American Building is a podcast series sponsored by Michael Graves Architecture & Design, headlined by Atif Qadir, AIA, and hosted at the Warehouse, the home of the late Michael Graves in Princeton, New Jersey.

With his unique perspective as both architect and developer, Atif interviews accomplished individuals who tell the stories of American buildings that they have designed and/or developed.  His guests talk about their processes and products on a deeply personal level, highlighting the teamwork, integrity, ingenuity, empathy, and commitment that are necessary to produce exceptional works that grace the skylines of our cities and towns.

The Warehouse

The Warehouse, once the home of Michael Graves, was converted into a residence from a 44-room rental warehouse built in the 1920s in a Tuscan vernacular style by Italian masons moonlighting from building Collegiate Gothic buildings at Princeton University. Michael Graves, the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture at the University, frequently entertained students and visiting scholars at the Warehouse. Owned today by Kean University’s Michael Graves College of Architecture & Design, it anchors of a two-building study center, making it a perfect location for the dialogue that American Building encourages.

Your Host, Atif Qadir!

Atif Qadir, AIA founded REDIST, a proptech startup based at the Columbia Startup Lab, and Amanat Properties, a development company focused on renovation of historic real estate in New Jersey. He was previously a member of the acquisitions and development teams at Extell Development for real estate deals across the United States and Canada. He also worked at Turner Construction and at Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman Architects. A licensed architect, he is a frequent speaker on real estate and entrepreneurship at Columbia, Harvard, MIT, and Yale. Atif serves as a city planning commissioner in Hoboken, where he lives. He sits on the boards of The Hudson School, Haven Adolescent Community Respite Center, and En Garde Arts. He received his bachelor’s degrees in architecture and in urban planning from MIT and his MBA from Columbia Business School.

Recent Episodes

Season 2

#53: Pioneering Sustainable Architecture | Tommy Craig of Hines & Rick Cook of COOKFOX

Today, I’m joined by Tommy Craig, Senior Managing Director at Hines, and Rick Cook, Founding Partner at COOKFOX. Tommy and Rick are both pioneers of the sustainable architecture movement and have joined forces for the 555 Greenwich and 345 Hudson Street project. They pull back the curtain on the 1.2 million square foot space and explain some of the green tech and design decisions. We also discuss the importance of mentorship, trends in making buildings better for the planet and its occupants, and how to balance the quality and speed of construction.

Season 2

#52: Trends in PropTech | Chok Lei of Clear Mountain Capital

Today, I’m joined by real estate executive Chok Lei to discuss his work with The Cedarview, a multiphase rental apartment development near the University of Connecticut. We also touch on what inspired him to pursue a career in real estate, his teaching career at Columbia University, and how technology can improve the process of developing for small to medium sized developers. He highlights startups in the proptech space that are making waves in the homebuilding space, and shares his predictions for the future of real estate development.

Season 2

#51: The Perfect New York Street | Ifeoma Ebo of Creative Urban Alchemy

Today, I’m joined by the Founding Principal at Creative Urban Alchemy, Ifeoma Ebo. Ifeoma is a Brooklyn native with a background in architecture, urban planning, real estate development, and environmental sustainability. In our conversation, we dive into the details of her latest project, The Perfect New York Street, which is a modern take on the streetscape of Third Avenue between 33rd and 34th Street. She walks us through what people might see, hear and feel when walking through this re-crafted space, and highlights the ripple effect it can have on the local economy and neighborhood safety.