If given the choice between staring blankly into space or reading architects’ office statements on their website, we choose the first. They all say the same thing: we’re sustainable, responsible with budgets, experienced, award-winning, etc. . . . The game seems to be how to say nothing in particular and comfort any worries of someone contemplating hiring you. After a few clicks, it’s hard not to think that all this quote-unquote professionalism is very cold at its core. We can’t tell you exactly when MOS started. We like to say it was 2003, but we didn’t have an office space then and our name was !@#?, which we quickly found was too difficult to use because 1. you couldn’t pronounce it and 2. you couldn’t get a web address. So, eventually, we drifted towards MOS—an acronym of our names and reflection of a shared desire to be horizontal and fuzzy, as opposed to tall and shiny. We began around an oversized table, a surface for collecting and working through a range of design experiments—a make-believe of architectural fantasies, problems, and thoughts. As we’ve grown, we remain around a large table, working together on each project through playful experimentation and serious research. This website indexes that work: housing; schools; houses; cultural institutions; retail; exhibition design; installations; furniture; objects; books; writing; software experiments; and videos.
Krabbesholm Højskole (Denmark) is awarded an AIA NY Excellence Award
MOS Architects receive an AIA New York Award of Merit for Element House
We draw, talk, email, doodle, diagram, render, print, print, draw, model, receive, distribute, call, approve, confirm, reject, plead, deny, laugh, export, import, present, listen, order, zoom, script, post, pan, copy, paste, scale, collate, staple, eat, list, drink, walk, draw, chat, meet, photograph, crop, calculate, draw, adjust, tweak, sip, solve, stack, note, organize, scan, edit, review, print, question, comment, make, sketch . . . and occasionally, we collect things from this process and store them in a flat file.
Location: 2016 Lisbon Architecture Triennial, Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras, Lisbon, Portugal
Date: December, 2016
Like most cities, it began with a Grid, which made sense when we had to navigate, remember, negotiate, and find our own way. Its single-mindedness physically structured all parts into a whole, providing orientation, location, address, memory, and identity. It made things much more manageable and rational. We had a sense of where things stood in relation to each other.
What happened next is impossible to completely grasp. Maybe it was the landscape, maybe it was the people, or maybe no one was paying attention. But at some point cities grew unrepresentable as a totality, became an ungraspable, entropic mess of stuff and events—all the parts overwhelmed the whole. The city became a collection of monuments, of neighborhoods and archipelagos. We needed cognitive maps to make sense of it all.
Nowadays size and distance don’t matter, only resolution. Objectivity is a matter of perspective. And everyone’s sole concern is how strong their signal is. We are emancipated from everything. We are imprisoned by everything. We no longer need maps, cognitive or otherwise, only directions. We communicate in bed at any hour, with anyone, to anywhere; we collect friends; we search infinite heaps of information in an instant; we follow each other closely, from great distances: our memory and the navigation of cities are outsourced to the cloud. The city now fits neatly in our pocket, the unrepresentable chaos of the past now relatively manageable and representable. There are no differences between parts and wholes. Everything is simultaneously isolated and interconnected.
Project Team: Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample, Michael Abel, Nile Greenberg, Paul Ruppert, Zosia Nowakowska