"At the helm of his own practice since 2009, Andrew Heid has translated his extensive work experience with Rem Koolhaas’s OMA and the New York office REX into a language all is own. Originally from rural Oregon, Andrew knows the importance of marrying design excellence with ecological compatibility. Retirement, at least that of his own parents, currently looms large on his agenda: he is designing the Aurora House, a one-story glass house-type home for his aging kin, with a view over protected Oregon wetlands.

HOW DID YOU START NOA?

NOA’s genesis was in graduate school at Princeton, as a play on “no office architecture.” Bob Hillier, our professional practice professor, asked us to come up with an office name for our business plan. The name stuck, although we have since dropped the acronym reference. I enjoy its ecological and messianic undertones. NOA is dedicated to the radical exploration of nature, ecology, and urbanism through innovative architecture.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK IN NEW YORK?

As an American who doesn’t drive, New York was the logical place. The trick to practicing in New York is not getting stuck doing interior renovations, cafes, or stores, but to do projects with envelope and geographic diversity.

WHY DO YOU LIKE WORKING ON YOUR OWN?

After working 16-hour days with Rem Koolhaas and getting licensed, there is no need to work for anyone else. Intellectually, the opportunity to teach only works when you control your schedule.

WHAT CURRENT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON:

A private garden in C.A., a small renovation in Pelham, N.Y., and the Aurora House in Oregon.

HOW WOULD DESCRIBE YOUR FIRM’S STYLE?

I abhor the idea of style and personal expression. I think it quickly dates work. However, given the scale of our practice, one cannot deny certain organizational and aesthetic proclivities in our work. So, to answer the question, stylistically it has been various parts Mies, OMA, and SANAA; the rule that formal simplicity is better than formal complexity in creating spatial complexities; off-the-shelf techniques used in unconventional ways. The work is fundamentally grounded in understanding how the world was organized in the past, how it’s organized in the present, and how it will be organized in the future.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

The Aurora House. It’s a house for my parents, and I guess, ultimately for my sister and myself.

WHO DO YOU ADMIRE OR WOULD MOST LIKE TO MEET?

Since I have met most of the living architects I admire, I guess the dead one: Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe…

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ARCHITECTURE PET PEEVE?

I’m ideologically against cars and everything that they have done to destroy architecture and urbanism.

WHAT ARE YOUR KEYWORDS FOR 2011?

Ecology, nature, urbanism.

IF YOU HADN’T BECOME AN ARCHITECT, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

When I was in elementary school I always wanted to be a scientist. And in college I thought that if architecture didn’t work out, I would be an artist"

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