From Doghouse to High Fashion: WORK AC Prevails in Style

Event: New Practices New York: WORK AC
Location: Häfele Showroom, 05.10.07
Speakers: Amale Andraos and Dan Wood, AIA — principals, WORK AC
Organizers: AIANY, in association with The Architect’s Newspaper and Häfele America Co.
Sponsor: Häfele America Co.

WORK AC partners Amale Andraos and Dan Wood, AIA, have maintained a sense of humor in their approach to running a young practice. Andraos joked that many of their early projects were either “competitions or cancelled,” including a residential tower in Beirut and a large housing project in Los Angeles. When they founded the firm in 2002, “we didn’t start with big ideas about form,” explained Andraos. “Our biggest rule was to say yes to everything.” Their first project was a design for an urban doghouse that integrated a treadmill surrounded by three flat screens that play videos, allowing the urban dog to experience chasing cars or butterflies.

These days they can afford to break their own rule and say no, as they now have completed high-profile projects such as the new headquarters for Diane von Furstenberg Studio in the Meatpacking District. The design combines two historic buildings, preserving their landmarked façades. The design approach, Andraos explained, was to be “highly specific about one element and generic about others.” To bring light through the depth of the buildings to the offices, they designed a “Stairdelier” — a cross between a stair and chandelier. A heliostat mirror focuses sunlight on guardrails laced with Swarovski crystals, distributing light throughout the building and providing a unifying focal point for the design.

The sixth and final lecture and exhibition showcasing the winners of the 2006 AIANY New Practices Showcase with Zakrzewski Hyde Architects will be 07.12.07 at 6:00pm.