Occupation A founding principal of Elkus Manfredi Architects
Residence South End
With Fan Pier, your firm has basically created an entirely new neighborhood. What’s your ultimate vision for the urban design?
My thoughts about the waterfront Innovation District are making it a truly mixed-use environment for a very diverse group. Meaning that it’s a place to visit restaurants and shops, as well as the convention center and hotels. It’s a place to work. I think what would really make the whole Seaport District come alive is more people living here and as diverse a mix of people as possible. What’s incredible to me is that we’re participating in the building of a neighborhood almost in the heart of a city that’s not a new city.
I was very skeptical when plans stalled. Now it’s coming to life. Were you feeling skeptical at any point?
Impatient, I would say. There were many tipping points with highways and the convention center and the ICA that made this happen. One of the most incredible projects in my career was Liberty Wharf. It’s a small project but its impact is way beyond what I ever imagined. I thought this would be a nice little project, but what it did was change people’s perception about what’s close and what’s far. What was far now seems so much closer.
How do you feel about being a pioneer of the mustache?
I’ve had a mustache since I was in college. I don’t even think about it, because it’s been a part of what I expect to see in the mirror every morning. But I laugh when you say that because I’ve gone through many different cycles of when a mustache was popular and unpopular. — C.M.Interview has been condensed and edited. E-mail comments to email@example.com.