Firm Focus: Asymptote

Yas Hotel

Today we feature the architecture firm, Asymptote. The second in our long promised five part series stemming from our earlier Young Architects Poll post. The New York City based firm is headed by the two principals, Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture and currently lists a 65 person staff.

Exhibition Nai 2003

Since its inception in 1989, the firm has long been known as a predominately theoretical based practice. Using amorphous forms and high powered three-dimensional modeling computer software and captivating models, the firm has been featured in a number of magazine articles, architectural monographs and design school lectures. Asymptote were (are) regular participants in many world competitions and exhibitions to include the Venice Architecture Biennale. Its first realized commissions came through explorations in interior architecture for esteemed Italian design firm Alessi and the New York Stock Exchange.

World Business Center Busan

Since 2000 more projects have come to realization for the firm especially in southeast Asia, eastern Europe and the United Arab Emirates. Recently completed and current projects include: 166 Perry Street, NYC; World Business Center Busan, Busan, South Korea; Strata Tower, Abu Dhabi, UAE; and the Yas Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE among others. What seems to separate Asymptote from others is its particular fusion of structure, materials and design aesthetic. All of which seem to be the source of intrigue for the firm’s projects. Additionally, their introduction of refreshingly different forms differentiates how their architecture is perceived, in terms of space, rather than that of the orthogonal norm.

Firm Focus: Hariri & Hariri

Wilton Poolhouse

Months ago we asked our readers for their input as to which Young Architect/Firm they would hire in our sidebar poll. Among the comments and feedback we received from this exercise was that our selection of firms were not exactly, “young”. And although we would concede this point in terms of the actual physical age of both the firms and individuals involved, that was not our intent. The purpose of our poll, from our standpoint, was to determine which en vogue firm from those listed would one hire at that time. Essentially we were following up on another poll we featured several years back regarding the hot button issue in the news, “Starchitects” (i.e. Gehry, OMA/Koolhaas, etc) and the so-called, “Bilboa effect“, to see how preferences had changed or remained the same. Another key point to keep in mind is that we ran this poll prior to the burst of the global economic bubble when iconoclastic architecture was the norm and not the exception.

With that being stated, the first firm we will feature in a five part mini-series is Hariri & Hariri; which tied with Asymptote (25% of respondents) for the firm one would least likely hire according to our less than scientific polling.

The Digital House
Hariri & Hariri is headed by two Iranian born sisters, Gisue and Mojgan, who both received their education at Cornell University in Upstate New York. In 1986, they formed their New York City based firm and began to design many thought provoking and beautifully crafted pieces of both realized and un-built architectural projects. This author’s first introduction to their works came through the monograph authored by renowned architectural writer Kenneth Frampton. At the time, Hariri & Hariri’s models and drawings provided seductive and inspiring insights into what was possible in the real world of brick and mortar construction, particularly to a young aspiring architecture student. At the time of this writing their works have been featured in many print forms such as books, magazines, museum exhibits and blog posts to name a few.

Sternbrauerei Salzburg
Some of their recent commissions include the Sagaponac House in Long Island, New York which was one of a handful of influential designs within the, “Houses of Sagaponac” developmental experiment. In 2006 they won an international competition for the “Sternbrauerei Salzburg” consisting of a residential and mixed-use development in historic Salzburg, Austria. According to their own website they have most recently been involved with development of a mixed-use project in the Dallas Art District while also being asked to produce a chandelier design for renowned crystal manufacturer Swarovski.

Hariri & Hariri Architecture
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