Chicago-based architect Paul Preissner established his firm in 2006. RECORD asked him five questions about his work in preparation for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Scroll through the slideshow above to see some of his key projects.

Architectural Record: Tell us about your practice. What differentiates you from other firms?

Paul Preissner Architects is a pretty good American architecture office from Chicago, Illinois. The studio is an ideas workshop where imagination and crude experimentation are used to create unique social spaces characterized by weird juxtapositions, plain materials, and an economy of form. Our architecture makes the ordinary strange.

How do you get into the creative headspace?

I hang out with my two kids a lot; talking with them about kid things and drawing through worlds with markers and crayons helps a bit. I also like to be alone and just walk around anonymous parts of the city. When I travel, I really like to just walk around places at night by myself.

Who are your design heroes?

I switch between having a lot and having none. I really like Lina Bo Bardi—I think I’ve still never figured out her work and wish that I could. I also like Kazuyo Sejima a lot right now. But I like everyone.

What do you hope to contribute to the Chicago Biennial?

I’m again working with Paul Andersen, and together were building some heavy glazed tile walls in a long first floor gallery. The space is getting divided up by these stuttering things. Its a bit anonymous and the materials remind of a municipal swimming pool, so I hope that it leaves guests with an enjoyment of anonymous history and strange spatial compositions.

Most importantly, when it comes to pizza, deep dish or thin crust?

Thick crust. I think thin crust lovers seem scared of pizza.


The Chicago Architecture Biennial runs from September 19, 2017, to January 7, 2018. Read more of our coverage of the event here.