What does architecture mean now? Like, right now? According to Arch Is_, a new award given by the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects, architecture means bold, gravity-defying forms, experimental materials, and patterns and behaviors inspired by nature. AIA/LA recently named two firms that master these concepts—Oyler Wu Collaborative and Emergent—as its 2010 Arch Is_ winners, effectively declaring them the two firms to watch in Los Angeles this year.
Oyler Wu Collaborative, headed by Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu, bend simple lines into jungle-gym quality configurations like the Materials & Applications installation Density Fields (top left), a massive cantilevered structure made from aluminum tubing and polypropeleyne rope. The same material found a home in another competition-winning idea: Live Wire (above) was a staircase-like element that joined two floors of the gallery at the Southern California Instititute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).
Oyler Wu's Tapei Tower uses stainless steel screens to create balconies in the 15-story building. This helps blend and camouflague the commercial and residential uses of the tower.
The Ordos 100 villa is one of 100 projects proposed by 100 architects from 27 countries in a new development planned for Mongolia, China. The project is being overseen by Beijing architect Al Wei Wei.
Emergent is the firm of Tom Wiscombe, creating hyperexperimental, highly-conceptual works at the intersection of science, technology and computation. This concept for the Taipei Performing Arts Center uses a membrane-like form and deep, varigated color to draw people towards cultural exploration.
A competition to reimagine the Garak Fish Market in Korea along with Chang-jo Architects envisioned the space as part urban market, part rooftop community garden.
A concept for the Perth train station uses "photobioreactors," which change their form, color, and luminosity based on the activity of a networked system of biofuel lines that power the trains.
The competition was judged by Scott Johnson, Christopher Hawthorne, Brooke Hodge and Hitoshi Abe, who also denoted two honorable mentions: Kevin Wronske's Heyday Partnership and, a firm that should get an award simply for their name, Cathy Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph's Design, Bitches.