Van Alen Insitute Announces Ground/Works Competition Finalists

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Friday, July 26, 2013
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Van Alen Institute Storefront on West 22nd Street (Courtesy Van Alen)

Van Alen Institute Storefront on West 22nd Street (Courtesy Van Alen)

The Van Alen Institute has announced three finalists for its competition Ground/Work, which called on emerging designers and architects to reimagine the institute’s New York storefront. In celebration of Van Alen’s 120th anniversary, the competition furthers the institute’s ambition to bring innovative architectural ideas into the public dialog by reframing the organization’s relation to the street.

Young designers were invited to consider the Van Alen’s shifting role within New York City through the redesign of its physical space, integrating all of its functions and creating a more visible and accessible presence on the ground floor of 30 West 22nd Street. From over 120 teams, representing more than 350 young designers up to ten years out of school, three finalists were selected: Collective-LOK, EFGH, and Of Possible Architectures.

“We are thrilled by the jury’s selections, and look forward to the finalists’ imaginative visions for Van Alen as a center for innovative projects and public programs,” said David van der Leer, Executive Director of Van Alen Institute, in a statement. “Ground/Work is an opportunity to recognize emerging talents in architecture while bringing fresh creativity to the Institute during an exciting period of change.”

Finalists were selected by a jury consisting of Stephen Cassell (Architecture Research Office, and Board of Trustees, Van Alen Institute), Winka Dubbeldam (Archi-tectonics, and University of Pennsylvania), Mark Gardner (Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects), Mark Robbins (International Center of Photography, and Board of Trustees, Van Alen Institute), Ada Tolla (LOT-EK), Marc Tsurumaki (LTL Architects), and David van der Leer (Van Alen Institute). The three chosen teams will present their proposals to the jury in September, following which the finalist will have four months to finalize their design before construction is set to begin this winter.

The three winning teams each present innovative, interdisciplinary approaches that diverge from the traditional architectural practice, reflecting Van Alen’s mission to support and promote pioneering young designers. Below are self-descriptions of the three firms.

Collective–LOK is a team formed by Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under). Our approach is shaped by an architectural mindset, but draws on a broad range of interests — historical, conceptual, curatorial, and cross-disciplinary — in order to shape discourse on design in the public realm. Our interest in the potentials of collaboration is rooted in an engagement with the history and methods of architectural practice as scholars, educators, and practitioners. We take inspiration from the rich legacy of firms that have shared a commitment to collaboration as the means to create a socially and culturally progressive architecture.

EFGH (Hayley Eber, Frank Gesualdi, Spencer Lapp, Pat Ruggiero, and Ani Ivanova) is a New York-based architectural design practice founded in 2007 by principals Hayley Eber and Frank Gesualdi. The studio actively engages projects across scales: from the projective design of large urban sites to innovation at the scale of custom furniture, and everything in between. We explore design as an extensive network of interrelated and often competing issues, interrogating them along the way. Our design process reflects an intense curiosity mixed with a drive for experimentation.

Of Possible Architectures (OPA) (Vincent Appel, Ethan Lay-Sleeper, Jaime Magaliff, Paul Miller, Heather Murtagh, Franklin Romero Jr., Emily Ruopp, in collaboration with Jay Atherton) is a creative practice working across spheres of architecture, social sculpture, large scale public art, and urbanism. OPA is committed to architecture as an act of cultural production and focuses on radically innovative, often self-initiated, cultural projects. What we do is based on optimistic speculations for how people and the built environment affect one another.

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