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.
We’ve been thinking about writing this text for a while. Starting, then checking our emails, then stopping. It’s not easy to write about your work. Ideally, we’d write a charming text that would explain everything clearly and simply to everyone. Reading this text, everyone would smile and think “Oh, that is sooooo funny and smart and clear and interesting.” Then they would think, “Why have I never heard of MOS before?” Our office would seem more remarkable than it really is. No one would suspect that we’re boring — that we sit in front of computers and that, some nights, we even dream of sitting in front of computers. Despite our efforts, most of our work remains in the computer. Still, our work is more social than we are. It travels, although mostly it visits other people’s computers.
As we are reminded daily, this is not an ideal world. Oil is gushing. Icebergs are melting. Landscapes have been turned into corporations. Architecture is a big, heroic spectacle. Urbanism is no longer an operative surrealist exercise based on the physical juxtaposition of difference. Maybe nobody cares. Maybe nobody is reading this. We’re indifferent. Anyway, we’re not sure we can read any further, either. Some of you might wonder, “Why do we Americans even need a pavilion in Venice? It’s absurd!” In our forthcoming idyllic and incredibly thoughtful text, we’d respond by telling you exactly what “Instant Untitled” (I.U.) means, what it references, what you should see when you look at it. The first thing we would tell you is that it’s very sustainable. In fact, it’s probably the most sustainable thing in Venice. (If Rome is heavy and real, then Venice is light and fictional. But Venice isn’t sustainable. Fictions rarely are.) We might mention that I.U. has a small carbon footprint. It barely even exists. It’s an urban figment. Actually, we’re not sure what it is. But we’re sure it’s incredibly sustainable. Although, that’s really saying nothing. Now that we think about it, that’s a terrible idea. We probably wouldn’t mention it.
If you’ve seen the structure, we’re sure you’re wondering, “Why is it made out of helium balloons? Why does it make a canopy? Why is there seating, etc.? . . . Is it referencing other projects? Is it analogical? Is it utopian? Is it micro? Is it urban? Is it domestic? What is it? . . . Is this even architecture?” (Unfortunately, we can’t answer that last question. This type of project is like diet architecture, a copy without the calories. It’s got a sort of bitter aftertaste that you might grow accustomed to, or you might not. That’s OK. We like fake architecture.) We’ve been wondering, what kind of architecture would Haruki Murakami make? Well, when we finally write our text we’ll definitely tell you that it does, indeed, mean something and it does reference things. But why would you really want to know all of that anyway? Do you really think it would make everything better? What about just enjoying this weird artifice, this fake social space? . . . Hey, it wiggles. Look at this strange alternate environment made of reflections and repetitions. Enjoy the visual noise. . . . Have you ever seen NASA’s Echo project? Google it. What can we say, we just love the aesthetics of radar reflectors and inflated satellites. They’re of another reality. Seriously, even if we wanted to fully explain it to you at this very moment, we couldn’t. Even though we’re trying not to be, we’re only human. Also, they need this text before we’ve finished the design. Did we mention that we’re working with the son of Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds fabricator? We’re very excited about this. He lives in Duluth.
Project Team: Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample, Ashley Bigham, Judy Sue Fulton, Jason Kim, Kate Lisi, Ryan Ludwig, Gabrielle Marcoux, Mike Smith, Rudolph Stahl, Mathew Staudt
Consultants: Meteorological Products, Laserfab, Strapworks, Sapio Italy
Software No. 10