Cantilevers on Sand, Ducks in a Bag & Other Adventures: A Conversation with FormlessFinder

Julian Rose (left) and Garrett RIcciardi (right) met at Princeton University and later started together . Image Courtesy of

Formlessfinder of City has a vision “to liberate architecture from the constraints of form.” Samuel Medina of Metropolis Magazine recently interviewed the Princeton duo on contemporary architectural practice – fittingly naming them “Formal Renegades.”

“We like architecture,” says Garrett Ricciardi, with real sincerity. “We want to save architecture.” But from what? Ricciardi is one half of New York–based formlessfinder, the experimental—you might say radical—architecture firm he founded with Julian Rose in 2011,  just after the pair completed a joint thesis at Princeton University. Their project, which laid out the blueprint for Ricciardi and Rose’s subsequent collaborations, advanced a daring proposition: to liberate architecture from the constraints of form.

“The basic idea of the formless is about freeing up architecture to make it about what we want it to be about,” Rose says. “The idea is that form has sort of gotten in the way,” he adds, before checking off a laundry list of offenders: parametricism, digital fabrication, blobs, minimalism. Where form has “always served to limit and control,” the formless, as the architects have come to define it, is subversive by nature. It’s an operation rife with uncertainty, producing “messy, equivocal, and, most importantly, generative” results.

Formlessfinder’s “Tent Pile” a Hit at Design Miami/

© James Harris

From the architects. Formlessfinder’s Tent Pile brings an intensely architectural intervention to Design Miami/, inventing a new building typology to provide shade, seating, cool air, and a space to play for the city’s public. The design practice, co-founded by Julian Rose and Garrett Ricciardi in 2010, approaches new projects with an interest in the specifics of geography — closely examining the spatial, social, and physical conditions of the location with which their structure will interact. They prioritize the use of available materials, committing to deploy them in ways that allow for reuse, an approach that produces what they refer to as “an architecture that can go from nothing to something and back again.”

Learn more after the break…

Video: Design Miami Pavilion / Formlessfinder

Formlessfinder, the New York-based architects, designers and outside-the-box thinkers won this year’s commission to build the entrance to Design /. Tent Pile is a balancing act of aluminium and , the latter is often seen as an obstacle to overcome in architecture rather than the solution. But that’s the way these guys roll.

Design Miami Pavilion / formlessfinder

© formlessfinder

Each December, Design Miami/ commissions early-career architects to build a designed environment for the fair’s entrance as part of its biannual Design Commissions program. This year’s winning proposal, dubbed “Tent Pile,” was designed by the New York-based architectural practice formlessfinder. Its design harnesses the properties of sand and aluminum to create shade, seating, cool air and a space to play for Miami‘s public.

P.S.1 YAP 2011 entry: “Bag Pile” by FormlessFinder

© FormlessFinder

As we reported last week, Interboro Partners’ “Holding Pattern” was selected as the winner of the 2011 YAP organized by the MoMA and the MoMA P.S.1. As usual, and in order to extend the debate, we are presenting you the running entries.

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We present you “Bag Pile” by NY-based firm FormlessFinder. The proposal is based on a series of arches constructed by filling geo textile tubes with gravel and sand at the botton, and recycled foam piles at the top. The heavy elements at the bottom secure the arches, while providing thermal mass to cool down the yard. FormlessFinder’s approach is very different from past installations, on which “temporary” is translated into lightweight elements.

More about Bag Pile after the break:

MAXXI Joins Young Architects Program

© Alan R Tansey

The annual make-over of PS1′s courtyard is one of our favorite summertime events, as the competition brings fresh, crazy and creative proposals to the table.  The NYTimes recently shared that the MoMA and PS1 have asked MAXXI – the National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome – to be the third partner in their Young Architects Program.   MAXXI will take part in transforming the Long Island City site, but there will also be a separate installation displayed in Rome.

Logistically, a New York jury and a Rome jury will chose the winning architects in February.  The short list for MAXXI includes Raffaella De Simone and Valentina Mandalari of Palermo, Ghigos Ideas of Lissone and stARTT of Rome, Asif Khan of London and Langarita Navarro Arquitectos of Madrid (we’ve covered several Langarita Navarro works previously on AD here).

As we featured several weeks ago, the MoMA/MoMA PS1 finalists include Interboro Partners of Brooklyn, Matter Architecture Practice of Brooklyn, and FormlessFinder also of Brooklyn, MASS Design Group in Boston and IJP Corporation Architects of London.

You can expect full coverage of this exciting new partnership, especially the new proposals for the summer.  We are looking forward to seeing if these proposals top last summer’s ideas.