Brad Cloepfil

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Brad Cloepfil
Brad Cloepfil Portrait Office 2012.jpg
Cloepfil, November 2012
Alma materUniversity of Oregon
Columbia University
PracticeAllied Works Architecture

Brad Cloepfil (born 1956) is an American architect, educator and principal of Allied Works Architecture of Portland, Oregon and New York City. His first major project was an adaptive reuse of a Portland warehouse for the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy.[1] Since 2000, Cloepfil and Allied Works have completed cultural, commercial and residential projects including the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Dutchess County Residence Guest House and the Museum of Arts and Design. Recent and notable works include the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado, completed in November 2011; the National Music Centre of Canada in Calgary, Alberta, which opened in July 2016;[2] and the Providence Park expansion in Portland, Oregon, completed in 2019.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Cloepfil was born in Portland, Oregon and earned his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Oregon in Eugene. After working in the offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in Los Angeles, and Mario Botta, in Switzerland, Cloepfil moved to New York to earn his advanced degree in architectural design. He received his Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture in 1985.[4]


After a decade of teaching and practice in New York, California and Oregon, Cloepfil founded Allied Works Architecture in Portland, Oregon, in 1994, and opened the New York City office in 2003. Cloepfil has designed and realized a wide range of projects around the world, including civic and educational institutions, arts organizations and museums, and private residences. He has received acclaim for his work on creative and cultural projects and for crafting powerful spaces for art and interaction.[4]


Interior construction photo of the National Music Centre of Canada, Calgary, Alberta. Architect: Brad Cloepfil / Allied Works Architecture

Wieden+Kennedy Building[edit]

Allied Works' first major commission for the Wieden+Kennedy Building was awarded after the co-founder Dan Wieden sought out the designer of a local Portland bar called Saucebox, which was one of Cloepfil's early tight-budget projects. The project transformed an abandoned 1908 warehouse into the headquarters for an international advertising agency. In a state of extreme disrepair after decades as a sealed cold-storage facility, Wieden had doubts of ever moving in there, but Cloepfil convinced him that it was worth the effort. The Allied Works design turned the dark warehouse into a light-filled, open structure with new concrete and reclaimed Douglas-fir juxtaposed against the existing masonry and heavy timber frame. This project earned him several other projects from Wieden and would prove to be instrumental in further commissions.[5]

Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis[edit]

Cloepfil's firm was selected in a 1999 design competition for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis over world-renowned architects such as Peter Zumthor, Herzog & de Meuron, and Rem Koolhaas.[6] The museum was sited next to an existing Tadao Ando building for the Pulitzer Foundation and completed in 2003. The program of the museum was open-ended in the model of European Kunsthalls and does not own a collection. Describing his approach, Cloepfil said "I wanted a space that is energized on its own terms but also would be inspirational for artists. In a noncollecting context, you hope that artists are intensely motivated to generate work for the space."[7]

Seattle Art Museum expansion[edit]

Seattle Art Museum expansion

When the Seattle Art Museum expansion committee was seeking an architect, Terry Riley — the chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern art in New York — suggested that they consider Brad Cloepfil based on the work done on Wieden+Kennedy.[5] In 2002, the Seattle Art Museum selected Allied Works for the expansion project, which more than doubled the museum's space, accommodated Robert Venturi's original design in 1991, and also included offices for Washington Mutual until the museum expands again.[8] Allied Works was selected over other finalists Polshek Partnership and Cooper, Robertson & Partners.[9]

Museum of Arts and Design[edit]

Museum of Arts & Design at 2 Columbus Circle, nearly completed in July 2008. A piece by David Dunlap's in the NY Times reveals that the appearance of the letter "H" was an owner driven design change.[10]

Also in 2002, Cloepfil won the redesign of Edward Durell Stone's 2 Columbus Circle[11] for the Museum of Arts and Design over architects Zaha Hadid, Toshiko Mori Architects, and Smith-Miller & Hawkinson Architects. Interest in landmarking this building began in 1996, soon after the building turned thirty years old and became eligible for landmark designation. In this year, Robert A. M. Stern included it in his article "A Preservationist's List of 35 Modern Landmarks-in-Waiting" written for The New York Times.[12]

When the building was vacated by the NYC Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1998 it was neglected, and remained unoccupied until the right to redevelop the building was awarded to the American Craft Museum (now known as the Museum of Arts and Design). Years later, plans to alter the building were called the erasure "of a rare American modernist."[13]

Cloepfil used the same massing and geometric shape as dictated by the city zoning regulations, and carved channels into the structure to bring in natural light. The redesigned building replaced the original white Vermont Marble with a glazed terra-cotta and glass facade. The aim behind the design was to underline the iconic presence of this 10-storey building and respond to the needs of the institution that will occupy it. The terra-cotta and glass covering evokes the principal theme of the collection, a look at different traditions in contemporary craft practice.[14] The tiles were developed in collaboration with Dutch ceramics company Royal Tichelaar Makkum with a custom glaze by artist Christine Jetten.[15]

The redesign of 2 Columbus Circle generated considerable attention and debate within the local community and architectural press, including opinion pieces written by Nicolai Ouroussoff,[16] Ada Louise Huxtable,[17] Paul Goldberger,[18] Witold Rybczynski[19] and Justin Davidson.[20]

Clyfford Still Museum[edit]

In 2007, Cloepfil and Allied Works won the competition to design the Clyfford Still Museum, which is adjacent to Daniel Libeskind's design of the Denver Art Museum.[21] The museum opened to the public in 2011.[22][23] The lower level houses the education, archive and storage spaces. In the upper level galleries, the visitor moves through a series of nine distinct volumes where they encounter the work of Clyfford Still. The galleries respond to the evolving character of Still's art, changing scale and proportion, while varying the intensity of light.[24] The museum is recognized as a successful implementation of contemporary architecture and an icon for the city of Denver.[25]

Case Work exhibition[edit]

Case Work: Studies in Form, Space and Construction at the Denver Art Museum, 2016
Case Work: Studies in Form, Space and Construction at the Denver Art Museum, 2016

In 2016, the Denver Art Museum hosted a temporary exhibit called "Case Work: Studies in Form, Space & Construction", which showcased the design process used for the neighboring Clyfford Still Museum and other major works by Allied and Cloepfil.[25][26] After Denver, the exhibit is planned to show at the Portland Art Museum and then embark on a two-year international tour.[27] Dean Sobel, director of the Clyfford Still Museum, is curator of the exhibit.[25] In Portland, "Case Work" will be on view from June 4 through September 4, 2016.[28]

Other activities[edit]


  • American Institute of Architects Northwest & Pacific Region Honor Award, 2021, Benton County Historical Society, Corvallis Museum[30]
  • American Institute of Architects Oregon Architecture Honor Award, 2020, Providence Park Expansion[31]
  • World Architecture News, Civic Buildings Award (finalist), 2014, National Music Centre of Canada[32]
  • Architect Magazine, Progressive Architecture (P/A) Award, 2014, National Music Centre of Canada[33]
  • American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter, Honor Award in Architecture, 2012, Clyfford Still Museum[34]
  • Travel & Leisure Awards, Best New Museum, 2012, Clyfford Still Museum[35]
  • American Institute of Architects, National Chapter, Honor Award in Architecture, 2011, University of Michigan Museum of Art[36]
  • American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter Honor Award, 2009, Dutchess County Estate – Guest House[37]
  • 5th Annual Business Week/Architectural Record Awards, 2001, Wieden+Kennedy World Headquarters[38]


  1. ^ Blum, Andrew (July 25, 2007). "The Elementalist". Metropolis Magazine. Archived from the original on February 21, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  2. ^ "About Allied Works Architecture". Allied Works Architecture. Allied Works Architecture. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  3. ^ Miller, Briana (June 27, 2019). "Allied Works designs a stadium for "Soccer City, USA"". Retrieved January 3, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Cloepfil Bio". Allied Works Architecture.
  5. ^ a b Farr, Sheila (December 4, 2005). "Museum Maker". The Seattle Times. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  6. ^ Libby, Brian (January 2, 2002). "Interview with an Emerging Architect". ArchitectureWeek. Retrieved March 1, 2008.
  7. ^ Russel, James (January 2004). "Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis". Architectural Record. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  8. ^ Farr, Sheila (May 1, 2007). "With a new home and new art, will museum gain new profile?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  9. ^ Czarnecki, John (October 18, 2002). "Allied Works to design Seattle Art Museum expansion". Architectural Record. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  10. ^ "A New Face at Columbus Circle, but the Lollipops Remain". The New York Times. May 1, 2008. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  11. ^ ArchDaily: AD Classics: 2 Columbus Circle / Edward Durell Stone & Associates by Denim Pascucci (13 February 2014)
  12. ^ Gallucci, Maria (November 17, 1996). "A Preservationist's List of 35 Modern Landmarks-in-Waiting". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  13. ^ Hales, Linda (March 29, 2008). "At Columbus Circle, Going Round & Round Over a Building's Fate". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2008.
  14. ^ Fajardo, Julio, and Mariana R. Eguaras. "Allied Works Architecture Museum of Arts and Design." New York Architecture = New York Architektur = Arquitectura De Nueva York. Barcelona: FKG, 2010. 60-65. Print.
  15. ^ "Museum of Arts and Design". Allied Works Architecture. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  16. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (September 26, 2008). "New York City, Tear Down These Walls". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2008.
  17. ^ Huxtable, Ada Louise (December 10, 2008). "Setting the Record Straight About Ed Stone and Brad Cloepfil". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  18. ^ Goldberger, Paul (August 25, 2008). "Hello, Columbus". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  19. ^ Rybczynski, Witold (January 14, 2009). "Goodbye, 2 Columbus Circle". Slate Magazine. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  20. ^ "Museum Date". New York. September 7, 2008.
  21. ^ MacMillan, Kyle (November 27, 2006). "Clyfford Still Museum names Oregon firm to build in DAM's shadow". The Denver Post. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  22. ^ Hill, David (March 4, 2008). "Cloepfil Unveils Design for Clyfford Still Museum". Architectural Record. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  23. ^ "Clyfford Still Museum". Clyfford Still Museum. 2010. Archived from the original on October 26, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
  24. ^ "Allied Works_Still Description". Allied Works Architecture.
  25. ^ a b c Rinaldi, Mark Ray (January 31, 2016). "Brad Cloepfil and Clyfford Still Museum make case for design in Denver". Lifestyles. Denver Post. Denver, Colorado. p. 1E. Archived from the original on February 1, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  26. ^ "Case Work Premieres at the Denver Art Museum". Allied Works News. Allied Works Architecture. January 21, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  27. ^ Denver Art Museum (2016). Case Work: Studies in Form, Space & Construction by Brad Cloepfil / Allied Works Architecture, through April 17, 2016.
  28. ^ Sobel, Dean. "Case Work: Studies in Form, Space & Construction by Brad Cloepfil/Allied Works Architecture". Portland Art Museum. Allied Works Architecture. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  29. ^ Board of Directors Drawing Center.
  30. ^ AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Design Awards List, 2021
  31. ^ AIA Oregon Architecture Awards List, 2020
  32. ^[permanent dead link] World Architecture News Awards
  33. ^ Progressive Architecture Awards, 2013
  34. ^ AIA New York Awards List, 2012
  35. ^ Travel & Leisure Design Awards, 2012
  36. ^ AIA National Awards List, 2011
  37. ^ Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine AIA New York Awards List, 2009
  38. ^ Business Week / Architectural Record Awards, 2001

External links[edit]