crafted with all the detail in the precision and care of assemblage.”
You can find more pictures and information about the Tim Seggerman Design and Building Workshop at http://timseggerman.com/