This is fairly depressing book. As ‘young architects’ ourselves, this book presents a fairly good summary of just how lazy we are and we should be doing more…

It is the result of a Young Architects Forum competition run by the Architectural League of New York – young architects here being defined by having graduated within the last ten years (again, depressing). The brief asked for portfolios to be submitted showcasing work under the thematic lens of ‘proof’. In her foreword Sarah Whiting states that

“proof is in fact product as much as it is process: it’s demonstration, meaning the end product, as well as the action of demonstrating.”



“While the six selected winners differ greatly, a general shared optimism wafts across the entire group, complemented by quick wit, which often helps to push optimism toward ambition rather than remain in the realm of mere naivete.”

As such the book contains practices and projects that demonstrate proof of practice in projects ranging from small experiments in space to larger buildings under construction. The six practices are: ludens, PRODUCTORA, PARA, Jinhee Park, Aranda/Lasch, and UNI.

Mexican architects, Productora have a series of displaying an interest in geometry, repetition and large scale landscape manoeuvres. In particular; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lima is a proposal of epic beauty.


PARA demonstrate their wit with the project ‘Lifting Mies’ in which the Seagram Building in New York is given a bit of nip-and-tuck surgery to help it stand alongside “Manhattan’s newest starlet towers”. The buildings I-beams are twisted, sheared, bent and staggered to bring it in line with the expectations of today’s facades.


Aranda/Lasch have included a number of projects covered in the excellent ‘Tooling’ pamphlet, as well as a few other excursions into the geometric noodling they are accomplished at. The Quasi-chair and Quasi-cabinet are particularly intriguing in their obvious lineage from the Grotto proposal for PS1.

Jinhee Park seem to specialise in projects-larger-than-football-stadiums.


Ludens take their cue

“from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and try to be humorously critical of architectural conditions through architecture itself: exagerating certain codes of behaviour, playing tricks on one’s expectations, and breking certain rules in order to generate alternate modes of interaction.”

This is made clear in a series of small scale architectural interventions; bird houses, security gates, unstable obstacles, mobile public libraries. In the ‘Scaffolding Room’ shown above, a mobile stair provides access to two mezzanine bedrooms, encouraging co-operation and interaction between the two children whose room it is.


Rounding out the book is UNI whose S,M,LXS compound of budget housing prototypes is a playground for concise ideas. Pictured here, a L (but not really that L) a renovation to an existing house in which a sliver balcony is cut into the upper floor.

The deadline for this year’s Young Architect Forum has passed unfortunately but its theme of Resonance calls for architecture that resonates beyond buildings and the traditional professional boundaries. It is a theme that echoes the Aaron Betsky’s “Architecture beyond Building” theme for this year’s Venice Biennale, and interests me greatly, given how many of my colleagues are not practising architecture in the traditional hey-lets work-in-a-studio-and-draw-pictures-of-buildings-that-then-are-made-into-buildings-by-other-people manner. So it will hopefully make a similarly depressing publication early next year…

If you would like to purchase this book, you may do so here: Young Architects 9: Proof (Young Architects)






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