Young Architects 15: Range showcases the winning work of six firms and eight architects within the 2013 Architectural League Prize. Since young architects are often recognized for their design concepts rather than their actualized execution, The Architectural League of New York and its Young Architects and Designers committee asked these early-career competitors to explore how their projects evolve when they encounter the discipline’s boundaries. Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA, president of the Architectural League of New York, notes that each of this year’s collection of portfolios either literally or metaphorically derives inspiration from the natural world, such as Young Project’s 3D-printed, plated nickel Hive Lantern and Matter Design’s sterling silver Cumulous jewelry series, reminiscent of cloud formations. This year’s winners, listed below, provide a glimpse of what the next generation of architects will offer.
Luis Callejas of LCLA Office
LCLA Office’s mission is “at the intersection of the fields of architecture, landscape, and urbanism,” concerning the territorialism of public space. Founded in 2011, with offices operating in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Medellin, Colombia, Luis Callejas is both the director of LCLA and a faculty member at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he teaches studios and seminars on landscape architecture. One of his most notable designs featured in Young Architects 15 is the Aquatic Center for the XI Medellin South American Games, a 20,000-square-meter (215,278-square-foot) open-air complex consisting of four pools separated by tropical wetland plants native to the area. By integrating both landscaping and architecture, Callejas pushes for the two realms “to work in synchronicity” in order to “make a meaningful impact on a territorial scale.”
Brandon Clifford and Wes McGee, Matter Design
Matter Design is primarily concerned with integrating ancient masonry methods into their contemporary practice by turning the conventional focus of digital design from surface to volume and vacuum. Deriving from Philibert de l’Orme’s method of art du trait geometrique—a way “to reciprocally draw what can be built and vice versa”—Brandon Clifford and Wes McGee dedicate their discipline to how traditional matters can be manipulated within the digital arena. This takes form at a larger scale in their half-scale helical staircase, and in a more concentrated approach in their sterling silver Cumulous jewelry. Founded in 2008 as an interdisciplinary design practice, Matter Design is the result of a steady collaboration between McGee and Clifford while serving as faculty at University of Michigan and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), respectively.
Marc Fornes of THEVERYMANY
MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY is a Brooklyn-based architecture firm that explores computational protocols integrated into the fields of design, fabrication, and research-oriented prototypes. Fornes adheres to “a continuous investigation, with intensive focus on architecture’s relation to structure, form description, information modeling, and digital fabrication,” shown in structures such as Chromatae, installed at the Denver Botanic Garden, which questions how what he calls “computational coloring” can accentuate a sensory environment.
Rafael Luna and Dongwoo Yim of PRAUD
PRAUD, a research and design firm co-founded by Rafael Luna and Dongwoo Yim, focuses on the combined effects of urbanism and architecture. Hybridity, urbanity, and density arise through the discourse of urban research and contemporary architecture, as with I Want to Be Metropolitan—a study of the morphology of Boston and how well it has adapted to urbanization in comparison to other major cities. One of their main concentrations is the comprehensive transformation of their profession and the roles it takes, addressed in PRAUD Range, for which Luna and Kim mapped out all of their works to examine the range of both their works and their roles as architects.
Skylar J.E. Tibbits of SJET
SJET started out as a platform for founder Skylar Tibbits’ specialties of experimental computation and design. Currently a research scientist at MIT’s Department of Architecture, Tibbits creates self-assembly technologies and programmable materials, combining his multi-versed skills as architect, designer, and computer scientist. Tibbits incorporates the natural world’s most concentrated form, the atom, into several of his projects. Fluid Crytallization, for instance, involves 350 hollow spheres submerged into a tank of 200 gallons of water which then mimic the process of intramolecular covalent bonding for carbon atoms. Tibbits’ work thematically shows an “endless search for more and occupying this range of the unknown.” Additionally, he worked on past collaborations with another featured Young Architect winner, Marc Fornes of the THEVERYMANY.
Bryan Young of Young Projects
Founded in New York City in 2010 by namesake Bryan Young, Young Projects is a service-based studio that constructs buildings conscious of physical constraints, such as site, context and resources. With topography always in mind, Young Projects builds everything from inhabitable fireplaces, like the inhabitable Carraig Ride Fireplace in Alberta, to full-fledged homes in sync with their natural landscape surroundings, such as the Playa Grande Main House in the Dominican Republic. Young Projects alludes to its clients’ architectural needs, maintaining “a consistent methodology rather than a unifying aesthetic agenda” in their practice.
This year’s League Prize Committee noted that architecture, as reflected in the works of these six firms, "seems without bounds right now.” • $24.95; Princeton Architectural Press, June 2014