Metropolis has released their list of five design thinkers leading the world in innovation for their 2016 Game Changers issue. The Metropolis Game Changers issue was created in 2011 to showcase transformational changes that are national in scope, but global in impact, and can be awarded to individuals, firms, projects or ideas within the various spheres of design. Past nominees from the realm of architecture include Michael Maltzan, MASS Design Group, Edward Mazria, Vincent Scully, SOM’s Great Lake Century Project, and former SHoP Principal Vishaan Chakrabarti.
With two architectural firms, an architecture curator and a co-working space driving urban renewal all making the five-strong list, this year's Game Changers issue offers plenty of interest for architectural readers.
“If you can’t experiment on yourself, you shouldn’t be experimenting on anyone else. You don’t have the right.” - Stephen Kieran
Metropolis selected Philadelphia firm KieranTimberlake for their innovation in sustainability and their experimental spirit - practiced even within their own office. The firm has long been esteemed for their attention for detail and emphasis on sustainability, but upon moving to new office headquarters in a former bottling plant last year, they have started to use their own workspace as a testing ground for passive heating and cooling strategies, and to construct full-scale mock-ups of design details early enough in the process to make significant improvements to their finished products.
“Never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform, and reuse!” - Lacaton & Vassal
For French architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, architecture doesn’t mean designing brand-new, look-at-me buildings made of expensive materials. Instead, the team takes on many renovation projects, searching for design solutions that are both cost-effective and experiential. Even in their new built projects, they constantly look towards existing conditions to uncover new ways of exposing users to light and air, sometimes coming in the form of winter gardens or sliding polycarbonate panels.
“We really tried to include in the biennial this full range of thinking, this full range of spaces that practitioners are occupying in the field” - Sarah Herda
As co-artistic director for the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennale, Herda issued a call to architects to tell the world what architecture meant to them. By selecting the 130-plus participating architects and artists from myriad origins and perspectives, Herda was really making her own statement: it's time for the architectural world to respond to the needs of all. Also serving as director of the Graham Foundation, Herda has made a career of designing the much-needed platforms necessary for art and architecture to be heard.
“In terms of a collective effort, there are a couple of studios in Detroit now that are starting to bring people together under one roof, but there’s nothing quite like Ponyride.” - Jane Schulak, Culture Lab Detroit
Ponyride could be called a co-working space, but with tenants including a handmade denim company, a recording studio, a concrete furniture fabrication and a metalworking studio, the complex has rethought the way traditional office buildings can be used. The 30,000 square-foot workspace was born out of Detroit’s economic crisis, becoming a place where residents can collaborate to create the new artistic foundations for their city while putting to work many homeless and jobless residents left hanging after the recession.
Domus Design Collection (DDC)
“The idea was to intermix to create an ensemble display, so that it felt less off-the-rack and more made-to-measure” - Michael Gabellini, interior designer
Domus Design Collection, or DDC, is made up of three brothers, Babak, Siamak and Danny Hakakian, who together have become one of the main tastemakers for forward-thinking contemporary furniture. For their flagship store, the group hired then 93-year-old Philip Johnson to design the interiors of a 20,000 square foot space on the corner of Madison and 34th Street in Manhattan. They’ve since expanded to multiple locations, enlisting the help of architects and designers along the way, to create spaces where you could shop for “three, four hours.”
For their 2016 issue, each of these Game Changers was featured in a detailed article by Metropolis - find out more about all five Game Changers and how they are impacting the design world at Metropolis Magazine here.