Architecture & Design

Laura Kurgan

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


South African-born Laura Kurgan received her degree in Architecture from Columbia University in 1988. In 1995, she established her own studio—Laura Kurgan Design—an interdisciplinary design practice based in New York City. Her methodology takes data network information and uses it as a visual device to inform and educate the general public on social issues and their physical implications to the built environment. Over the span of Kurgan’s career her projects have evolved from small, forward-thinking graphic installations to larger, three-dimensional built environments that merge data information with graphics and architecture resulting in spatial conditions that become visible networks. Since 2005, she has been the Director of Visual Studies and the Director of the Spatial Information Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

 Architecture and Justice 1, 2008, as displayed in

Architecture and Justice 1, 2008, as displayed in “Design and the Elastic Mind,” MoMA, New York; photo courtesy the artist

Rick Lowe

Posted January 16, 2015

Houston, TX


Rick Lowe is a twenty-first-century Renaissance man. He is an artist, architect, urban designer, developer, businessman, and activist who is a catalyst for social outreach for underserved neighborhoods. Lowe’s early founding of Project Row House in Houston’s Third Ward in 1993 became the template for others to follow on how to bring local people together to engage their own creative energies and aesthetic values to produce a “collective expression” to reinstate a community. Lowe’s socially engaged methodology helps individuals excavate talents that they might have either forgotten about or just lost sight of. An example of his progressive thinking can be seen in a recent concept for a series of small businesses that draws on local individual’s abilities—such as homemade cookies and laundry service—and turns them into emerging noted talents and proprietors.

 Project Row Houses, Houston, TX; photo courtesy Danielle Miles

Project Row Houses, Houston, TX; photo courtesy Danielle Miles

Kate & Laura Mulleavy

Posted January 16, 2015

Los Angeles, CA


Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy established their label Rodarte in 2005, and in less than five years they have become one of the most important fashion houses to emerge from the United States. While not formally trained in fashion—Kate studied art history and Laura studied literature at UC Berkeley—they bring a range of knowledge beyond the normative history of fashion to the industry. They fold this experience into their meticulous craftsmanship celebrating the female body in ways that are reminiscent of classic couture coupled with art and sci-fi imagery. Their one-of-a-kind gowns and ready-to-wear knits are highly regarded and push the boundaries of what the avant-garde can be in American fashion today. Rodarte has received numerous awards and accolades for their fashion-forward thinking and their work is already in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. J.R.

Kate & Laura Mulleavy

Posted January 16, 2015

Los Angeles, CA


Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy established their label Rodarte in 2005, and in less than five years they have become one of the most important fashion houses to emerge from the United States. While not formally trained in fashion—Kate studied art history and Laura studied literature at UC Berkeley—they bring a range of knowledge beyond the normative history of fashion to the industry. They fold this experience into their meticulous craftsmanship celebrating the female body in ways that are reminiscent of classic couture coupled with art and sci-fi imagery. Their one-of-a-kind gowns and ready-to-wear knits are highly regarded and push the boundaries of what the avant-garde can be in American fashion today. Rodarte has received numerous awards and accolades for their fashion-forward thinking and their work is already in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. J.R.

Julie Bargmann

Posted January 16, 2015

Charlottesville, VA


Julie Bargmann is internationally recognized for her innovative work in building regenerative landscapes on derelict sites. She is the founding principal of D.I.R.T. (Design Investigations Reclaiming Terrain or Dump It Right There) in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since 1992 D.I.R.T. has worked with architects, artists, engineers, historians, and scientists in abandoned industrial sites to revitalize manufact-uring operations (Ford River Rough Plant, US Steel South Works) and urban infrastructures (Hudson Yards, the High Line). Rather than simply cleaning and covering up toxic areas, Bargmann restores them so that they heal themselves, producing clean air, water, and soil while retaining visual links to their industrial pasts.

 Reclaiming the Highline, collaboration with Michael Van Valkenburgh, landscape architect, and ARO, architects, 2005; photo courtesy Julie Bargmann

Reclaiming the Highline, collaboration with Michael Van Valkenburgh, landscape architect, and ARO, architects, 2005; photo courtesy Julie Bargmann

Stephen Burks

Posted January 16, 2015

Brooklyn, NY


Industrial designer Stephen Burks founded his studio, Readymade Projects, in 1997. He has developed products for major commercial firms such as Boffi, Calvin Klein, Cappellini, Estee Lauder, and Missoni. He was the first African American designer to work with any of these companies. He has also served as a design consultant for the nonprofit Aid to Artisans and the Nature Conservancy in South Africa, Peru, Mexico, India, and Australia, collaborating with local artisans to find international markets for their products. As a result of those experiences, Burks has developed an interest in a new production model wherein machine parts are combined with handmade elements to create unique objects that can be distributed globally through major brands.

 Quilts of Radical Hospitality/Edredón de hospitalidad radical, 2008, two fabric quilts (each 866.14 x 228.60 cm); photos courtesy Joshua White

Quilts of Radical Hospitality/Edredón de hospitalidad radical, 2008, two fabric quilts (each 866.14 x 228.60 cm); photos courtesy Joshua White

Douglas Garofalo

Posted January 16, 2015

Chicago, IL


Douglas Garofalo established his architectural practice in Chicago in 1988. He is known for experimenting with materials and technology and is a leading voice for digital pedagogy and practice in the field. Although his practice is small, he has been very prolific, completing a broad range of buildings and other projects. He held a professorship at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture and a leader in the academic and professional life of the city.

  Residential Project, 2002, Green Bay, WI; photo courtesy Natahn Kirkman

Residential Project, 2002, Green Bay, WI; photo courtesy Natahn Kirkman

J. Meejin Yoon

Posted January 16, 2015

Boston, MA


Architect, designer, and teacher J. Meejin Yoon is the founder of MY Studio, from which she creates solo conceptual work, and cofounder of Höweler + Yoon Architecture, a partnership with her husband, Eric Höweler. Her independent practice is multidisciplinary, exploring the intersections between art, architecture, and landscape. She has created participatory environments combining architecture, media, and installations as well as concept clothing and artists’ books. Her project White Noise White Light, installed in a public square at the base of the Acropolis for the 2004 Athens Olympics, consisted of a grid of flexible and luminous fiber optic stalks that responded to human and natural forces through sound and light. 

  White Noise White Light, 2004, interactive light and sound installation; photo courtesy J. Meejin Yoon

White Noise White Light, 2004, interactive light and sound installation; photo courtesy J. Meejin Yoon

Andrew Zago

Posted January 16, 2015

Detroit, MI


Andrew Zago formed Zago Architecture in 1992. After working in Los Angeles and New York, where he was the founding director of the master’s program in architecture at the City University of New York, Zago recently returned to his native Detroit. Aside from his architectural projects, he also creates autonomous studies, mostly in the form of drawings and assemblages. While still completing buildings, he is currently experimenting with film and digital processing to explore urban and spatial analysis within the context of Detroit. 

  Portrait/photo courtesy Paul Redmond

Portrait/photo courtesy Paul Redmond

Benjamin Aranda & Christopher Lasch

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Benjamin Aranda and Christopher Lasch are the principals of the New York based architecture studio Aranda/Lasch. Graduates of Columbia University, the two young designers founded their practice in 2003. Their work-from the 2003 Brooklyn Pigeon Project to their recent Pamphlet Architecture publication Tooling-is characterized by both rigor and whimsy. Like scientists, they are committed to an exhaustive investigation of structures and systems that will enable them to discover new variations in form and surface that they can transform into architecture.

 Grotto, 2005; photo courtesy Aranda/Lasch

Grotto, 2005; photo courtesy Aranda/Lasch