Cocktails and Conversations: The Book

It’s a simple enough concept: Invite 100 architects to AIANY’s Center for Architecture.

Introduce a bartender. Have him mix a drink, explain it in detail and share it with the audience.

Then introduce a world famous architect and a well-known journalist – and let them talk to one another.

No lectures. No pedagogy. No theories. Just cocktails and conversation, on Friday night in Manhattan.

“I think what everybody wants to know is how architecture gets done,” says Abby Suckle, who dreamed it all up. “How did they get there? What they have to say – what insights do they have to add to discussion about where we are in the world?”

It’s been happening every other month for six years now – 40 sessions featuring architects like Jeanne Gang, David Adjaye, Frank Harmon and the late Hugh Hardy. Plus journalists like Justin Davidson, William Menking and Andrew Sorkin.

And the occasional client, though not often. “Those are usually a love fest, so it’s not as insightful,” she says. “But some are interesting – they tend to be not quite as provocative.”

No surprise here – the writers actually bring something to the table. “The journalists’ discussion is important, because architects don’t often ask intelligent questions,” she says. “Usually, they lecture – but this is a much richer opportunity to find out how designs get implemented.”

And, just in time for the holidays, Suckle and cohort William Singer have compiled all 40 sessions into a book by the same name: Cocktails and Conversations.

Their titles range from Into the Fray to Made to Measure to The Space Between to How Architecture Saved My Life. They’re all in first-person, and they’re all intriguing.

The only drawback? You have to mix your own drink.

But thankfully, the recipes are all there.

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