As one of the first organizations to implement a regular award for young architects, The Architectural Review has had its eye on youth for over a decade and a half. But with awards, exhibitions and media coverage of those conspicuously labeled as “Young Architects” proliferating in the years since, has the concept now been co-opted by those who merely seek to monetize and exploit architecture’s most precarious practitioners? In this polemical article, originally published by The Architectural Review as “The problem with ‘Young Architecture’,” AR Assistant Editor Phineas Harper and Phil Pawlett Jackson unpick how the cult of “Young Architecture” has been absorbed into the profession, with potentially harmful ramifications.
When the romantic notion of the architect as auteur, a high priest in the cult of culture, is married to the virginal myth of untainted youth, a potent marketable commodity is brewed: the “Young Architect”. All but invisible when the AR launched its Emerging Architecture prize at the end of the 20th century, this breed is now celebrated in numerous awards, exhibitions and published collections. But beware the cult of youth − there is a broad landscape of risks as well as opportunities facing designers who choose this identity willingly or have it thrust upon them.
Since year 2000, the MoMA and the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center present the Young Architects Program, an annual competition that invites emerging architects to design a temporary structure at the P.S.1 ’s facility in Long Island City, Queens. This has been a field for experimentation for digital manufacturing, new materials and new construction techniques -all under a tight budget-, as we saw in 2008 with the P.F.1 installation by WORKac.
But also, the other proposals by BSC Architecture, !ndie architecture, L.E.FT architects and PARA-project explore this and other social/cultural concepts on their proposals, so we decided to contact them and feature this projects so you can get the whole picture.
I´d like to thank Michel (MOS), Martin (BSC Architecture), Paul (!ndie architecture), Ziad (L.E.FT architects), Jon (PARA-project), April (P.S.1) and Meg (MoMA) for helping us out on this article.
And now, onto the proposals:
For this competition the P.S.1 invites each year a group of emerging architects to experiment with new shapes and materials, as Work AC did last year with their PF1 project.
MOS project is entitled Afterparty, a design that Micheal Meredith and Hilary Sample (MOS partners) say is meant to honor and reflect current economic realities, by using basic materials. The main structure is a lightweight aluminum frame using recyclable parts which require minimal assembly, which will become a landmark for the neigborhood – all this on a USD$70,000 budget.
I spoke with Michael a few minutes ago and he refered to the name of the project: One thing about the “Afterparty,” as we’re calling it, is the need to look for new promiscuities after the party of a sort of high-formalism which has dominated academic discourse, and in our case it’s with the basic structural arch geometries, rough almost singular materiality and the production and interaction of “environment,” (literally cooling down the courtyard through stack effect) looking towards a more primitive state of architecture. – (See afterparty definition on Wikipedia).
The project is still under development, and we´ll keep you posted on further updates. We´ll try to do a good coverage on this as we did last year.
More images of Afterparty after the break.
Gage / Clemenceau Architects is a NY based architectural firm that deals with a wide scale of projects, from product design, commercial & residential projects to exhibition design. Also runners for the Young Architects Program @ PS1 in 2007, Gage Clemenceau´s work is motivated by the premise that architecture transcends the practice of mere building- in favor of a new and vibrant alliance between progressive technologies, new materials, context and program.
We interviewed Mark Foster Gage (G/C partner, assistant professor at Yale), and discussed about education, media, networking role of architects in contemporary society, among other topics regarding the current state of architectural practice in our second issue of AD Interviews, in a very interesting and fluid talk.
More interviews each Sunday. Please leave your feedback at the comments for future issues.
Pictures of the Gage Clemenceau Studio after the break.
A few weeks ago we started conducting a series of video interviews with some of the most promising young architects. In times when “[...] architect may no longer mean architect“, they were asked to talk about key aspects of their role as an architect in modern society, among other topics to discuss about the direction of architecture.
Our first guest is Shohei Shigematsu (1973). He graduated from the Department of Architecture at Kyushu University in 1996, and then went to the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam. He started working at OMA in 1998, becoming an associate in 2004. He´s now the director of OMA*AMO NY, working on projects such as the CCTV Headquartes in Beijing, the design of the Whitney Museum extension in NY, the Millestain Hall at Cornell, the Stock Exchange at Shenzhen, the Torre Bicentenario in Mexico and a mixed use building in Jersey City.
Photos of OMA NY after the break.