Alexer Taganas, Assoc. AIA, is a designer in Austin. He works with Webber + Studio Architects and is a founding partner of the design collaboration Cumulous. Taganas worked previously with Sauerbruch Hutton and received a Master of Architecture from The University of Texas at Austin in 2011.
Where did you grow up?
My family immigrated from the Philippines when I was young, and we first settled in San Francisco then Sacramento. I moved to New York City to start my independent life and have done stints in London, Berlin, and now Austin.
If you had not studied architecture, what other profession would you have pursued?
I went to New York because I thought that, for me, it was either going be buildings or Broadway. I majored in engineering and dabbled in my school's music and theatre programs. I pursued both with varying degrees of success, but found a compromise at a summer Intro to Architecture studio, where I realized that I could nerd out on math and science while baring my soul to be judged by strangers.
Pen, pencil, or computer?
A fine ink pen and a very soft pencil to sketch. In my first semester at UT Austin, John Blood taught a technique where you lick your finger and smudge the line to create shade. It's disgusting but works beautifully. I haven't yet found an app that can replace it.
What is your favorite city to visit?
The year that I lived in Berlin was a dream. I worked at a great studio, made worldly friends, travelled extensively, and called one of the most cosmopolitan and cheapest (for a European capital) cities in the world my home. Architecturally, Berlin ranges from jubilant to horrifying, with lots of meh in between — perhaps due to its steeped and complicated history, which is still very much present in its urban fabric. I try to keep current with its rebuilding.
What is your favorite time of year?
Spring and fall, when a light jacket is required.
What is the next building you plan to travel to in order to see for yourself?
I'm looking forward to seeing Herzog & de Meuron's Parrish Art Museum this summer. Further out, I'd like to end a night at Loos's American Bar in Vienna.
NOTE: Taganas was interviewed for "Architects Talking to Architects" earlier this summer; he has since had the privilege of visiting the Parrish and shared the following photo.