"Venice Design 2018"
2018 | GAA Foundation - European Cultural Center
"Living and working on America’s Paciﬁc Northwest it is hard not to remain humbled by the quiet and sublime power of landscape. We work in a place deﬁned by nature and because of this our studio creates designs which privilege place. It leads us to strive for an architecture so uniquely suited to the its site, climate and culture, that it would be hard to conceive it as anything but native to its location.
It is a testament to the pioneers of the architecture of the pacific northwest, those who fused early modernism, California’s outdoor lifestyle, and the climate and nature of the Pacific Northwest, that our work remains in long shadow of their efforts. This impulse to create modern architecture indelibly shaped by local conditions was given a critical framework in Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance, by Kenneth Frampton in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Post-Modern Culture. One of a number of responses to the breaking up of the modernist narrative, Kenneth Frampton called for an arrière-garde position that could inspire resistance to the globalizing tendencies of capitalist culture through topography, geographical context, climate, light, tectonic form, and the tactile nature of materials. Although articulated in a different cultural climate this position has now become one of the essential tenets of slow architecture; an architecture that stand in opposition to our image saturated digital culture by being intrinsically tied to ecological and sustainable approaches and a consumption which requires consideration to appreciate its intricacies.
Over the years we have built a practice that sees value in that original call to embrace Critical Regionalism. We see it as the starting point from which to develop a version of slow architecture and have adopted Kenneth Frampton’s original inspirations for resistance: topography, geographical context, climate, light, tectonic form, and the tactile nature of materials. To these we have folded in current technical, environmental, cultural, and social discourses as a way to move forward.
Our work has mainly been along the common but varied coast line of North America with projects from Baja California, Mexico, to Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. From these diverse climatic and cultural regions, our studio has been able to explore the possibilities of a critical regionalism in an expanded field as a way to generate sensitive modern architectural responses. We remain attached to the idea that Architecture should not be pre-conceived and believe buildings should be allowed to emerge from their context. We aim to arrive at projects that are not only singular but would be hard to conceive as anything but existing in their context.
We recognize that resistance to globalization may indeed be futile but we still cling to the idealism that perhaps the essence of our position can help create an architecture which, by granting privilege to its speciﬁc location, may at the very least provide an alternative to the normalizing excesses of global capitalism."