LCLA office is positioned at the intersection of architecture and landscape architecture, often relying techniques from visual arts as a way to bridge apparent gaps between disciplines.
LCLA was founded in 2011 by architect Luis Callejas
Since 2008 Luis Callejas has received diverse recognitions in twenty design competitions.
Callejas is the author of Pamphlet Architecture 33 (Princeton Architectural Press, NY). The competition for PA33 asked previous authors in the series to nominate the architects and theorists whose work represents the most exciting design and research in the field today.
MASS began in 2008 during the design and building of the Butaro District Hospital in Rwanda; a project of Partners In Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health. Since then, MASS has expanded to work in over a dozen countries in Africa and the Americas. Our work spans the design of buildings, research, policy, education, and strategic planning.
Architecture is not neutral; it either helps or hurts. Architecture is a mechanism that projects its values far beyond a building’s walls and into the lives of communities and people. To acknowledge that architecture has this kind of agency and power is to acknowledge that buildings, and the industry that erects them, are as accountable for social injustices as they are critical levers to improve the communities they serve.
The stakes are too high, and the accountability too low, not to insist that architects do something to address these challenges. This is why we started MASS Design Group.
We set up MASS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to create a model of practice optimized to deliver maximum impact to our partners and the communities they serve
Started in Rwanda Hospital. Focuses on humanitarian designs and advocacy
Teaches and researches in GSD, design studio in Norway
Teaches and researches in HKU, design unit in Hong Kong
Young practice in Portugal, design interiors and stuff!
A young practice currently based in Porto, Portugal, fala atelier is composed of six people. It was founded in 2013 by three architects: Filipe Magalhães, Ana Luisa Soares and Ahmed Belkhodja. Filipe and Ana Luisa both studied architecture in Porto before going to the Fakulteta za Arhitekturo in Ljubljana and Tokyo University, respectively. Ahmed Belkhodja, who was born in Lausanne, studied at ETH Zurich as well as Lausanne, Gothenburg and Singapore.
All three members started their architecture careers working for Harry Gugger in Basel before moving on to firms in New York and Tokyo. Filipe practiced with SANAA, Ana Luisa with Toyo Ito and Ahmed with New York–based OBRA Architects before joining Atelier Bow-Wow, also in Tokyo. Architizer talked withfala to learn more about the practice and its design process, which includes intricate drawings and bold design statements in built form, peeking into the firm’s overall philosophy on architecture.
FALA atelier: FALA was born in 2013 in Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower, where it was based for a year writing texts for international magazines about the Metabolist experience. After moving to Porto, Portugal, it retained a fascination for the relationship between intimate spaces and utopian visions. FALA atelier draws from the various professional, academic and curatorial experiences of its leaders — Filipe Magalhães, Ana Luisa Soares and Ahmed Belkhodja — in Portugal, Switzerland, the United States and Japan, among others.
The atelier’s work has been exhibited in a variety of international venues, from the Venice Biennale to the Chicago Architecture Biennale, and presented in lectures around the globe. In addition to the office’s production, fala has been teaching architecture theory seminars at Bratislava’s Faculty of Architecture.
FALA focuses on the production of both residential-scale architecture and oneiric competition proposals. The atelier applies the same optimism and serious vivacity to all projects, from territories to birdhouses. The projects are a medley of formal languages, references, quotations and themes, only regulated by an obsession for clarity. The produced architecture is both intuitive and rhetorical.
Naïvety simply refers to the way we approach each project. We always think that trying something is more important than doing things “correctly.” Even the simple fact that we decided so early to open an office — we were 25 — is a very naïve gesture. We often have the feeling that if we don't take “naïve” risks, it won’t get very interesting for us. We try to let our innocent, first ideas become something important. It can actually make for a very complex trajectory, because the project still has to be coherent and make sense in the end.
We embrace naïvety as a tool, not a burden. When we talk, we always sound extremely positive and optimistic, but it’s very difficult to start an office and make it stable, especially in a market like Portugal. As you can imagine, it is not the most flourishing economy right now. We could have been architects with a position in a big office, but we decided to leave that comfort and lose that extra digit in our salary in order to achieve something more important to us.
Images and drawings complement and contradict each other. We cannot work without one or the other: Together they create an uneasy whole, unfolding each project as a series of visual metaphors. Collages are impressionist expressions, drawings are frozen rhetorics. Images have feelings, drawings are rational — unbearable sometimes in their seriousness.
Imprecise and speculative images are thus stronger tools than closed, photorealistic representations. Their uncertainties generate a necessary limbo: They create a distance to reality. Collages quote, steal and combine references while searching for beauty in a blunt and naïve way. Mistakes become valuable and fascination arises from the visual construction, from the manipulation of fragments in a world dense of references. Intellectual in intention, they are a fragile and humble portraying exercise, the marriage of architecture’s rationality with the inconsistent beauties of reality.
We do a little of both. We tend to collaborate on the projects right until the end, including for the construction and smaller furniture elements, and so on. Sometimes, we design furniture elements — we are currently doing a complete series for a project in Lisbon — but most times, we select the pieces from different suppliers. We are still expanding our field of action …
As every architect does, we have our own guilty pleasures: marble, strongly colored elements on white backgrounds, little ornaments … Sometimes, these are just circumstantial; other times, they are part of a planned discourse for a specific project.
White represents abstraction and defines a clear canvas. This is why we often start by working in plan and section, as well as in axos, in order to define the space, imagining it completely white. During this process, colors and textures start to appear together with the project idea. Materials and colors are not islands inside the project, but rather they are part of it from the start.
How did the practice start?
FALA atelier describes itself as “a naïve architectural practice.” Could you elaborate on this and relate the principle of naïveté to your work and process?
The drawings that accompany the projects are extremely precise, detailed, beautiful and also a little childlike. How do these inform your design process?
Do you design the furniture for your projects, or work with specific manufacturers that you know well?
Your projects are both minimalist and show a lot of texture, patterns and touches of color. What materials and colors do you prefer to work with and why?
Began as a collaborative incubator, transformed as a practice
Assemble are a collective based in London who work across the fields of art, architecture and design. They began working together in 2010 and are comprised of 18 members. Assemble’s working practice seeks to address the typical disconnection between the public and the process by which places are made. Assemble champion a working practice that is interdependent and collaborative, seeking to actively involve the public as both participant and collaborator in the on-going realisation of the work.
Craftsmen and architecture practice in Mumbai
Rural Urban Framework
Rural Urban Framework (RUF) is the research and design collaborative between Joshua Bolchover and John Lin. The objective of our work is to engage in the rural-urban transformation of China through built projects, research, exhibitions and writing. We operate as a non-for-profit and collaborate with charities, private donors, Chinese Governmental Bureaus, and Universities. The work is conducted within the Faculty of Architecture at The University of Hong Kong.