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Studied architecture at the University of Oregon and went on to earn an advanced degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. After more than a decade of work and teaching in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Switzerland, Cloepfil founded Allied Works in his native Portland, Oregon in 1994. The New York City office followed in 2003.
Cloepfil’s earliest influences lay outside the field of architecture. While studying at the University of Oregon, he drew inspiration from the landscape and monumental works of civil engineering in the Pacific Northwest. While studying in New York he was introduced to the simple yet profound work of land and installation artists of that time.
His body of work is as informed by the land and the history of place as it is by formal training, and it is one that cuts a clear line through much of the rhetoric surrounding the practice today. The approach to design combines a research-intensive focus on the specific character of each project with an understanding of the profoundly affecting possibilities of building.
In addition to leading all aspects of creative work at Allied Works, Cloepfil has held guest professorships and given talks on the work throughout North America and Europe.
In 2007 Metropolis’ Andrew Blum noted Brad as being “an elementalist in an architecture culture in which image is king… a leading American architect of a new type: not a showman or a theorist, not a regionalist or a corporate architect, but a practitioner with a burgeoning reputation for powerful, if subtle, buildings.”
Sandy Isenstadt, an architecture historian and professor, described Cloepfil’s work as aiming “to create oases of legibility, spaces that can look out upon the simultaneous contrasts of the modern world to appreciate them from a place no less complex, but one that unfolds over time, with repeated visits, rather than at the speed of a camera shutter, thereby rewarding continued occupation rather than just dazzling the eye.”