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Ross S. Anderson CdeP 1969 Designing Unique Places

by Jane D. McCarthy

­ nderson/Schwartz Architects for over a deA cade and having taught architectural design at Yale, Columbia, Carnegie-Mellon, and the Parsons School of Design. Although it is a firm of only 15 based in New York, AA has completed various diverse projects nationwide. Some examples of assignments: 1. Headquarters for Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) in Columbus, Ohio: Develop a master plan incorporating office space for designers, a distribution center, and parking on 300 acres while considering state-defined conservation zones and site-specific wildlife, highway access and future development. Understanding that the office has become more than just a place to work and emphasizing access to the landscape including several lakes, trails, and a forested site, AA designed a communal “street” (not named) to connect more than one-million square feet of design studios, offices, meeting facilities, gallery/exhibition space, distribuhe website consists of Dispation center, dining areas, and a rate Facts—a recipe for cowfitness facility. By incorporating boy coffee (brown gargle); by extensive and un-programmed counting cricket chirps for 15 secinformal spaces—both indoors onds and adding 37, one can apand outdoors, including fireproximate outdoor temperature places—along with open-air in degrees Fahrenheit; by weight, work environments with few there is more squid flesh on Earth walls and even fewer doors, than any other type. There are AA sought to inspire employSliding Images—flying machines, office space, ees and foster interactions within and between building exteriors, and people. And then there departments. “We designed unspecific spaces are Dissolving Words—utility, oasis, synergy, knowing that over time uses would be developtimism, vitality, essence, layers, and random. oped for them. This allowed Abercrombie to [] really complete the design themselves without us,” explains Ross. Designing multiple buildRandom? Yes, but these components represent ings that could twist and turn to fit the landwell how Anderson Architects (AA) approach scape also avoided extensive tree removal and projects. “Our website is similar to a deck of created lively spaces between the buildings. cards: shuffle it, deal it, and see what hand it yields. It will be different every time,” Ross Anderson reflects. “The words describe project features; the images are examples of projects or interesting concepts.” And the facts? “These random facts are similar to unexpected occurrences when designing a project. Instead of letting them derail our work, we try to incorporate them and enjoy the challenge that they offer to enhance the creative process.”

This campus has also helped A&F to recruit designers out of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York and transfer to Ohio. “If you look at A&F’s main covered indoor space, you’ll notice similarities with Thacher’s demolished Rough House, once my favorite building on campus,” Ross says. “It’s big, open-beamed, and rustic that yields a casual, playful place to hang out and yes…work; even the wooden stairway is reminiscent of the Rough House.” AA’s original design received the 2002 Business Week/Architectural Record award for achievement for successful collaborations between client and architect, design, and business along with several other awards. Presently AA is designing more office, retail, and design space to accommodate the expanded A&F product lines including Hollister (California-inspired, colorful, “surf and soul” wear) and Ruehl 925 (a more upscale “older” brand). The new spaces will further develop earlier building themes, materials, and color palette, and continue to


Ross founded ­ Anderson Architects in 1996, after having been a partner for Abercrombie & Fitch headquarters in Columbus, Ohio 20 The Thacher News

Fall 2005 - Winter 2006  
Fall 2005 - Winter 2006