Oculus - Spring 2012 - (Page 34)
Launch Pad to Success
Competitions help small and young ﬁrms take off – and soar
B Y J A C Q U E L I NE P EZZILLO , A S S O C . A IA , LEED A P
xperts say that the early, formative years of a child’s life have the most influence on the type of adult he or she will become. The same premise can be argued for architects at the beginning of their careers. Creativity and experience nurtured during a firm’s conception and initial stages of growth will influence a practice’s output for years to come. As more and more small firms are established, these designers, who may not necessarily have clients knocking at the door, ardently seek outlets to give their fledging firm a boost. Competitions provide the much-needed nourishment for both young and established small firms to experiment, gain exposure, and exercise their creativity.
(above) Interboro Partners: winner of the 2011 MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program, the ﬁrm attributes the award of commissioned work such as LentSpace, a temporary exhibition plaza for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, to the experience and exposure garnered through entering competitions.
selves to peers, potential clients, and the general public. Competitions also offer a testing ground for experimentation, allowing designers such as Jeeyong An, AIA, principal of MANIFESTO Architecture, to develop ideas without client intervention. Front Studio, a firm of 10 in New York and Philadelphia, welcomes competitions as part of the firm’s portfolio mix to participate in larger dialogues in urban design and global conversations about architecture. Georgeen Theodore, AIA, and her partners, Tobias Armborst and Daniel D’Oca, used competitions to establish themselves in the profession and cultivate a unique style when launching their firm, Interboro Partners, in 2002. Interboro, winner of the 2005 Architectural League New York Young Architects Forum (now Prize for Young Architects and Designers) and NPNY in 2006, continues to investigate its identity in this manner, most recently through a win in the 2011 MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects competition for its design, “Holding Pattern.”
Gaining credibility and exposure
Forming an identity
© Peter Aaron/Esto, Courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image
“Entering any competition is always an opportunity to stop and reflect on who you are, what you make, and how you make it,” says Matthew Bremer, AIA, former co-chair of the New Practices New York (NPNY) Committee. Bremer, a principal at Architecture in Formation and a recipient of the 2009 AIA Young Architects Award, notes the impact that winning competitions has had on his practice, citing his firm’s successful partnership with FXFOWLE, Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, and Rader+Crews Architecture/Landscape Architecture for The Navy Green planning and mixeduse development competition in 2007. Many designers, establishing their own practices or beginning to work independently, hone their creativity through competitions, a vehicle for young architects and small firms to present them34 Oculus Spring 2012
(below) Leeser Architecture: the $67-million renovation and expansion of the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, completed in January 2011, was the result of an invited competition.
Competitions open the door to commissions that build reputations and experience, so that small or young firms can compete effectively for clients who will only consider experienced firms. The AIANY Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) Committee’s biennial ideas competition is a portfolio builder, according to Venesa Alicea, AIA, 2011 ENYA co-chair, and it helps young firms utilize unbillable time to serve them well into the future. This year’s ENYA competition, The Harlem Edge: Cultivating Connections, seeks to transition from ideas competition to built work by engendering a
Small Firms Doing Big Things
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2012
Letter from the President: Invitation to the Future
A Word from the Editor - Small is the New Big
Center for Achitecture - Center Highlights
Museum Mile Makeover
Opener: Small, Agile Firms Succeed in Lean Times
Public Projects, Small Firms, Targeted Tactics
Small Firm Workplace: The Whole Wide World
Small Size, Big Thinking
Launch Pad to Success
The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age
Last Words - Smaller than a Breadbox
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Spring 2012
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.