Up-and-Coming Architect Duo Casts Their Lots Together

If he could have it his way, Los Angeles architectural designer Brett Woods (pictured above, right) would have started his practice in 1950 rather than 2010. An aesthetic rooted firmly in America’s midcentury compels him to dress like Don Draper and comb his hair like James Dean, and the desire to create buildings in that style is likely part of the reason he opened his own architecture office during the worst economic climate this country has seen since Dean was riding his Triumph around Hollywood.

“Some thought it was crazy,” says Woods. “ But I’ve always been motivated by the creative struggle, and that struggle can either make or break you.” Now that he’s been joined in his practice by architectural designer Joe Dangaran (left)—both are just a test away from being licensed architects—Woods is not alone in the fight. The practice, Woods+Dangaran, began unofficially at a gathering of USC architecture students. Ideas (and glasses of beer) were flying fast between the two, and soon they developed plans for a small house. The project was never realized, but a partnership was built. After stints at big architecture firms (Woods went to Altoon Partners, and Dangaran worked at Marmol Radziner), they cast their lots together.

“We share a love of Case Study Houses [the midcentury homes that Arts & Architecture magazine commissioned from the likes of Richard Neutra and Eero Saarinen],” says Dangaran. “It’s that kind of work we are interested in doing, not the kind of modern work that is about theatrics.”

With major projects on the boards—they are working with a developer to create clean and simple prefabricated homes and are set to restore Pierre Koenig’s Scott House in Tujunga, California—this up-and-coming duo will likely not have to rely on drama to get the state’s attention.

This was originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of California Home+Design. Click here to subscribe.

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