top of page

why Joe Lambke started Animate...

Joe Lambke Owner of Animate

Joe Lambke founded Animate...

"well, actually the name occurred riding a motorcycle back from the Complex Systems Summer School at the Santa Fe Institute in 1995.

Architectural practice, research, teaching, and design has been a part of my career since leaving Illinois Institute of Technology in 1986. After graduation, I was awarded the Jerrold Loebl Traveling Fellowship and studied architecture around the world in 1987.


Before starting Animate, I taught architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology for five years. Consulting with the Doblin Group a design planning firm led to the co-inventor of a building system patent. Then I worked at Chicago architectural firms including SCB, Fujikawa Johnson, Holabird & Root, and with SOM, I worked on the Chicago Public Library Competition. We still collaborate with other firms to this day."  


Animate is a full-service architecture firm, designing and building places people enjoy using.  


The purpose of building new is to create spaces where people interact in useful ways, adding to their lifestyles, organizational goals and cultural repertoire. People, organizations and societies interact with physical space as well as the rhythms of ecological change. Animate designs buildings as a framework that generates future opportunities. More than an office, Animate is a laboratory, assisting human productivity and creating delight in terms of architecture. The Animate approach is the product of:

a sensitivity to natural human life

a rigorous thought process that clarifies, simplifies, and invents, 

a deep and genuine concern for long-term client and user satisfaction.


After mechanization of the twentieth century, it is becoming increasingly clear that buildings are more than objects on pedestals or sculptures on plinths. Additionally, huge monuments of previous civilizations were based on similar, yet particular belief systems. Enclosed spaces defined by primitive bearing walls were replaced by open spaces defined by gigantic plates of glass. And now it is time to define when, where and how we use open or enclosed spaces. These choices depend upon the intentions of clients and architects.


Animate’s years of research into complex adaptive systems and cultural evolution, is the origin of insights into how new spaces will be used fruitfully in the future. Familiar departments of 'Architecture, Interiors, Planning' are altered to reflect Animate’s human focus and behavioral approach. Architecture, Objects and Spatial Studies are areas of focus that grow by incorporating Animate’s research into practice. Research in each area is interwoven becoming our method to create evidence-based, high-performance design solutions.


And he recently enjoyed telling his "Life Cycles" story at a

PechaKucha Night in Portland, Oregon.

Joe Lambke at Animate
Life Cycling-Lambke.001.jpeg
bottom of page