Sharchitecture | On the Rise - Design Bureau

Photo: Lisa Predko

Sharchitecture | On the Rise

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

By Katie Mendelson

Name: Jacob Shapiro

Hometown: Evanston, Illinois

Occupation: Designer/ Builder/ Problem Solver

Background: Shapiro discovered architecture while in college at Princeton, and worked in construction as an architectural draftsman, post-graduation. “I decided pretty early on that I could figure out how to build whatever I wanted just by asking enough questions,” he says of his inquisitive nature. “So far, trial and error has worked out pretty well.”

Building A Business: The young designer started his Chicago-based design-build firm, Sharchitecture, in 2005, where he’s worked on a variety of projects, including a synagogue lectern and a produce stand. Shapiro puts dialogue at the forefront of his design process. “The final product is strongest if it comes from a place of dialogue instead of dogma,” he says.

Shark Bait: Though we wish we could say Shapiro’s firm name stems from a lifelong obsession with Jaws, he swears that’s not the case. Rather, the moniker was inspired by the tiger shark that hangs in the atrium of the Frist Campus Center at Princeton. “Sharchitecture represents an opposition to the paper architecture being taught to us at the time,” he says. “It stands for the practical, common sense, hands-on approach to problem solving through design, outside the ivory towers of theory and intellectualism.” Sharchitecture’s logo also represents the toothy predator: it’s a a quirky woodblock print of a shark he found in an old copy of Moby Dick.

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