architecture agency

What is architecture agency

Architecture Agency was created in 2002 to act as multidisciplinary studio, focusing primarily on architectural and design projects, but also on collaborative projects at the seams between architecture and performance, art, and fabrication.

Why call the practice “architecture agency”?

The definition of practice is to carry out in action, to do or perform (something) repeatedly in order to acquire or polish a skill (as in practicing music or dance); it also, by archaic definitions, refers to plotting and scheming. When combined with agency, practice becomes weightier by combining the love of the medium or process and the motivation or intention to act on behalf of someone or something. As an architect one is always acting as an agent - on behalf of an ideal, a client, of a community, one’s self interest, or possibly as an agent of the practice of architecture itself. Dwelling upon these thoughts lead to calling this practice “architecture agency”.

what we do

The practice takes on a diversity of projects; many are “normative” design or architectural projects, but often the projects or collaborations that we get involved with are at the intersections between architectural work and other creative disciplines. We work in situations in which space, time, and people are the heart of the matter.

As a result, we often act as agents on behalf of atypical interests, drawing into question the role of the Architect (capital A). The projects have included working on behalf of artists to help realize large installations, on behalf of fabricators to untangle the links between other architects’ ideal and fabricators’ reality, and as part of performance groups, lending space-time coordination and as dancers/participants. Although seemingly peripheral, these ways of engaging and collaborating have profoundly informed the work we do in both the practice and in academia.

how we approach things

Architecture can be considered a form of inverse choreography, as the scaffold for everyday life. With this as the view, there is the inevitability of improvisation, of collaboration, of the gap between the notational processes of design and the projects’ realization, and of the works’ completion through the presence and occupation by beings in space and time. The realization of a work of architecture (or dance) through hands other than the makers’ is the opportunity for openness, a broader engagement, not a relinquishing of control. This view is central to how we work.

Beyond this we are interested in making spaces which defy locked definitions; we are more interested in having a flexible method than a fixed plan; we like rules, because breaking rules is so interesting; we like to collaborate with as many different people, as often, as possible; we are passionate about making a positive contribution to the world and have a good time doing it.

Who are the agents

Before creating Architecture Agency, Beth Weinstein, the founder, spent six years in the Paris office of Jean Nouvel. She also worked with Elias Torres in Barcelona, and, in New York, with Asymptote, Tod Williams + Billie Tsien, Richard Meier, SOM, and in partnership with David Riebe. Concurrent to her architecture studies at Columbia University, she collaborated on installation projects as part of a(d+v)u2z, and since 2002 has been a core artist with the performance based group Magnetic Laboratorium.

She received the Architectural League's Young Architect award in 1990 and the Casa de Velázquez Artist in Residence Grant from the French government in 1994. She has received awards from the Dallas AIA and for an urban proposal for Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She has been invited to participate in conferences at the Van Alen Institute, the Ecole Special in Paris, and the Universidad Iberoamericano in Mexico City.

Ms. Weinstein is licensed to practice architecture in New York. She received a BFA from Syracuse University and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture at Pratt Institute, where she has coordinated the 3rd Year Design Studio and an Exchange Program with the Ecole Speciale in Paris. She also teaches design at Columbia University and a course on architectural representation at The New School.The agency also is made up of a fluid group of assistants, many of whom have worked on several projects over a number of years. This includes Duff, who has been with the agency for 6 years, and splits his time with other small offices we love + his band, in which he plays the bass; Asli, Sylvie and Selin, who contribute their clarity; Josh and Alex, who have willingly walked tight ropes and performed other feats in digital and physical. And then there are our favorite wood-workers at Bjork Carle Woodworking who are as much a part of the way we work as the architects and designers in the office.