There Is No Theory

A conversation with a well-known Architect-Developer Jonathan Segal about the evolution of his business model and the strategic advantages it gives him

There is No Theory

So you’re a real estate developer, but you want your work to be informed by the best that architecture has to offer. How do you do that? That’s what I wanted to know from Dr. Witold Rybczynski (pronounced “vee-told rib-chin-ski”). During his time as professor at the University of Pennsylvania school of architecture, he taught design to students at Penn’s Wharton School of Business. We dug deep into all he’d learned from 20 years of teaching that course, starting with a one-minute tour of how architecture has been taught over the years.

After we finished our main conversation, Dr. Rybczynski and I spent some time talking about the specifics of his design course for real estate students (other schools take note) and about the future of building materials and eco-sensitivity. I’ve posted those conversations separately in the links above to keep the main interview shorter, but these breakout conversations were fantastic as well.

Dr. Rybczynski is the author of 19 books and has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, New York Review of Books, Architect Magazine, and many others. In addition, he served as Slate’s official architecture critic for several years and continues to blog regularly on his website. I read the past 5 years worth of posts on his fantastic blog and especially enjoyed his posts on architectural curricula, learning design, and the architectural theory behind height limits.  Our interview wasn’t very biographical, but here’s a link to a great interview with him about his own life from another podcast (interview starts at about minute four). Hope you enjoy our chat!