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.
Towards the End of the Line.
Cities have always contended with the contingency of ground. Civilizations have spent fortunes drawing lines upon it, trying to control it with property . . . paving it, manicuring it, making claims for it, mining it as a factory. . . . People have dedicated their lives to inventing chemicals to destroy it, to trampling upon it. . . . Engineers have created intricate storm water–management systems to move water across or under it. . . . Animal habitats have been destroyed or relocated. . . . Blah. . . . As everyone goes about their daily lives, we are in the midst of a battle. Instead of trying to control and design the ground plane or fortifying property, all losing battles, the project proposes an informal urbanism based on the multiplication of the ground planes.
The two grounds proposed are simultaneous and autonomous: the wetlands and the boardwalk. Raised to meet the elevated subway platform at the Beach 44th St. subway stop, the new boardwalk creates a social platform hovering above the floodplain. Because all building infrastructure exists on this upper level, the landscape below is free to accommodate wilderness, climatic trauma, flooding and rising tides. Despite the seemingly dense structure, temporary parking is the only built component on the ground level, providing space for a wetlands nature preserve that spans the entire site and frames its urbanized center.
Layered grounds and separated functions have an overt resonance with various versions of the modernist city. Our proposal builds upon this lineage. But we are not looking for the mechanistic distinct zoning of property, of work and life, rather the blurring of zoning rules and erasure of property lines. In this proposal, the ground is collectively owned. The strategy focuses on the densification of both natural and architectural elements. A canopy is made up of trees and concrete boardwalks, and the architectural islands are interconnected. This is a condition of engineered natural and architectural wilderness.
Project Team: Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample