Premises for Practice
We are invested in the constructionist possibilities of architecture, in the ability of buildings to project new worlds, to inspire new forms of inhabitation in these worlds.
Along Nelson Goodman’s view of art as a cumulative and intensive logic, architecture worlds offers a level of rigor and complexity on par with whatever real worlds there are out there.
The following main ideas guide our work:
Architecture as World: The idea that each building could be a world or part of a world, that it would start from an instant transition to an internal moment, like a courtyard, that this world would have its seductions and rules, and that it would then unwind outwards to meet the edges of the world and transform it. That this transformation could also transgress the conventional boundaries between building and context so that a new spatial relationship could emerge, something like a new geography that re-describes the terrain in which architecture operates. Architecture as World is not only microcosmic. Architecture could also make us aware of the World as one entity from where we are, calling out the curvature of the earth, carving cosmic coordinates into the most peculiar of places.
Intense Edges, Open Spaces: The idea that architecture should act as a framework on which the operations of design are applied with intensity, along the edges of the space, and that these edges then reverberate with possibilities of use and occupation, maintaining a void on the interior and an object-like character on the exterior. The edges intensify because they are over-determined with possibilities of equipping and supporting the spaces they surround. In their turn, the spaces are under-determined in order to encourage the users to imagine and reimagine possibilities of their inhabitation.
New Inhabitation: The idea that the functional dimension of architecture should remain important in this process but that it should be addressed as inhabitation rather than as program. In that sense, program is redefined as a habit of living that should be interrogated and revised rather than as a sequence of sequestered spaces that get reshuffled and recombined but that are ultimately maintained intact. We are invested in encouraging new habits of living. We engage emerging audiences whose habits are in formation and who look for architecture to help articulate what they could be.
New Eyes: The idea that we should inhabit these new contexts with new eyes, that the new habits of living are encouraged by new habits of seeing which in turn imbue architecture with another layer of significance. This significance is one that maintains a level of openness to the experiences of its inhabitants, it is acquired rather than imposed.
The idea that these new ways of seeing provide, in every project, a logic of measurement and proportion that helps in making decisions about how high, how wide, and how deep. Proportional systems, structural constraints, and empirical issues, will always produce the numbers for us, but our eyes should provide the final calibration.
Architecture as Platform for Exchange: The idea that architecture should communicate in its own languages but that it should also be the host to other media, to act as a pedestal or surface on which the different graphics and media can coexist, exchange their signs and recover to architecture its hospital rather than its hegemonic presence among the arts. Architecture is a form of inscription that encourages other forms of inscription as well.
These ideas respond to some predicaments in contemporary architecture mainly:
- - the uncritical embrace of programme
- - the full immersion in, or total neglect of, context
- - the monomania with which geometry is employed
- - the exclusion of other media
We live these contemporary predicaments in our practice everyday. We share with most architects the desire to be contemporary, whether in Cambridge or in rural Lebanon. We share the pleasures of communicating through current trends. We also share the ambition to be ahead of, or detached from, the contemporary just enough to appear as if we are heralding architecture towards us, but we would hope, like most architects, that we attract the best aspects of the present moment and repel its worst and that in this process, we define a unique position, somewhere between Boston and Beirut.