Oculus - Spring 2015 - (Page 26)
Intense experimentation with digital
technologies is yielding remarkable
designs and products
B Y L i s A de L g A do
(above) The ARO-designed Knoll showroom in San Francisco
sports the Architecture Research Office Collection for FilzFelt,
including ARO Array, a series of five hanging privacy-screen
Oculus Spring 2015
ome architecture firms define themselves through a signature visual style,
but Architecture Research Office (ARO) has always gone a different route.
"Research" is the middle name because the firm chose to be "defined by a
process of inquiry, rather than a kind of a priori formal or conceptual bent,"
says Adam Yarinsky, FAIA, LEED AP, who co-founded the NYC-based firm
with Stephen Cassell, AIA, LEED AP, in 1993. "The name really reflects how
we approach our work."
That research-driven methodology infuses the whole practice, from selfinitiated R&D to projects for clients. There's a "parallel tracking of research
work and project-driven work. Sometimes those strands come together very
closely," says Principal Kim Yao, AIA.
ARO has researched topics as diverse as climate change and affordable
green housing, but the firm's most enduring area of research has been the potential of CAD/CAM technologies to expand possibilities in the realm of craft.
When the architects got their first in-house CNC laser cutter in 1999, they
didn't use it just to create architectural models; they investigated its potential
as a tool for fabricating new designs. One early project was Paper Wall - an
intricate art installation built using woven-together units of finely laser-sliced
paper - which was displayed at Artists Space gallery in SoHo in 2000.
Working with clients, "We always try to look for opportunistic alignments that allow us to push research further," Cassell remarks. A couple of
recent commissions for Knoll are quintessential examples. In 2012 to 2013,
Dialogues from the Edge of Practice
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2015
First Words Letter from the President Repositioning All Around By Tomas Rossant, AIA
Letter from the Editor The Edge of New By Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA
Center for Architecture Center Highlights
One Block Over Rough Waters: Squalls continue over the redevelopment of South Street Seaport By Claire Wilson
Opener: Thinking Into Other Boxes By David Zach
Mars in the Bronx CASE gets new environmental technologies out of labs and into buildings at (relative) warp speed By Jonathan Lerner
Spinning Research Into Practice Intense experimentation with digital technologies is yielding remarkable designs and products by ARO By Lisa Delgado
A Results-Oriented Think Tank Defining architectural practice broadly enough to include research, theory, and public discourse, Grimshaw’s Urban Research Unit is a full-circle activity leading to a richer built environment By Bill Millard
The Resilience Factor Perkins+Will is making resilience design and planning a growing area of practice and income By Richard Staub
Socrates at the Drafting Table REX champions a slow thinktank architecture of methodical problem-solving By Janet Adams Strong
Architecture in the Social Data Era Transforming our practice to engage new data sources and design intents By Melissa Marsh
Museum as Incubator The New Museum hatches a multidisciplinary workspace to nurture creative entrepreneurs By Julia van den Hout
When Bottom-up Meets Top-down The benefits of community engagement in post-disaster rebuilding plans By Deborah Gans, FAIA
In Print Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made By Tom Wilkinson Tales of Two Cities: Paris, London and the Birth of the Modern City By Jonathan Conlin Visionaries in Urban Development: 15 Years of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize Winners By Trisha Riggs, et al. American Urban Form: A Representative History By Sam Bass Warner and Andrew H. Whittemore Preservation is Overtaking Us By Rem Koolhaas, with a supplement by Jorge Otero-Pailos Reviews by Stanley Stark, FAIA
31-Year Watch Architectural practice once embraced dinner plates and candlesticks produced by Swid Powell By John Morris Dixon, FAIA
Last Words Eve of Construction By Rick Bell, FAIA
Index to Advertisers Alphabetical & Categorical Index
Oculus - Spring 2015