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, gathering, 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.
It all started with two aluminum elements, the “Horizontal” and the “Vertical.” The “Horizontal” is 100 inches long; the “Vertical” is 16-5/16 inches high. After countersinking 336 holes into the “Horizontal” and drilling 42 holes into the “Vertical,” they can attach together: “Verticals” to “Horizontals”; “Horizontals” to “Verticals”; “Verticals” to “Verticals”; and “Horizontals” to “Horizontals.” One “Horizontal” plus 3 “Verticals” make a single bench. . . . But “Verticals” can become horizontal and “Horizontals” vertical. All of these are attached by “People,” and we’ve found that “People” don’t like to follow directions. They bend or break the rules. You can, for example, construct something with “Horizontals” and no “Verticals,” or vice versa. This logic of addition repeats until you simply run out of parts or money or both. Everything is aggregated, arranged, and rearranged by “People.” Everything is mirrored. Everything reflects everything else. “People” assemble and disassemble “Horizontals” and “Verticals” while wearing beautiful shimmering “Uniforms”—silver mylar, pleated-nylon coats full of pockets for storage—designed in collaboration with Slow and Steady Wins the Race. These “Uniforms” store and conceal their tools. These “Uniforms” make the labor seem incredibly fun, which it is not. (It is slightly fun, if you’re into that sort of thing.) While working, “People” carry wonderful “Activity Books,” designed in collaboration with Studio Lin. These “Activity Books” inform and distract them from their work. But the “People” are a nomadic workforce. They don’t want to be doing this full-time. They want to be somewhere else. They want to be distracted. . . . Each “Activity Book” has 100 configurations—and a lot of stickers—that document a small portion of configurations made from “Horizontals” and “Verticals”: a bus stop; park bench; bed; catwalk; partition; auditorium; riot barricade; pop-up shop; A.A. (architecture anonymous) meeting space; breakdancing stage; performance review niche; community theater; avant-garde coffee shop; phone booth; bedroom ensemble; bulk storage; secret society hangout; temporary museum; graphic designer support space; place to forget your wallet; gluten-free cooking arena; artisanal mugs craft fair; yet another makerspace; lecture hall; nondenominational chapel; pretentious market; design nightschool; global art fair; open-source archive; revolutionary activity organization . . . We cannot anticipate what will happen, or all the possibilities for A/D/O, itself a workspace, design school, retail outlet, gallery, restaurant, and many more things all at once. It is a platform. It is an ever-changing assembly like the installation itself. We don’t completely understand what it will become. What we do know is that the “Verticals” and “Horizontals” are bolted together with ¼”-20 flat-head screws.
Project Team: Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample, John Yurchyk, Paul Ruppert, Michael Abel, Mark Acciari, Michaela Friedberg, Nile Greenberg, Zosia Nowakowska
Graphic Design: Studio Lin