For the second year in a row, NADAAA has captured the top slot for design. Once again, the design jury noted the firm’s command over a diverse range of typologies and geographies, regardless of whether it’s a $90 million school of architecture that just opened in Australia or an elegant private home sited amid olive groves in France. The judges hailed the firm’s “strong handling of materials and structural form to shape light and connect to each site.”
Research, says principal Dan Gallagher, AIA, underscores the firm’s design ethos and allows for success within its breadth of projects. “At the base of all of our work, regardless of scale and location, is the rigorous analysis of place, of material, of program, of structure, of orientation,” he says. “This makes us less of a conventional firm, perhaps, in that we don’t specialize in one type of project. Rather, it is the rigor of our process that carries through. And that can manifest itself in different programs.”
To support its iterative design process, NADAAA has added an in-house shop that allows for prototyping, modeling, and even fabricating custom elements for projects. This allows the architects to test unusual forms and materials and to prove feasibility to clients and construction professionals, bridging the gulf that can exist between rendering and reality. “There are all of these other pieces that go into design: client management, execution, the place between the beautiful rendering and actually getting something built,” says principal Katherine Faulkner, AIA. “We consider that to be a part of the design process as well. We are quite muscular on the delivery end.”
Follow this link for all of the coverage of the 2014 ARCHITECT 50, as well as all of the past winners.