Undulating trajectories of work and life intersect throughout the story. In many of Voorsanger’s projects there are suggestions of a pilgrimage across space, a sequence of opening and closing, turning and unfolding, as with a series of pavilions designed for the World War II Museum in New Orleans, the wing-like roof of a mountain retreat for Russian oligarch Roman Abromovich, a twisting control tower for Newark Airport, or the highly sculpted interior of a bachelor’s loft in Tribeca. In some of the later work there’s an unsettled Dr. Caligari geometry of axial rotations and splintered spaces. Walls tilt back and overlap. Natural light penetrates the outer membrane. Multi-faceted roofs engage the sky.
Voorsanger’s architectural practice served as an emotional anchor through trying times and helped to bring a sense of ceremonial order to life’s messy uncertainties. There was the adoption of two Iranian orphans; divorce from his first wife; a broken business partnership; the loss of his second wife to cancer; and a near-fatal embolism. In 1987, Voorsanger’s twenty-nine-year-old daughter, Roxanna, was senselessly murdered. As a form of eulogy, the architect designed a new kind of housing prototype. It was an elegiac gesture from father to daughter in which deep, personal loss was transformed, somehow, into healing space.
“I don’t give a damn about myself, but I care deeply about my work,” he says, acknowledging the number of times that his art has rescued him from a nagging sense of despair and existential dislocation. “Architecture has literally saved my life”.