Evan Jacob

When you were young, did you know you wanted to be an architect?

I have always been fascinated by buildings. When my parents remodeled their house, I saw the process all the way from architecture through construction. But I didn’t really know what architecture was until high school, when I went to a summer school in Southern California. They took us to the offices of Frank Gehry, Morphosis, Eric Owen Moss. These incredibly messy offices, lots of creativity, very loose, and just incredible work going on. That was definitely a pivotal moment for me, that program.

Architects who inspire you?

Peter Zumthor and Louis Kahn inform my work, I like to think, because their work is so calming and simple. Buildings don’t need to be complicated or loud or attention-grabbing, if they just boil down to what they really are. To me that’s really what architecture is.

How do you define great architecture?

I imagine someone standing at a bus stop every day, going home or going to work, and looking at the same building every day, and appreciating it immediately, but then every day noticing something new about it. There’s an elegance and a detail to a building that you can appreciate over and over again, without it shouting at you.

Passion outside architecture?

I like to ride motorcycles. I ride motorcycles to work every day, except when they’re in the shop. I live in Oakland, so I ride across the Bay Bridge. During the week it’s fine. The weekends, all bets are off. I also have an old BMW that I’m slowly restoring.

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