Donald M. Rattner received a B.A. in art history cum laude from Columbia in 1979 and an M.Arch. from Princeton in 1985. Three years later he joined Ferguson Murray Architects as an intern, and eventually rose to partnership there before founding Studio for Civil Architecture in 2002.
Studio’s architectural practice comprises a range of services and building types. For private clients Rattner has built custom single-family residences and refurbished existing homes in urban, rural and suburban settings. For resort developers he has undertaken amenity buildings, planned neighborhoods, produced residential prototypes, created architectural pattern books, formulated design guidelines, generated renderings and authored copy for marketing purposes.
Studio’s architectural work has been recognized by over a dozen awards for design excellence from peer professionals and municipal organizations.
In addition to advancing his practice, Rattner has shared his knowledge and experience with the profession and public through teaching, writing and lecturing at such institutional venues as New York University SCE, New York Academy of Art, University of Illinois at Chicago and Parsons School of Design SCE. He has also participated in numerous panels and workshops for groups across the country.
Published writings have appeared in Architectural Record; The International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture; Design Professionals and the Built Environment; and Residential Architect. Books include The Creativity Catalog: 300 of the World’s Most Creative Things and How They Can Make You More Creative Too (2014) and the Parallel of the Classical Orders of Architecture (1998). Rattner is currently writing a book about optimizing the home environment for creativity.
Rattner's professional and academic activities have been featured on CNN and in The New York Times, Town & Country, House & Garden, Robb Report, Residential Architect, Builder, Progressive Architecture and other media.
Rattner became intrigued by modularity after a 2001 architectural commission to design a cluster of prefab modular structures at an historic spa resort. Since then he has explored the theory and practice of interactive, customizable art and design in his own work as well as in others.
In 2009 Studio produced a portfolio of modular art using laser-cutting technology. The following year it exhibited its work in a month-long popup gallery in Brooklyn. That same year the firm's modular representation of an artist's book won a prize in a competition conducted by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and was displayed at the city's Philagrafika art festival. It is currently in the collection of the Athenaeum.
To pursue these interests further, in 2010 Rattner founded MODULE R, a retail design store and e-commerce business offering customizable, interactive, reconfigurable and modular products by contemporary designers and brands from around the world. The venture was re-christened THE CREATIVE HOME in 2014 when it became an internet-based journal and marketplace for exploring the connections between creative thinking, innovation and the design of home.
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