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.
Souvenirs are inseparable from urbanity: hats, aprons, T-shirts, paperweights, pens, mugs, postcards, trinkets, doodads. All with something on them, something you don’t want to forget. All for sale. All made to circulate in the world. You don’t even have to go to the actual place. (Check out those Paris! T-shirts on display in Chinatown.) Nowadays, anything can be printed upon anything. Any material can be transformed into some other material, a kind of post-material condition, or whatever you want to call it. And yet most souvenirs, like architecture, feel anachronistic, material, clunky, and pre-digital. (Post-cards?) They’re familiar and not. By their nature souvenirs can’t be like everything else, but almost nothing can escape them—no historical event, no experience, no city, and no neighborhood is insignificant enough to avoid being flattened into a mass-produced keepsake. (You can make almost anything banal by making it special.) It is in this gap, in between a flattening of the world through images, signification, repetition, post-materiality, etc... and an embodied physical experience, where souvenirs exist.
Project Team: Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample, John Yurchyk, Stefan Klecheski, Mark Acciari, Nile Greenberg, Fancheng Fei, Michael Abel, Paul Ruppert, Mark Kamish, Jiahe Chen, Lafina Eptaminitaki, Stephen Froese, Tommy Kim, Marc Mascarello, Owen Nichols, Kig Veerasunthorn
Photography: Michael Vahrenwald