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Architecture Explained in 5 Minutes at Parrish

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Gibson Farm by James Merrell Architects/Raimund Koch photo

By Stephen J. Kotz

Imagine going through a speed dating session with a dozen architects. That’s a little what it will be like when the Parrish Art Museum presents “Five Minutes Max,” the third installment in its Architectural Sessions series, at noon on Saturday.

The event will be moderated by Maziar Behrooz AIA, an architect with offices in East Hampton and New York.

And as the name implies, each of the 12 architects taking part will be given just five minutes to succinctly discuss a topic or theme that is specific to projects they have designed on the East End.

Mr. Behrooz said he told each of the participants, “Let’s not make this a sales pitch. This is not about what each of us does to solicit work. It’s not about that. It’s about ideas. Let’s focus on ideas that have to do with building and design on the East End.”

He added that participants will not be able to tarry because as they speak, a series of 15 slides, appearing for no more than 20 seconds each, will be shown on a large screen behind the speaker.

“It forces them to give all their ideas in five minutes,” Mr. Behrooz said. “We ask them, in addition to that, to concentrate on issues that have to do with local and regional architecture here, so each one will take some aspect of building that is inspiring or challenging to them about the region”—whether it be designing  modern green houses or traditional homes.

“At least one person will talk about the issue of the environment out here,” said Mr. Behrooz. “One may speak about the history of the area, and another might talk about preservation.”

The Architectural Sessions take place about four times a year, and Mr. Behrooz said they present an opportunity to allow architects who are members of the American Institute of Architects to have a conversation about their work, rather than simply present it in an exhibit

The Parrish has based the format of “Five Minutes Max” on its popular “PechaKucha Night Hamptons” series, which were originally called “Lightning Rounds” and feature rapid-fire presentations from artists in a variety of disciplines. ( PechaKucha is a Japanese term that means “chit chat,” Mr. Behrooz said.)

Saturday’s panel will feature Hideaki Ariizumi and Glynis Berry AIA, the founders of Studio A/B Architecture; John Berg of Berg Design Architects; Bill Chaleff, a partner in Chaleff & Rogers Architects; Jonathan Foster, the owner of nyArchitect; Maxine Nachtigal Liao, the owner of firm by the same name, Nick Martin, the founder of Martin Architects; Michael McCrum, the principal of McCrum Architects, James Merrell, the head of James Merrell Architects; John Rose, the owner of John David Rose Architects PC; Steve Schappacher, the co-founder of Schappacher White Architecture DPC, Ric Stott, the principal of Flynn + Stott Architects; and Fred H. Throo, the principal of Fred Throo Architects and Architecture One, PC.

Mr. Behrooz, who was born in Iran and moved to the United State as a student with his family in the 1970s, studied architecture as an undergraduate at Tulane University, where he remains on the board of advisors to its architecture school, did his graduate work at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies and the Cornell School of Architecture.

Most of his firm’s work is residential, and it ranges from the luxury market to affordable housing. Mr. Behrooz said he was an early proponent of using shipping containers in construction. A project in Amagansett that employed containers as the framework of an artist studio is well known.

“I did the cheapest house in the Hamptons,” he said, referring to his “instahouses,” prefabricated structures that rely on a combination of shipping containers. “I wanted to build a $99,000 house, like the 99-cent iTune song,” he said. “That’s how we started it, and we worked backward from that price.”

Tickets to Saturday’s program are $10 and include admission to the museum at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. Admission is free to members of the Parrish, children and students. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the museum at (631) 283-2118.