James Saisakorn joined The Turett Collaborative in 2004 and was named a Partner, alongside Simeon Seigel and Alex Nizhikhovskiy, in early 2022. With expertise in commercial and residential design, James has been advancing the firm’s visions and practices for years, combining passion and experience to guide ambitious projects to completion.
Below, check out the second Q&A in our “Meet the Partners” Series.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE MATERIAL?
A: My all-time favorite material is poured in place concrete. It's hard to the touch but infinitely malleable. In fact, brutalist academic buildings from the 1960s and 1970s are what inspired me to become an architect.
Q: IF YOU COULD DESIGN IN A CITY OTHER THAN NEW YORK, WHERE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
A: I think I'd love to be an architect in London, since it is probably one of my favorite cities in the world. In a comparable way to New York, it's rich in historic context, but my sense is that
architects there are able to weave contemporary design into the existing historic fabric in a much more successful way. I also have the impression when I'm there that Londoner's have a greater appreciation for and insist upon commissioning great civic architecture. You don't see that as often in New York most likely because it is so expensive to build in this city.
Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT ARCHITECTURE?
A: Most people believe that an architect's job revolves simply around the design of spaces or buildings, but design is only 5-10% of what we do. On a typical day in the morning, I might be on the job site, examining the excavated bedrock that a project's foundations will be built on and, in the afternoon, I might be walking through potential clients through a luxury loft in Tribeca. Our work and expertise is so varied that every day seems like a new experience.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?
A: My dream project would be to design housing....on Mars! As primarily a residential architect, I will say that understanding a project's site characteristics is a critical factor in informing the design of a house. On Mars, the solar characteristics, climate, geology, and gravity would be completely different. I can't imagine a more interesting and potentially rewarding challenge than that!
Q: IF YOU WEREN’T AN ARCHITECT, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
A: I would be a chef. The culinary arts are equally as creative as the visual or performing arts. Like architecture, cooking is a process driven pursuit whose results can be a multisensory delight.
(photo by Mary Dorn)