Cultured Magazine

Fall 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 65 of 123

Down to Earth Although architecture remains a pure pursuit for formlessfinder, its concept for Design Miami/ breaks free of boundaries. BY DAN RUBINSTEIN Can you create a building without a wall, a column or even a slab? Can a pile of stones be considered architecture? These questions, posed by emerging New York-based architecture firm formlessfinder, will take center stage at this December's Design Miami/. The young duo—Garrett Ricciardi and Julian Rose—who met while studying together at Princeton—have been chosen to create the fair's entrance pavilion. In choosing formlessfinder, the fair's organizers are deliberately striking a daringly conceptual tone. The team's design is devilishly simple: an elegantly cantilevered A-frame canopy that from one side appears to teeter precariously on a pile of naturally sloping sand. Visitors will be invited to sit on the sand facing outwards from the fair's tent or on benches on the opposite side behind a wall. The entire structure will be held in place by a massive amount of locally sourced sand— inspired by what most of Miami is built upon—without any help from supports drilled into the ground. "There are many different forces—social, cultural, political—that shape architecture at any given moment, but form is often the dominant one," says Rose. "The idea was not to make an architecture that doesn't have a shape, which is obviously an impossible paradox, but to try and look around at some of the dominant notions of form we see today that we think are limiting—and to start undermining them." The duo will also forward these notions in "Formless," a book edited by Ricciardi and Rose and 64 CULTURED done in collaboration with New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture. This fascination with the unstructured runs throughout the duo's career, including their finalist submission to MoMA PS1's Young Architects Program in 2011. For their YAP proposal, titled Bag Pile, a shelter was created by erecting columns of tube-shaped bags filled with gravel on the bottom and foam on top. Without a frame, the structure not only would have been inexpensive to build but also to demolish, a major cost that's usually overlooked in the planning of temporary structures. "These vast amounts of materials already exist, so you can make architecture from nothing and then return it back to nothing," says Ricciardi. "If you think of concrete and how you make a column, you can't reduce that column back down to zero without a huge expenditure of energy. But if you put these loose materials in a pile or in a bag, you can just empty out the bag at the end of the project and use the materials as if they had never been touched in the beginning." While talk of bags and piles might seem to dampen formlessfinder's commercial prospects, the pair insists they're interested in a conventional career path. "In a strange way—and people laugh when we say this—we think of ourselves as fairly conservative in a lot of senses," says Ricciardi. "We're committed to this almost traditional sense of architecture. We don't want to be artists, we don't want to be computer scientists. We really see architecture as its own thing, and we stand committed to building things."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cultured Magazine - Fall 2013