clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Architects With Silly Names: Popular, Coming to New York?

We've been obsessed with Tokyo's Atelier Bow-Wow for a couple years, but we haven't had much of an excuse to talk about the inventive architecture firm around these parts. But Bow-Wow pow!, that's all changing. The Times reports that on Friday the Guggenheim Foundation will announce an architecture world tour. Over the next six years, three 5,000-square-foot BMW Guggenheim Labs will travel to the United States, Europe and Asia (never more than one in the same place) and spend three months in each location, hosting discussions on various topics along the way. Think of it like Zaha Hadid's Chanel Pavilion, but less about handbags. Guess who's been selected to design the first lab?

Yep, Atelier Bow-Wow, and the Times speculates but cannot confirm that the lab will be installed in New York City next summer. As George Clinton once said, Bow-Wow wow yippee yo yippee yay! Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, a partner in the firm, said the lab will be collapsible and made of some metallic material, and the theme is "Confronting Comfort: The City and You." Atelier Bow-Wow may be a silly name, but the firm is all about the serious business of making small buildings stand out in a crowd. Above is a gallery of some of Bow-Wow hits, and the firm's website has a ton of interior and exterior photos of projects that date back to 1990.

And speaking of silly names, the Times has another story on the trend of architecture firms dropping the "spelling out of the usual white male architect at the head of the firm," as Work Architecture Company's Amale Andraos puts it, in favor of "firm names that sound more like video games than architecture practices." Polshek Partnership just became Ennead, but they're old fogies. Here's how the kids are thinking these days:

Then there’s the New Haven firm MOS. It started with the name !@#? in 2003 before quickly realizing it was unpronounceable and made a Web address impossible. So the partners changed to MOS, which incorporates the first letters of their last names — Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample — and which they liked because it evoked moss and the hip-hop artist Mos Def.We can't wait for the next great New York City skyscraper to be designed by the Wu-Tang T-square Clan.
· Guggenheim to Create Architect-Designed "Labs" [NYT]
· Architecture Now Building New Names [NYT]