The Architectural League Questionnaire: Roberto de Leon, Jr. and M. Ross Primmer

The Architectural League Questionnaire: Roberto de Leon and M. Ross Primmer

Roberto de Leon and M. Ross Primmer are the founders of de leon and primmer architecture workshop.  They received the League’s Emerging Voices Award in 2011.  Click here to read the interview.


What word or phrase do you most overuse?

RP: Suspend your belief system – what we have to remind ourselves and remind our clients of constantly

If you could have designed any building in the world, what would it be?

RP: To design the perfect box – that kind of simplicity


What typeface most represents you?

RP: Ariel and Helvetica…they are architectural and ubiquitous, but they have become so tiresome, so we like 20th Century MT and Franklin Gothic Book

RD: Recently we’ve liked Courier


What is your favorite airport?

RD: Zurich – it is just so rational and ordered

RP: Every material meets the next material perfectly


What is the one thing you always pack when you travel?

RD: I’ve gotten in trouble for this – we almost always travel just carrying a briefcase – even for longer international trips, and apparently someone with my name is on the government watch list – it always seems suspicious and I’ve been detained before

RP: I just use my laptop case

RD: But for an item, jeans


What architect from the past do you most admire?

RD: Kahn

RP: Across the board


What is your favorite city or town?

RD and RP: Rome


If you could own any masterpiece of art, what would it be?

RD: How about the town of Marfa


What book has had the most influence on you?

RD: The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths by Rosalind Krauss


What is the last song or album you listened to?

RD: The new album from Junip

RP: Everything bossanova


What is your favorite piece of clothing?

RD: Jeans


Name one obsessive architect behavior that you have.

RD: Alignment – on our table everything has to be squared – even if there is some unruly pile everything is aligned to the table edge

RP: For me it is the enfilade – where space axially constricts and opens in sequence and there is this endless elegant progression

RD: We always joke in the office that Ross is about to try the very dangerous triple enfilade

RP: I would also die happy if I could do the enfilade in the X, Y, and Z planes


What is your idea of misery?

RP: Anything administrative or contractual

RD: Mine is billing


What is your idea of happiness?

RP: The day or two before you give the key to the client when you can walk around when it is done and you see that the way the light is hitting the wall is the way you thought it would and everything feels (A) better than you thought it would be and (B) better than you had even hoped for

RD: For me it is hitting the snooze button and being awake enough to know you are able to hit the snooze button


If you weren’t an architect, what would you be?

RD: Film director

RP: Marine biologist