Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Profile: Work AC

“We think we’re funnier than OMA,” claims Dan Wood, who founded New York-based Work Architecture Company with partner Amale Andraos in 2002, after almost ten years leading projects in the Rotterdam office. “We use humour as much as possible,” says Andraos. “It makes the work more exciting, and it helps us to enter difficult situations.”

These range from the politically charged complexities of downtown Beirut to the whimsical aspirations of speculative culture parks in central China. The practice’s witty outlook is combined with an avidly analytical approach and broad urban agenda, applied with rigour to every project regardless of scale – from its Greenbelt City masterplan for Las Vegas to the psyche of the Manhattan dog, the subject of its first commission. “We did a lot of research into the life of the urban dog,” says Wood. “They have real problems, especially with their self-esteem” – an observation that led to Villa Pup, a state-of-the-art doghouse complete with treadmill and plasma screen simulators.

Decidedly more low-tech, and a product of the duo’s “eco-urbanism” studio at Princeton, is its recent winning proposal for the MoMA/PS1 summer stage. Public Farm is a dramatically tilted canopy of planted cardboard tubes, to be eagerly tended by a crack squad of urban farmers this summer.

Originally published in Icon, April 2008