Event: France – New York: Young Architects Dialogue
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.24.12
Organizers: The Center for Architecture and the Visual Arts, Architecture, Design-Arts Department of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
Welcome: Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter
Moderator: Marc Clemenceau Bailly, AIA, Gage-Clemenceau Architects; Co-Chair, AIANY New Practices Committee
Speakers: Guillaume Aubry, Cyril Gauthier, and Yves Pasquet, Freaks – Freearchitects, France; Remi Salles, A+R Salles Paysagisme, France; Jing Liu, Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO-IL), New York; Marc Kushner, AIA, HWKN, New York
This Monday, the Center for Architecture hosted an evening of vivid cultural exchange and comparison, which brought two emerging French firms and young architect laureates of the Album des Jeunes Architectes et Paysagistes (AJAP) 2011, together for conversation with two award-winning emerging New York firms, both recent winners of the MoMA Young Architects Program. After brief shout-outs for some of the distinguished guests in the audience, including Thomas Delamarre of French Cultural Services and Chrissa Laporte of the French-American Foundation, the program and panelists were introduced by moderator, Marc Clemenceau Bailly, AIA. Marc, a partner at Gage-Clemenceau Architects (gageclemenceau.com/home/), is a recent New Practices winner and co-chair, and after his enthusiastic stage-setting, the invited firms started the evening with presentations of their work.
FREAKS, also known as FREEARCHITECTS, (www.archdaily.com/tag/freaks-freearchitects) is a Paris-based design firm with three partners, Guillaume Aubry, Cyril Gauthier, and Yves Pasquet, all graduates of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-La Villette. After having worked several years for larger architecture firms, they founded “Freaks – Freearchitects” in 2007. The three principals distinguish themselves by an uninhibited approach to architecture and urbanism, demonstrated by their ebullient presentation of a video chronicling their “Sur Mesure” sticker installation of red dimension lines on the landmark façade of Oscar Niemeyer’s Building for the French Communist Party in Paris. Their projects, in general, tackle domestic issues and favor a hands-on methodology.
A+R SALLES PAYSAGISME was represented on the panel by Rémi Salles, one of two partners, with his wife, Amélie. The couple met while studying landscape architecture at the Ecole Supérieure d’Architecture des Jardins et du Paysage. In 2003, they moved to Dublin, where they lived and worked for six years. During Ireland’s economic boom they won commissions including two city parks on the outskirts of Dublin. In 2006 they decided to join forces to create A+R Salles Paysagisme, a landscape firm based in Guitres. The Dublin work was presented in Rémi’s talk, and was characterized by what he described as a “generous” vision of the landscape – and one that was necessarily green.
Jing Liu of SO – IL was up next. She and Florian Idenburg are founders of Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu, hence “SO – IL” (www.so-il.org/) an idea-based design office. With a global reach, it brings together extensive experience from the fields of architecture, academia, and the arts. Idenburg and Liu envisioned their New York studio in 2008 as a creative catalyst involved in all scales and stages of the architectural process. With roots in Europe, China, and Japan, they endeavor to realize their ideas globally. SO-IL is a recent winner of the MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program, AIANY New Practices Award, and an AIA Design Award. Jing started her presentation with the MoMA/PS1 installation.
Lastly, HWKN (www.hwkn.com/) was represented by Marc Kushner, AIA, who had also been a speaker at Saturday’s Future Now Summit (see article by Julie Engh, Assoc. AIA, above). Marc is a partner – along with Matthias Hollwich – in the New York-based architecture firm HWKN and is a co-founder of Architizer, which he founded in 2009 with his partners. Architizer is a revolution in the way architects communicate their work and is the first crowd-sourced database for architecture online. Since its inception, Architizer has started a fundamental re-evaluation within the profession of how architecture is consumed, and remains the fastest growing platform for architecture online. HWKN’s “Wendy” at MoMA/PS1 was this year’s summer installation.
Bringing together architects and landscape architects from different cultural and political contexts has become a hallmark of the Center for Architecture and its well-attended seminars and symposia crafted by Laura Trimble Elbogen, the Center’s Partnership Programs Manager. With deft moderating by Marc Bailly, the dialogue with our colleagues and copains proved most fruitful. If there were difference in dialect or client-base, the similarity between the firms and their intent was, if anything, more vivid.