The first evening of the annual Emerging Voices lecture series features Brian Bell and David Yocum of BLDGS; and Frida Escobedo of Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura. Emerging Voices spotlights individuals and firms based in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism.
Brian Bell and David Yocum are the founding principals of BLDGS, an Atlanta-based firm founded in 2006. Both are professors of architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In their practice, Bell and Yocum undertake extensive research “to reveal what is hidden, and to discover a meaningful role for the unseen and unexpected.” A self-proclaimed responsibility to the civic realm inspires BLDGS to be inclusive of the “complexity of historical, cultural, and natural systems in which we live.” Recent work includes the 2015 School of Building Construction for Georgia Tech, and the Congregation Or Hadash Synagogue, built in 2013, both in Atlanta. Current projects include the firm’s redesign of a windowless 1961 Brutalist-style building on Georgia Tech’s campus to accommodate a maker space for the students of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which will open in 2017. Both Bell and Yocum received their Master of Architecture degrees from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
In 2006, Frida Escobedo founded Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura in Mexico City. Her firm strives to “give room for growth and flexibility” in large-scale public projects, as demonstrated in her 2014 renovation of the Octavio Paz Library in Mexico City, which sought to establish a more fluid relationship between the library, street, and a nearby park, and also in more modest projects such as her 2015 “pavilion” for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, comprised of conjoined platforms hovering above, and inserted within, the museum’s Northern Italian Renaissance-style courtyard. The studio attempts to “build structures that split away from their object-ness and move towards the accretion of social time.” Other recent projects include a civic stage installed for the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale and “La Tallera” for Museo Siqueiros, the former home and studio of artist David Alfaro Siqueiros, which is now a public gallery in Cuernacava, Mexico. Escobedo received her Master of Design Studies degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Sunil Bald is a co-founding Principal of the New York-based studioSUMO and a past Emerging Voices winner in 2010. After an initial term as Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at Yale, Bald has continued to teach design studios and visualization at the School. He served on this year’s Emerging Voices committee.