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.
If all disciplinary narratives are personal and provincial, then we are not quote-un-quote postmodern, but post-parametric. Parametricism was our model of both total expert control and novelty, a positivist expressionism. (Gestural forms argued through technical precision.) This expressionism encourages our indifference. Previous progressive (avant-garde) disciplinary narratives relied upon technique to destabilize “form.” Eventually, technique was simply replaced with technology. Nowadays, it is the idea of progress itself (both disciplinary and technological) that is in doubt. The Belgians have replaced the Japanese. We’ve witnessed the return to the pre-internet 80s, pre-nurb painterly compositional models, hand-sketching, collage instead of photo-realistic digital renders, Miami Vice pastel colors, etc…. But that said, today nothing dies, so even constructing a narrative like this seems inaccurate and partial. All disciplinary procedures, narratives, models, etc… co-exist, perhaps it is the volume and tone that has shifted. Students aren’t racing towards the latest technological apparatus or digging up some arcane geometry, like they used to, if anything they seem to be looking for some forgotten stylistically bizarre image from the junkpile of history. Our field appears flatter and more diffuse. It is impossible to imagine an original architecture or something shockingly new. (Similarly, pedagogy itself has been replaced by an amazon algorithm, if you like this you’ll probably like this too.)
All in all, Architecture seems pretty boring these days, and that’s okay. Our current condition is the aftermath to the recent positivist expressionism and the academic and curatorial emphasis on urgency or crisis over the past decade. There are plenty of things to be worried about and need solutions, but our current architectural problem might be the reverse- how can we instrumentalize or perhaps construct new modes of architectural indifference. Architectural indifference puts things together that don’t necessarily belong, it stares blankly, it confuses or equivocates parts and wholes (a doorstop could be as important as a wall.) Indifference works with the vaguely familiar, the deadpan. It uses our collective state of constant distraction and flattened forms of attention towards constructing an architecture.