Emerging Voices winner profile


SsD | Czech National Library, Prague, Czech Republic. Image courtesy SsD

The Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices program spotlights North American architects, landscape architects, and urban designers who have significant bodies of realized work and the potential to influence their field.

SsD won a 2012 award.

SsD approaches design as a convergent, interdisciplinary venture. Minimum form takes maximum effect as they strive to bridge the utopian and the pragmatic. Instead of separating aspects of architecture, landscape, history, social systems, and codes into their constituent disciplines, these agendas are simultaneously explored so that each discipline symbiotically gains from the other. In this way sustainability emerges as an integrated rather than additive result.

In recent work such as the White Block Gallery for instance, interdependencies between structural systems, passive energy strategies, landscape design, and a tight schedule and budget were considered. Through a tectonic solution of ‘wall‐umns,’ (column + wall), a fine grain structure allows three solid pavilions to be placed in a matrix that in turn forms 10 exhibition spaces. Despite the density of this solution, the varying degree of openness and scale of the galleries merges the surrounding landscape with the processional sequence of building. The fritted glass pattern in conjunction with interior voids are integrated as both a technical and atmospheric solution: They are a crucial part of the energy strategy as well as central to the buildings overall material effect.

To address new global flows of practice and knowledge, SsD has set up three micro‐offices in Massachusetts, New York, and Korea. Rather than the one‐size‐fits‐all attitude of larger corporate operations, our ‘networked atelier’ structure intersects a global reach with a high degree of in‐depth local experience. While each office grounds itself through work specific to each metropolitan region, SsD also combines the resources of all three locations to create a 24‐hour work cycle able to produce larger works. In the near future their goal is to move more toward projects that explicitly contribute to the public domain: Through competitive short‐lists, they have recently been awarded a 30,000 sf educational building in Boston as well as a 40,000 sf mixed‐use building in Seoul. In both projects, they are endeavoring to create an architecture that expresses convergences between ecological thinking and new social paradigms.