Powers of observation may be an architect's most underrated skill. For New York City-based Leven Betts Studio, thedesign of meaningful spaces that bring people into an active relationship with architecture requires finding and inscribingin space the physical marks and temporal patterns of our daily lives. Above all, their work is focused on an individual's experience of a space with particular attention to how we navigate our surroundings. Their intense scrutiny of site and programa process related to author William Gibson's notion of "pattern recognition"allows them to take advantage of certain site-specific cues. It inspired, for example, their decision to allow the direction of crop lines in the landscape to guide the design of a 2,000-square-foot upstate New York weekend home. It is visible in the Mixed Greens art gallery in Chelsea, New York, where five irregularly placed beam-and-column structures inspired their design of a zigzagging suspended ceiling that glows.
Leven Betts: Pattern Recognition features 18 projects from the firm's critically acclaimed first decade. The diverse portfolio of projects run the gamut in scale from furniture and exhibition design to townhouse and city plans. Well grounded in the realities of constructionLeven's resume includes a stint in a metal fabrication shop, while Betts spent two years as a project manager at a construction firmthe spare but elegant work of Leven Betts Studio is characterized by a distinctive blend of materials, light, and texture. Featuring numerous photos, drawings, and diagrams, Leven Betts: Pattern Recognition invites architecture professionals and students to explore a unique design process and discover their own powers of observation.