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MOS Architects

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The Creators Project: It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what MOS is all about as a company, but maybe that’s the point. It’s all a bit open-ended—“a collective of architects and designers.” But what, exactly, does that encompass? The stuff you make is more akin to functional artwork than anything else.

Hilary Sample: Funny to hear you say “company” because I never think of it as that.

Michael Meredith: I guess we are a company, but we try to be pretty broad. Everybody here is thinking about architecture, but we also have computer-software programmers who we work with a lot. We do not have a stable image of what an architecture office is doing or supposed to look like. We want to always be changing. We are doing things like writing software, we are making movies, we design art-installation type things, we are doing architecture, we are doing research projects so we try to have people that work for us from different backgrounds—not everyone studied architecture. We are really interested in looking at it more as a studio or a school atmosphere. We bring a little bit of the environment in which we teach into the office.

That makes sense. You use the word “play” for the way that things work here in the office, which represents the way that you present yourselves and the way that you approach your art. It certainly doesn’t fit the stereotypical notion of a tyrannical artist architect who is working in this sterile atmosphere and projecting ideas that are supposed to be absolute perfection.

Michael Meredith: I think for us architecture is a little bit more casual. There is this thing in architecture where there has to be a heaviness to the whole thing—a seriousness to it. [What we do] is serious, we have liability insurance, but at the same time, I think—

Hilary Sample: Ultimately it is a creative event, but we treat it as serious play.

Michael Meredith: Yeah, serious play, but the way that we think about it is, How can we make architecture and have fun again? Even in academia or the profession of architecture, I think we have lost the aspect of being able to have fun. It doesn’t sound that lofty of a goal, but it is something we are trying to reproduce in an environment that is extremely tragic or heavy or serious. It doesn’t mean that we are trying to forget about all of the world’s problems and all of our responsibilities, per se.

Can you tell us about your current projects, or is that all top-secret stuff?

Hilary Sample: We just finished an installation at MIT in the gallery. This summer we also finished an installation for the P.S.1 architecture program that just came down. We are also working on an inflatable factory.

A what?

Hilary Sample: It’s for a company that makes inflatables, and it is inflatable itself. It’s in Canada, in a remote town of like 2,000 people called Granite Bank. Basically it’s a 2,500- square-foot structure like an airplane hangar. The client wanted the thing to test their inflatables. It’s been a really interesting project. We have been working really closely with an engineering firm in New York. It’s a really fun project, and we think inflatables are really cool.

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At a glance

Experimental architects.

Members: M.Meredith, H.Sample,G. Fries-Briggs, F.Gossage, W.Macfarlane, P.Phan, J.Stewart, M.Staudt…
Location: New York City, United States
Profession: Architects, artists, professors
Website: MOS-office.net
Notables: Solo House (2011); Erosion (2010); R.V. (2010); Temporary Cinema (2010); won PS1 Design Competition with Eco Huts (2009); After Party (2009); Ordos 100 (2008); Inflatable Factory (2007); Puppet Theatre (2004); Floating House (2004); WTC Development Proposal (2001)