An architectural monograph pertaining to a specific firm’s work makes a strong case for architectural documentation, and the archival value that documentation holds. The literary and visual compendium also becomes a sort of ready reckoner and the most accessible means to deep dive into and study the style, tropes, musings, and even intent of a studio’s works. In the case of the relatively young, New York City-based Young Projects, founded in 2010 by Harvard alumnus Bryan Young, their aptly titled monograph, Figure – Cast – Frame, the ruminations seem rather contained, but end up being much more conclusive on the firm’s direction. Without delving into much of the history, the studio and the founder-author pick five of their most significant residential projects between 2015 and 2020 to be representative of the firm’s work and pedagogy. Using a largely visual approach, the monograph comprising over 250 striking photographs documenting drawings, diagrams, visualisations and renderings, mock-ups, prototypes, structures, and interiors, the monograph will be launched at the 60th edition of Milan Design Week this year.
STIR takes a deep dive into the monograph through a photo essay – a static visual journey – to the five residences and their individual architectural journeys examined through the monograph.
Exploring discoveries along with designs, the monograph not only provides a peek into the firm’s larger portfolio and thematic, it seeks to become a manifestation of the studio’s belief and interest in ‘ambiguity’ and ‘anomaly’ – two properties that the studio seems to have continually harnessed in their works “to create novel and accessible spaces,” according to Young. Through each of the five residences – Retreat House, Guest House, Glitch House, Pulled Plaster house, and Six Square House – Young Projects proposes a constant sense of exploration, experimentation, and ruminations across architectural typologies and forms.
Through peculiar interventions in seemingly ‘regular’ structures, manifested in a colour, a structural fold or stack, an unmissable material play, a visual avenue, a swirling staircase, or even the relative calm of a singular space – each standing out and forming the identity of the place – Young’s works stand out by virtue of an aesthetic treatment well summed up in the monograph’s cover too, designed by Luke Bulman. Abstraction, intrigue, allure, spontaneous and methodical are some terms that come to mind.
To no surprise, a number of photographs in the monograph, and the actual architectural documentation of these projects, are by noted Dutch photographer Iwan Baan. The marriage between Young’s work and Baan’s photographs – of somewhat understated perspectives emerging as definitive – is a rather naturalistic one. Each one of the photographs may be encompassing of the entire project, distinctive yet falling in place as a chapter of a larger tale being narrated through the photos.
To complement the visual narrative and young’s textual one, the book also features a foreword by designer and educator Nader Tehrani, along with contributions from noted practitioners and academics Dana Barnes, Paola Lenti, Sean Canty, Jeannette Kuo, and Hashim Sarkis.
Merging the three form giving methods in its title to constitute Young Projects’ quintessential approach to the projects on display, the monograph can be pre-ordered here. Bryan Young will also be available for a book signing at the STIR press booth at RHO Fiera Milano on June 7.
STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts – 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini – with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile – Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.