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.
The Floating House is part of a master plan including five proposed guest houses based on the repetition of a generic vernacular house. Located on a remote island in Lake Huron with a harsh seasonal climate, an on-site construction process would have been difficult, so the 2,200-square-foot house was built on a floating steel pontoon structure at the contractor’s lakeside workshop and then towed and anchored to the final site for the installation of finishes. The front of the house faces the water. There is a loose symmetry in the plan. The entrance opens onto a landscaped path that passes through the building and down the stairs, wrapped behind a screen of cedar siding. This path connects the two sides of the U-shaped island.
The house is clad in a cedar plank rainscreen that visually unifies walls and roof. The spacing of the planks varies around openings to admit light and air. The rainscreen provides air movement between interior and exterior, dissipating heat gain and reducing wind load. Anchored to the granite lakebed, the house moves with the changing water level. The architecture floats; it is an abstraction of the vernacular house, displaced onto the lake.
Project Team: Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample, Fred Holt, Chad Burke, Ryan Bollom, Forest Fulton, Temple Simpson, Martin Kedzior, Jimenez Lai
Structural Engineer: J. David Bowick, Blackwell Engineering Ltd., Toronto
Photographs: Florian Holzherr, Raimund Koch