Nathan Rich

Architectural history is loaded with architects who were originally trained as painters or who painted extensively as part of their work. Le Corbusier, James Stirling, John Hejduk, Lebbeus Woods, Frank Stella, Massimo Scolari, and Michelangelo are a few that come to the top of my head. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m constantly looking for ideas that artists are playing with for architectural inspiration. These next images and text comes from one of my friends, Nathan Rich, who was a classmate of mine at Yale and shared with me a background studying painting.


My painting process is one of precision and control.  I attempt hyper-real effects through a slow, careful manipulation of the paint.  There’s a sort of meditation in this slowness – an extended focus on a single subject.

I choose impermanent subjects, such as water, and try to draw energy from the effort to harness the uncontrollable; then I funnel that energy into my architectural work, where I still seek to wield control but real-world compromises are inevitable.  So, both fields are ways in which I try to control the uncontrollable.  But painting is a contained, personal world in which I can actually succeed in this effort.   Architecture, on the other hand, lives in the sprawling, messy world “out there” where such control isn’t possible.


The painting studio thus gives me a critical distance from the parallel daily practice of architecture.  There, I can practice giving up control and letting the struggle, the journey, be fulfilling in its own right.

-nathan rich

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3 Responses to “Nathan Rich”

  1. Quang Truong Says:

    This is an addendum from Nathan:

    Thanks for posting on my paintings. One small but worthwhile addition – Since my write-up talks exclusively about process I thought I’d upload some recent studio shots.

    By showing the process of layering and detailing, I think the studio shots actually say more about the paintings than the finished slides do. Kind of a weird irony I guess.


  2. luo deyin Says:

    Nathan, I am in U.S. now and want to contact you. please email me when see these texts.

  3. Yana Says:

    Hi! I am looking for Nathan Rich who was a student at Yale School of Architecture. Who has done the Armature for Development project along with Claire Axley?
    Can someone, please, help me find his contact details
    Email me at

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