Designing the Details: 2 Firms Expand into Product Design

Event: Beyond Architecture
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.07.10
Speakers: Alexander Lamis, AIA — Partner, Robert A.M. Stern Architects; Lisa Green — Partner, Selldorf Architects
Moderator: Donald Albrecht — Curator of Architecture and Design, Museum of the City of New York

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Patterned glass from the Robert A. M. Stern collection for Bendheim, Merletto (left); 90 degree coffee table from the Vica Collection by Selldorf Architects.

Courtesy Robert A.M. Stern (left); Selldorf Architects

Contemporary architects are increasingly drawing upon the legacies of designers such as Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames by exploring product design and creating holistic environments in which all elements exist cohesively. Firms such as Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Selldorf Architects have established branches of their practice devoted to furniture, product, and textile design, which not only serve to enhance the buildings and interiors they design, but are also independently marketable.

Lisa Green, a partner at Selldorf Architects, describes the furniture in the Vica collection — a name coined from a furniture and interior design firm of Selldorf’s grandmother in Cologne — as “only as big as it needs to be.” The simple lines, proportions, and crafted details of the furniture are constantly revisited. The collection is designed to be formal yet comfortable. The Vica collection also includes light fixtures, door pulls, and tabletop accessories originally designed for the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel. While Green says that the majority of orders from the collection are for interiors designed by Selldorf Architects, the firm is planning to open a showroom in NYC.

Alexander Lamis, AIA, a partner at Robert A. M. Stern Architects who also manages Robert A.M. Stern Interiors and Robert A.M. Stern Design, which licenses the firm’s product designs, describes the practice’s oeuvre as “spoons to cities.” Its “spoons” include product design such as candlesticks, bowls, ice buckets, and place settings dating back to 1985. The practice’s furniture design includes lounge furniture, and furniture for healthcare, hospitality, and residential settings. While designing the Nashville Public Library, the building inspired a line of furniture called The Library Collection comprised of reading chairs, tables, and study carrels. The firm focuses its product design on the contract market place and has established partnerships with multiple manufacturers for which it designs furniture, textiles, and landscape accessories. Expanding beyond the design of products and furniture, the practice collaborates with its product partners, such as Bendheim glass and Bentley Prince Street Carpet, to develop marketing and ad campaigns. By doing so, both the practice and the manufacturer gain brand exposure.

3 Firms Propose Sustainable Transport for 2030

Event: Our Cities Ourselves: Visions for 2030
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.01.10
Speakers: Wang Hui — Partner; Aidi Su — Senior Architect, Urbanus Architecture & Design, Guangzhou, China; Michael Sorkin — Distinguished Professor of Architecture & Director, Graduate Program in Urban Design, City College of New York & Principal, Michael Sorkin Studio; Johan Fourie — Osmond Lange Architects, Johannesburg, South Africa
Respondent: Enrique Peñalosa — President, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
Moderator: Luc Nadal — Technical Director, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy
Organizers: Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in collaboration with AIANY

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2030 vision for NYC by Michael Sorkin Studio.

Michael Sorkin Studio, courtesy AIANY

The architects behind plans for three of the 10 featured cities in the “Our Cities Ourselves” exhibition — Guangzhou, Johannesburg, and New York — outlined their ideas to address traffic congestion and create improved urban development for walking, cycling, and public transportation. Experts in sustainability and urban design, with intimate knowledge of their individual cities, each design team studied how people move through urban areas to deal with the burgeoning population growth over the next 20 years.

In Guangzhou, China, Wang Hui and Aidi Su of Urbanus Architecture and Design identified the urban realities — growing development, infrastructure, and vehicular traffic — of the historic Liwan district. The noise and congestion, along with physical infrastructure barriers and underutilized space, provide a formidable challenge. Seeking to re-energize the city and create urban linkage, Urbanus proposed a skywalk, an elevated bicycle and pedestrian promenade, and a bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor. While they retained the historic integrity of existing structures along the street, they added a residential program above to respond to the growing population.

As South Africa’s largest and densest city, Johannesburg has begun to integrate BRT lines as well. However, the area has been separated into three horizontal bands that lack civic identity and scale due to main thoroughfares, detached residential zones, an under-developed river zone, and a disjointed mass transit system. Osmond Lange Architects and Ikemeleng Architects’ proposal integrates these bands into a cohesive environment by creating landmarks as focal points, establishing vertical integration, visual thoroughfares, courtyard blocks with medium- to high-density housing, and parkland below the 100-year flood line.

While many of the cities included in the exhibition are in developing countries, NYC has a tabula that is a little less rasa. To address this, Michael Sorkin Studio, studied ways to reprogram the waterfront and repurpose Lower Manhattan as an eco-friendly zone. As Sorkin said, “Movement has a basis in negotiation,” meaning that in a multi-modal transit system where pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and sometimes animals inhabit the same space, it can only work when we all cooperate. The proposal for NYC hinges on repurposing the FDR Drive south of the Brooklyn Bridge to develop a district of parks and shops. Cyclists would inhabit the lower level of the bridge while pedestrians would populate the elevated walkway.

A New Domino Effect in Williamsburg

Event: The New Domino
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.22.10
Speaker: Rafael Viñoly, FAIA — Rafael Viñoly Architects
Organizer: Center for Architecture; with Rafael Viñoly Architects; Community Preservation Corporation

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The New Domino.

Courtesy of Rafael Viñoly Architects PC

With public interest and opinion on the rise about his proposed master plan for the historic Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg, Rafael Viñoly, FAIA, continues to take strides towards reinventing this 11.2-acre waterfront parcel into a mixed-income residential community. Spanning five city blocks north of the Williamsburg Bridge, the site is currently undergoing a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) to change the existing manufacturing zoning to allow for residential, commercial, and community facility use.

Working with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners (preservation architect) and Quennell Rothschild & Partners (landscape architect), Rafael Viñoly Architects has envisioned a plan for the 125-year-old complex that introduces 2,200 housing units, 30% of which are affordable; 274,000 square feet of retail and community space; 99,000 square feet of commercial office space; and four acres of public parks with a waterfront esplanade. Intended to represent an “aspiration for a new caliber of building typologies in Manhattan,” according to Viñoly, the proposed buildings flanking the existing refinery seek to match the scale of Williamsburg while building up in height as they approach the waterfront. Masonry and transparent glass comprise the material palette chosen to both honor the industrial context and introduce a beacon-like presence on the water’s edge. Through both adaptive reuse and new construction, the site will be a unified “neighborhood” with a plethora of amenities, Viñoly stated.

Deemed a landmark in 2007, the former factory’s three central refinery buildings are iconic to the local community and to NYC — a condition that Viñoly has sought to both revere and highlight. The signage that has graced the refinery’s façade for decades is perhaps the most identifiable aspect; Viñoly’s proposal relocates the 40-foot sign on top of the structure to a position of greater prominence.

Perhaps most impressive about the plan is the connection to the waterfront. Four new public streets have been designated to encourage physical and visual access to the river. A sloping central lawn facing the waterfront is accompanied by more protected play areas for children, a variety of plantings that reflect local ecology, and connections to Grand Ferry Park, located north of the site.

The Domino Sugar refinery site — a reminder of NYC’s industrial heritage — under Viñoly’s drafting pen and the city’s auspices, has the potential of becoming a vibrant waterfront destination for all New Yorkers and a paradigm of historic preservation coupled with socially relevant design.

Note: Jacqueline Pezzillo, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, sat down with Viñoly to discuss his ideas further. To listen to the Podcast, click here.

Collection of American Design Reveals Purpose, Profit

Event: Annual Gil Oberfield Memorial Lecture — American Design in the MoMA Collection
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.25.10
Speakers: Russell Flinchum — Author, American Design
Organizers: AIANY Interiors Committee
Sponsor:
Gensler

AmericanDesign

Courtesy Museum of Modern Art

During the seventh annual Gil Oberfield lecture, Russell Flinchum — archivist, author, and curator — presented the content and thesis of his latest publication, American Design (The Museum of Modern Art/5 Continents, 2008), which he describes as an unrivaled research experience that was “a delight to have written.” An investigation into MoMA’s collection of American design, Flinchum’s book extracts the most representative pieces, albeit not always the most iconic, to determine what exactly is American about American design.

With a penchant for labor saving devices and a fascination with process, 20th-century American designers engendered functionalism and consumerism. “American design is commercial design from its inception,” Flinchum stated. Even Henry Ford’s popular Model T was outmoded when stylistic preference began to encroach upon a consumer population. As freedom of choice prevailed and multiple body styles became available, American auto enthusiasts embraced a culture of design, which spread to an entire nation.

In a post-war era, Ekco Housewares Co. began to produce kitchen tools that responded to consumer needs with innovations such as stainless steel to prevent rust, and the inclusion of a hole in the utensil handle by which to hang it from a nail. According to Flinchum, all-American designs are intrinsically compromises since they are consumer products and must yield a profit. A divergence from contemporary European design products, streamlined American designs of the 1930s left MoMA curators suspicious and reluctant to include American products into their collection. Later, enlightened by the purposeful aesthetic and prevalent usability of American design, the museum opened its door to welcome products of designers including Charles and Ray Eames, Henry Dreyfuss, Richard Kelly, and Russel Wright.

An enthusiast of American design and a champion of its merits, Flinchum has substantiated his premise that American design is inclusive of the objects that anchor our lives, such as the Trimline telephone and the Leatherman multi-tool prototype, worthy of their place in The Museum of Modern Art.

Publication Looks to Locals for a Sense of Place

Event: Book Talk — Place, Race, and Story: Essays on the Past and Future of Historic Preservation
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.09.10
Speakers: Ned Kaufman — Author, Principal, Kaufman Heritage Conservation, Director of Research and Training Programs, Rafael Viñoly Architects, & Adjunct Associate Professor of Historic Preservation, Pratt Institute
Organizers: AIANY Historic Buildings Committee

PlaceRaceandStoryjpg

Courtesy Routledge

One’s sense of place greatly varies depending on their role as either resident or visitor. In his new book, Place, Race and Story: Essays on the Past and Future of Historic Preservation (Routledge, 2009), Ned Kaufman explores these distinctions as well as the architectural and urban elements with which each type of inhabitant identifies. In his professional work and research, Kaufman has come to the conclusion that the iconic places that resonate for residents differ from those identified by outsiders. For instance, a traveler may cite a central bell tower in a city as significant, whereas a resident may refer to a local coffee shop. Professional travelers or visiting historians are interested in evaluations, according to Kaufman, and residents are interested in the experience of their setting. As architects, it is crucial to understand the aspects of a location that may be overlooked or dismissed from an outsider’s perspective.

In his book, Kaufman delves into the traditional role of architects as historians, traveling to undocumented places in the 18th century, and returning with drawings of the urban environment, collections of native items, and stories of encounters. It is in the narratives, memories, and traditions of locals that a city’s true identity resides. Kaufman concludes that the key to capturing the spirit of a place is in intangible heritage and the concept of social value.

The “living history” of a community, as Kaufman calls it, is the story-scape that is crucial to absorb when making an analysis of a society. Harnessing the power of local tradition and knowledge will allow architects to produce inspired acts of documentation, preservation, and revitalization. “If we want to leave places better than how we found them,” Kaufman stated, “…we need to get beyond the traveler’s sense of place.”

Photographers, Designers on How to Make a Picture

Event: Photographing Architectural Interiors
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.08.10
Speakers: Thomas H. Kieren — Photographer, Custom Corporate Photography; Charles Linn, FAIA — Senior Managing Editor, Architectural Record; Michael Moran — Photographer, Moran Studios; Edward J. Wood, IIDA — Principal, Gensler
Moderator: Erica Stoller — Director, Esto Photographics, Inc.
Organizers: AIANY Interiors Committee; AIANY Marketing & PR Committees
Sponsor: Humanscale

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Southampton House. Architect: Alexander Gorlin, FAIA; Interior Designer: David Scott.

Photograph by Michael Moran

For both designers and photographers, the art of documenting an architectural interior involves many people, many hours, and many compositions. According to photographer Michael Moran, of Moran Studios, his role is that of a movie director with the help of the architect as producer. Architects and interior designers assemble an interior with a specific aesthetic vision. However, it is the job of the photographer to assure designers that any necessary relocation of the furniture and accessories of a space will ultimately be beneficial to the final photo shoot. It is crucial that all parties be flexible and open to re-thinking the interior.

Erica Stoller, of Esto Photographics, encourages designers to trust photographers to create a series of successful images. Stoller espouses the premise that photographers “make” an image rather than “take” an image. By layering individual moments, a photograph becomes a narrative. Given the abilities to edit out distracting details or craft accents in an image, photographers can layer on their own aesthetic to a room’s natural state.

Some question whether the advent of digital photography has negatively compromised the boundaries of realistically portraying an environment. However, Charles Linn, FAIA, senior managing editor at Architectural Record, who looks for saturated color and a sense of scale when reviewing photography for his publication, said, “We all like to be seduced by an idealized space.”

Photography intrinsically involves multiple challenges — including weather, natural lighting, and the inclusion or exclusion of people. Edward Wood, IIDA, a principal at Gensler, has found scheduling photo shoots on weekends or in the evening can be beneficial when staging people in a space. Thomas Kieren, a photographer at Custom Corporate Photography, advises that the reconciliation of multiple client concerns — such as those of the architect, flooring manufacturer, and acoustic engineer — can be achieved in a single photograph. Stoller agreed that, if achievable, addressing the needs of multiple team members on a project can facilitate the shared cost of a photo shoot. All panelists emphasized that developing a trusting relationship with a photographer will beget a mutual understanding of need and intent, resulting in a photography portfolio that lends itself to a designer’s legacy.

Active Design Guidelines Tell NYC to Shape Up

Event: Active Design Guidelines Launch
Location: Center for Architecture, 01.27.10
Speakers: David Burney, FAIA — Commissioner, Dept. of Design & Construction; Amanda Burden, FAICP, Hon. AIANY — Commissioner, Dept. of City Planning; Thomas Farley, MD, MPH — Commissioner, Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene; Janette Sadik-Khan — Commissioner, Dept. of Transportation; Craig Zimring, Ph.D. — Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture
Sponsors: NYC Department of Design and Construction

The recently published “Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design” is the “first publication to focus on designers’ roles in tackling one of the most urgent health crises of our day: obesity and related diseases including diabetes,” as stated in the manual’s introduction. The publication — which grew out of AIANY’s Fit City conferences — is a collaborative effort among the NYC Departments of Design and Construction, Health and Mental Hygiene, Transportation, and City Planning, as well as the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, the AIA New York Chapter, and several others including Ernest Hutton, FAICP, Assoc. AIA; Ellen Martin; Linda Pollak, AIA; John Pucher; Jessica Spiegel; William Stein, FAIA; and Shin-Pei Tsay. Spurred by the desire to increase physical activity in the city to deliver myriad physical and mental health benefits, the publication is part of the Take Care New York 2012 health policy agenda that offers strategies for New Yorkers to live longer and healthier lives.

The practices put forward in the “Active Design Guidelines” are rooted in research-based evidence and encourage architects and urban designers to introduce physical activity within the environments they design. Strategies delineated in the manual include: the development and maintenance of mixed-use neighborhoods; improved access to full-service grocery stores, fresh produce, parks, and recreational facilities; pedestrian and bike-friendly streets with high connectivity; infrastructure that offers safe indoor and outdoor bicycle parking; conveniently located and appealing stairs within buildings; and motivational signage to encourage walking over elevator usage.

The manual serves as a series of design suggestions to improve physical activity and does not serve as a rating system independent of LEED. However, incorporating the “Active Design Guidelines” in a design will qualify for the LEED innovation credit “Design for Health through Increased Physical Activity.” According to David Burney, FAIA, commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), his agency will identify opportunities for implementation of the guidelines in DDC-managed projects as well as other commercial projects within the city. Burney alluded to a possible future “seal of approval” recognizing projects successfully designed with adherence to the guidelines.

A crucial component to the creation of a healthier city is the synergy among the various NYC agencies. As stated by Thomas Farley, MD, MPH, commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, this is a “broad based initiative rooted in many city agencies” to combat urban and building designs that have “engineered physical activity out of our daily lives.” Amanda Burden, FAICP, Hon. AIANY, commissioner of the Department of City Planning, views her agency as one of many puzzle pieces that will work to ensure the success of this initiative. Burden’s agency is working to introduce new zoning regulations for bike parking, the improvement of greenscape and pedestrian environments at street level, and incentives for neighborhood amenities.

The role of designers is crucial in addressing health epidemics. Historically, cholera and tuberculosis were defeated, in part, by the improvement of urban infrastructure such as buildings, streets, water systems, and parks. The publication cites that today physical inactivity and unhealthy diet are second only to tobacco as the main causes of premature death in the U.S. The severity of the current epidemic was echoed by Department of Transportation Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan. “Creating healthier lifestyles is an urgent priority,” she stated. With the help of “Active Design Guidelines,” NYC may be the catalyst of change nationwide to shape up.

Innovation, Education are the New Science of Architecture

Event: Architecture for New Science/New Science for Architecture
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.02.10
Speakers: William Paxson, AIA — Partner, Davis Brody Bond Aedas; Robert Goodwin, AIA, LEED AP — Design Principal, Perkins+Will; Anthony Alfieri, AIA, LEED AP — Project Manager, Perkins+Will; Roger Duffy, FAIA — Design Partner, SOM
Organizer: AIANY Architecture for Education Committee

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Columbia University Northwest Corner Building. Design Architect: José Rafael Moneo, Hon. FAIA. Associate Architect: Davis Brody Bond Aedas.

Image © Michael Moran

The Northwest Corner Building at Columbia University, the New Science Building at CUNY’s Lehman College, and the Koch Center for Science, Math and Technology at Deerfield Academy are three facilities exemplary of synergistic design for academic science and research. The three buildings — presented by Davis Brody Bond Aedas, Perkins+Will, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill respectively — have each embraced the concept of connectivity among departmental researchers and students to encourage interdisciplinary learning. As Anthony Alfieri, AIA, LEED AP, Perkins+Will project manager for the Lehman College facility explained, the New Science Building is intended to be a “place of dialogue, debate, inquiry, and discovery.” Columbia’s Northwest Corner Building, designed by Rafael Moneo, Hon FAIA, with Davis Brody Bond Aedas as associate architect, is similarly conceived as a collaborative environment with deliberate ambiguity about departmental locations on lab floors, even with construction completion slated to end this year.

The facilities, designed to reach LEED Silver (Northwest Corner Building), Gold (Koch Center), and Platinum (New Science Building) requirements, each contain educational elements. The Northwest Corner Building, a structural feat which spans an existing gymnasium approximately 120 feet at the plaza level, echoes the lateral bracing algorithm in the aluminum façade design. “A critical challenge for the project,” according to William Paxson, AIA, partner at Davis Brody Bond Aedas, was maintaining operation of the gymnasium during construction while the 185,000-square-foot building was erected around and above the long span space. The courtyard created by the massing of the Lehman College facility is treated as a constructive wetland and employed as a teaching tool, or a “living lab,” as described by Alfieri. The Koch Center for Science, Math and Technology, completed in 2007, contains an analemma skylight which etches a figure-eight path of light on a wall within the building, demonstrating the annual movement of the earth around the sun.

Social Media Experts Share Their Stories

Event: Why to Blog, Text and Tweet Redux: Tips and Tricks
Location: Center for Architecture, 01.21.10
Speakers: Mike Plotnick — Vice President & Corporate Communications Manager, HOK; Kimberly Dowdell, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, LEED AP — Public Relations & Business Development, HOK; Winka Dubbeldam — Principal, Archi-Tectonics; Benjamin Prosky — Director of Communications, Architizer; Marc Kushner, AIA — Co-Founder, Architizer
Organizer: AIANY Marketing & PR Committee

As the use of social media in the professional design community becomes less of a trend and more of a standard, firms of all sizes are seeking advice on which mediums to pursue, the effectiveness of the tools, and what it will mean for business. At the second such event hosted by the AIANY Marketing & PR Committee, representatives from HOK, Archi-Tectonics, and Architizer offered a cross section of experience with social media. While each firm has delved into the world of alternative marketing techniques for different reasons, the panel unanimously advocated the myriad benefits that blogging, texting, and tweeting bring to the table.

Mike Plotnick, vice president and corporate communications manager for HOK, shared a list of reasons why the firm actively engages in its social media website, Life at HOK . He believes that social media is the future in professional industries. It offers an inexpensive medium to market the firm with an intimate insight into its culture. Winka Dubbeldam, principal at Archi-Tectonics, who has an active presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Architizer, founded her company blog to develop a current events feed on her work in response to heavy web traffic on her firm’s website. Benjamin Prosky and Marc Kushner, AIA, founders of Architizer, recently launched their website, which is a tool aimed at connecting the design community, establishing a database of architects, and allowing architects to easily publicize their work. Only three months old, the site has 4,500 members, and nearly 1,000 firm profiles posted.

For all the panelists, the benefit of using social media as a marketing tactic is the ability to be proactive about reaching an audience. Plotnick stated that as traditional media continues to struggle, blogging, texting, and tweeting allows designers to self-promote without relying on editors or writers. Rather than waiting for potential clients to come to her website, Dubbeldam sends out e-mail blasts to her mailing list each time her blog is updated. Prosky and Kushner developed Architizer so that when a project is uploaded, the user is prompted to input a broad range of information and project details along with countless images, resulting in an informal press release.

Those considering social media as an addition to their marketing and communications efforts may find the task daunting with so many outlets available and may be skeptical about the risks involved, time required, and ambiguous return on investment. Dubbeldam asserts that contributing to her blog is quick and efficient, while Plotnick, Prosky, and Kushner agree that their sites are only as strong as the frequent efforts of their contributors. Intrinsically void of censorship, all panelists advised that an overly conservative office culture is not the ideal setting for this endeavor. Plotnick stated, “Thankfully I work for a firm that lets us do our job and gives us the tools to play as well.”

While social media has yet to yield quantifiable business development results, it does enhance relationships that open doors to projects. For firms that lack a communications staff, such as Archi-Tectonics, the addition of a blog site expands web presence and multiplies a firm’s Google search hits with little effort. The synergy of social media sites has largely benefited the movement as well, since it provides users with a simple way to populate multiple outlets at once. Prosky and Kushner attribute Architizer’s swift popularity, in part, to Twitter, which quickly spread the word in the design community that a new tool was available. While company executives may be reluctant converts to the social media frenzy, once a successful social media presence is established, it is hard to imagine a marketing strategy without it. As Plotnick said, “I don’t think anyone from top to bottom [at HOK] would consider pulling the plug at this point.”

Artists Break Out of the Gallery and Reinvent Architecture

Event: Toward ANARCHITECTURE: A Conversation between Architects and Artists
Location: Center for Architecture, 12.16.09
Speakers: Vito Acconci — Artist, Designer, Acconci Studio; Dan Graham — Artist; James Wines — Founder & President, SITE
Moderator: Beatriz Colomina — Professor of Architecture & Founding Director, Program in Media and Modernity, Princeton University
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Committee

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Mur Island, Graz, 2003, by Acconci Studio.

Elvira Klamminger

Gordon Matta-Clark defined “anarchitecture” as “an attempt at clarifying ideas about space which are personal insights and reactions rather than socio-political statements.” Matta-Clark was not anti-architecture; he re-interpreted the discipline’s formal definition. In the fourth and final panel discussion of the series “Toward Anarchitecture,” a collection of designers whose portfolios reflect Matta-Clark’s school of thought discussed their work and trajectory of thought throughout their careers.

James Wines, founder and president of SITE and author of several books on the fusion of art and architecture, cited Le Corbusier as an innovator in cross-disciplinary context and hybrid design. His chapel in Ronchamp is exemplary of an “edifice as a piece of sculpture,” rather than sculpture being applied to a building as art, Wines claimed. In his own work, he found that by revisiting formal strategies he could uncover “a way of dissecting and transforming prejudices about buildings.” His work is sensitive to art and ecology, and operates in a domain that Wines described as “high risk,” explaining that its indefinable character causes architecture to be threatened by it and art to lack an understanding of it.

The works of artist Dan Graham and artist and designer Vito Acconci similarly cross borders. Graham creates habitable spaces and employs materiality and texture to create detailed interiors. He believes that all artistic work should be quasi-functional, breaking out of the confines of a gallery and creating site-specific work that is both spatial and sensory. “Everything I’ve done has been a hybrid,” he said.

Acconci’s career, stemming from an interest in writing, integrates multi-disciplinary thought, from fashion to industrial design. Acconci’s revelation that art is a field without inherent characteristics allowed him to use other disciplines in his work. Throughout his career, he slowly removed both himself and the envelope in which he worked, allowing his art to create its own spatial definitions through public participation. “I don’t think I wanted viewers, I wanted inhabitants, participants. The thing that drew me to architecture and design is that you can deal with all the everyday occasions of everyday life,” he reflected.