Local architect displays work in MCASD exhibit

Canadian-born architect Jennifer Luce established Luce et Studio Architects in San Diego in 1990. The studio is a collaborative laboratory that focuses on innovative responses to design challenges at all scales. Passionate about research, new technologies, materials and a strong philosophy about art in architecture, the work defies classification and explores innovation. The firm’s cross-disciplinary approach promotes dialogue that sparks original solutions to each project.

Luce received her bachelor of architecture degree from Carleton University, Canada, and her master of design studies degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She teaches a design studio at Carleton, is a member of the alumni council at Harvard and is on the board of the SD Architectural Foundation.

Luce et Studio has received a Business Week Award for Design Innovation and has received 17 Design Awards from the American Institute of Architects.

Luce’s work is currently featured in the exhibition titled “MIX: Nine San Diego Architects and Designers,” which is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MCASD) La Jolla location through Sept. 6.

What brought you to La Jolla?

I moved to La Jolla sight unseen from Canada in 1987. My intuition was that La Jolla would be a remarkable place to build - a life and an architecture.

What is your favorite architectural structure in La Jolla?

Salk Institute (Louis Kahn) and the Neurosciences Institute (Tod Williams and Billie Tsien) are two of the most significant buildings in this country. I live in a Russell Forester, my hometown favorite. His work is thoroughly modern and full of La Jolla light. (No pun intended.)

Is “MIX” the first exhibition you’ve ever been involved in?

This is the first exhibition for us at this scale. Not many museums celebrate architecture and design. I have always believed that architecture fused with art produces something beyond imagination. Thanks to MCASD, we can have a dialogue about that subject with our community.

What architect most inspires you?

The Italians win hands down. I am on my way to northern Italy to make a pilgrimage to the work of Carlo Scarpa (1940s) and Renzo Piano (contemporary), who are both men I admire greatly for design genius and their not-so-common “quiet” attitude about building.

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

A ballet dancer. Well, maybe a retired ballet dancer now.

What are you currently reading?

Today, in fact; “Wings of a Dove” (Henry James) and “In the Comfort of Strangers” (Ian McEwan). I read fiction when travelling to help find the soul of a “place.” This time, it’s Venice. At home, I always read the New York Times.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

As my friends know well, I invite eight and somewhere along the line 20 really special people show up, so that is a tough question for me. Although pondering an elaborate list would be fun, friends and family would always win out. Christine Forester is a must-have guest.

What do you do for fun?

I love to travel, searching for beautiful, inspiring things to hopefully fill our minds with innovation and thoughtfulness.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Being able to burnish the names of 236 exceptional people on the floor of our MCASD show; people who, in my career, I have worked with, for, alongside of or made friends with. That makes me happy.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

I only now feel even close to being able to articulate that kind of thing. In work, we question convention, seek to simplify complexity and ensure that “God is in the details” of the lives we touch. I think that might be how I want to live life. Thanks for making me ponder that question.