Thomas Phifer and Partners, New York, NY


Frame + Essence

February 23, 2017

I seek a balance between an architecture of narrative, experience and pure form. Each new project is an opportunity to explore these three dominant philosophies in our work. We ask in our Yale studio, in what ways can a new space in Marfa interrogate Judd’s original intentions and reclaim an ethos of restraint, clarity, and autonomy? Both in practice and in the academy, there is a constant swing between an over-rationalized (didactic) architecture and subjective formal expression. In this studio, we will aim for pure form, moving past narrative, image, and abstraction to experience. We will accept the uncomfortable and unresolvable realities of design as we grapple with several key questions: Is it possible to create architecture which is not an abstraction? Is an unselfconscious form possible? Is it possible to reconcile architecture with the landscape, without compromising the integrity of either? Re-examining Judd’s mistrust of museum architecture, these projects will aim to pursue an idea of form that is both archetypal and decisive, evading the anecdotal and the symbolic.
“…These humble dwellings remind the contemplative spectator of a production of Nature, and may (using a strong expression) rather be said to have grown than to have been erected–to have risen, by an instinct of their own, out of the native rock–so little is there in them of formality, such is their wildness and beauty.” – William Wordsworth