Young Architects Test Their Boundaries

Event: Young Architects Forum: Proof
Location: The Urban Center, New York City, 05.17.07, 6:30
Speakers: Ivan Hernadez Quintela — ludens productions, Mexico City; Carlos Bedoya & Wonne Ickx & Victor Jaime & Abel Perles — PRODUCTORA, Mexico City
Introduction: Lisa Hseih — Young Architects Committee
Organizers: The Architectural League of New York

Museum of Contemporary Art in Lima

PRODUCTORA’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Lima, Peru, is buried under the desert sand.


“Architectural practice is a process of persistently testing and reworking hypotheses continually moving toward ‘proof’,” posits Lisa Hsieh of The Architectural League of NY’s Young Architects Committee. Ludens and PRODUCTORA, two of this year’s selected architectural practices for the Young Architects Forum, both from Mexico City, embody this notion of testing through the exploration of boundary and representation in architecture.

Architecture is an “excuse for interaction” for Ivan Hernadez Quintela of ludens productions. Locating this interaction in a “space of friction,” Quintlela attempts to define the boundary between intimate space and the public realm and spur interaction among individuals. Demonstrating that architecture is incomplete without participation, the See-Saw Table alternates the positions of two participants between eating (lower and closer to the table) and talking (higher and away). Likewise, in some of his public furniture, such as a bench shaped like a spinning top, the interaction of multiple users is required to balance the shifts as each additional person gets involved. The result is equilibrium that is constantly recalibrated through a social and physical negotiation of space.

Boundary is more a question of representation than of social interaction in the work of PRODUCTORA. As inhabited and gradated thresholds, boundaries are experiential. In their proposal for the Tsunami Memorial Site in Oslo, Norway, a simple, abstract pathway that cuts into the land and hovers above the water represents the fragile relationship between culture and nature. In a proposal for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lima, Peru, PRODUCTORA buries the project in its desert site. By organizing the museum as a hypostyle hall of various-sized columns that scale diagonally from one corner to the other — as thin columns to a series of “inhabitable columns,” their proposal re-presents the history of museums as dialogue of spatial typologies.

The testing of boundaries found in the work of both ludens and PRODUCTORA highlights the boundary as a fundamental condition for architecture while simultaneously questioning its very authority. The resultant “Proof” in the work of these practices then, is never final or determinant.