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

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

Formlessfinder of New York 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.

Quarry House / Marina Rubina

© Todd Mason / Halkin Mason Photography

Architects: Marina Rubina
Location: Princeton, NJ 08542,
Year: 2012
Photographs: Todd Mason / Halkin Mason Photography

‘Performing Architecture’ Symposium

Courtesy of University

Taking place at Princeton University on October 13th from 10:00am-5:30pm, the ‘Performing Architecture’ symposium will bring together significant theorists and practitioners in the fields of architecture and performance and inviting a broader engagement with the artistic and academic community. In parallel with the art world’s return to performance and a renewed search for architecture’s social and political relevance, this symposium seeks to move beyond disciplinary hegemony in the dissemination of architecture today. Including Liz Diller(DS+R), Pedro Gadanho (MoMA), Vito Acconci, Roselee Goldberg, and many others, they hope to offer lasting provocations to how we think of the body, space, structure, and design in the disciplines of performance and architecture – and somewhere between the two. For more information, please visit here.

Design Icon: Michael Graves / Gary Nadeau

Our friends at Dwell have shared with us their short film featuring the legendary inside his beautiful home in which he created out of a disused warehouse. In the film, Graves shares the discoveries he made when renovating his house and thoughts about his career, his practice and universal design.

The film was directed and edited by Gary Nadeau. Continue after the break for the complete list of credits.

Princeton Students win National Competition with ‘Power in a Box’ Invention

Photo by Frank Wojciechowski

An interdisciplinary team of Princeton University students have been awarded top honors, along with 14 other collegiate teams, for their ‘Power in a Box’ invention that converted a standard shipping container into a sustainable source of energy for remote or disaster-torn regions. The 18-month national competition, known as the “P3: People, Prosperity and the Plant Student Design Competition for Sustainability”, began in the fall of 2010 with 165 competitor and culminated April 21 and 22 on the Washington, D.C. Mall. The U.S. Environment Protection Agency has awarded the students with a $90,000 grant to further develop and implement their project.

Continue reading for more information on ‘Power in a Box’.

Alejandro Zaera-Polo named dean of Princeton’s School of Architecture

Photo: University, Office of Communications, John Jameson (2012)

Barcelona-based architect and scholar Alejandro Zaera-Polo has been selected as the next dean of Princeton University’s School of Architecture, where he has served as a visiting lecture since 2008. He is internationally known for his award-winning practice, Architecture, his extensive academic experience and contributions to international publications, such as El Croquis, Quaderns, A+U, Arch+, Volume and Log.

He will succeed Brooklyn-based architect Stan Allen, who has served as the school’s dean since 2002. After the new appointment becomes effective on July 1, 2012, Allen plans to return to full-time teaching and architectural design after a yearlong sabbatical. As reported by Architectural Record, Allen stated, “We were looking for somebody who worked at a very high level as a designer-practitioner, but also approached architecture as an intellectual activity. There aren’t a lot of people like that out there.”

Princeton University Carl A. Fields Center / Ann Beha Architects

© David Lamb Photography

Ann Beha Architects’ award-winning design transforms and expands an exclusive men’s club— an 1890’s Italianate structure— into a University-wide Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding. The project restores the historic building, repurposes and expands it, and sets it in a new campus landscape. The original Center, dedicated in the 1970’s, first established a common ground for dialogue on Afro-American issues in a modest former athletic building. This new location creates spaces for research, administration, teaching and community; musical, academic, and social programs. The Center is a hub of activity for groups of all ages and backgrounds and welcomes both on-campus and community groups.

Architect: Ann Beha Architects
Location: Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Project Area: 5,100 sqf New Construction, 13,700 sqf Renovation
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: David Lamb Photography