Formal Renegades – Formlessfinder hopes to free architecture from its biggest overarching obsession

By Samuel Medina
Metropolis, April 2014

“We like architecture,” says Garrett Ricciardi, with real sincerity. “We want to save architecture.” But from what? Ricciardi is one half of New York–based formlessfinder, the experimental—you might say radical—architecture firm he founded with Julian Rose in 2011,  just after the pair completed a joint thesis at Princeton University. Their project, which laid out the blueprint for Ricciardi and Rose’s subsequent collaborations, advanced a daring proposition: to liberate architecture from the constraints of form.

“The basic idea of the formless is about freeing up architecture to make it about what we want it to be about,” Rose says. “The idea is that form has sort of gotten in the way,” he adds, before checking off a laundry list of offenders: parametricism, digital fabrication, blobs, minimalism. Where form has “always served to limit and control,” the formless, as the architects have come to define it, is subversive by nature. It’s an operation rife with uncertainty, producing “messy, equivocal, and, most importantly, generative” results.

Their project’s claims were substantiated with choice bits of critical theory and excursions into art history. More…

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