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An Interview with Architect William D. Earls

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing William Earls, an architect based in Wilton, Connecticut that specializes in custom residential, commercial, and municipal architecture. Earls has worked towards architectural preservation, something which awarded him a Preservation Award from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. In 2018, he completed his two-year-long partnership with the New Canaan Historical Society to restore the Gores Pavilion. The Gores Pavilion was originally designed by Harvard Five architect Landis Gores in the modernist style. Earls’ restoration efforts have helped ensure the site’s continued status as a “showpiece for Modern architecture.” 

a person sitting at a table

Pictured: William Earls (IconicHouses.org)

What inspired you to become an architect? 

I’m not sure what inspired me to become an architect. My dad was an electrical engineer, and very inventive. Being an electrical engineer in the 1950’s and 1960’s was about as hip a career as there was. Our house was full of his inventions. He even built and flew his own airplane. I always liked to draw and sculpt. When I was about eleven or twelve, an adult asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and my dad answered “he’s going to be an architect” before I had a chance to even think about it. We never talked about it before or after.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced throughout the scope of this profession? What are the largest attractions of the profession?

Architects have only one challenge; getting clients. The rest is easy. I’ve been very lucky to have so many great clients. The largest attraction of the profession to me is to create something beautiful. What a privilege to know that when you build something it could be around for hundreds of years. If it’s beautiful, the users and functions may change, but the building will last.

Do you have any influences that have helped shape your work? Are there any recurring themes or ideas present throughout your work?

Architecture has such a deep well of history. You could spend your entire life still learning. The recurring theme for any architect should be providing the owners what they need. If it is properly designed, it will look inevitable. To me that is the gold standard: if you experience the building and could not imagine it any other way.

What is your favorite architectural style and why?

Any style can be inspiring. I love studying different styles and finding out what makes them tick. I have renovated and added onto very modern and very traditional buildings, sometimes concurrently. It’s wonderful to see how they influence each other, if even by their contrasts.

Do you have a single favorite building or site? If so, what makes it your favorite? 

Every architect will tell you; their favorite building is the next one they design.

To learn more about William Earls, check out this article by the New Canaan Historical Society, this article by IconicHouses.org, this article by WeLivv.com, and WilliamEarls.com.

Article by Nick Lorenzo, Histoury Marketing and PR Intern