After weeks spent accepting nominations and sifting through hundreds of talented designers, builders, and architects, Curbed is ready to announce the finalists of Young Guns 2014. We've been rolling out the nominees all week long. And now: the Wunderkinds.
Today's first collection of Young Guns 2014 finalists are all 25 years old or younger, and thus would perhaps best be known as "the ultra-young guns." There's the visionary who's "into visioning, but also into making things happen," a duo of emerging academics, and a lively luddite keeping it old school.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
What he does: Founder, Principal Designer at IQubed Design
What inspired you to start creating maps, and how does the process enhance your experience working in architecture?
"Architecture and urban design are at the core of my focus, but the thing that everyone seems to get really excited about is transit maps. I think that's because people love imagining how they will move through a space, and they also like being able to envision a future. The MBTA map and proposal project I did is a labor of love and a constant work in progress. In two years it may be adopted as the new map for the city. As developments happen, I edit the map so that it's as updated as possible, partially because I want the city to see that it's the best map in existence, and partially because it matters to me to be able to refer to that map and understand how things are going to work in the next few years. This is the image I have to keep in my head as I'm thinking of how the city will function. When I find something like this that I can improve upon, it's usually a little bit out of my league, but I go for it anyway because that's how I learn. At this point I'm sort of used to being the young guy in the room."
Location: New York, New York
What she does: Architectural Designer at Robert A.M. Stern Architects
How does your passion for human-scale architecture translate to the residential tower project you're working on now?
"What got me into considering architecture as a career was the opportunity to help cities improve in one way or another. In my current project, I've been working primarily on the interior architecture of the common spaces in a residential tower, but it's really all about scale relative to a human being. So, if there's something nice or special about a detail in a residential house, then it can absolutely be made appropriate for a much larger-scale project. While you can't necessarily and probably shouldn't just copy it over, if people relate to it in a residential scale, especially in interior architecture as opposed to exterior architecture, I think it can be made appropriate. People don't really vary that much in size!"
Katie MacDonald and Kyle Schumann
Age: both 24
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
What they do: Co-Founders and Architectural Designers at After Architecture
What do you find most interesting about practicing architecture, and how theoretical versus practical is your approach?
Katie: "We're interested in context, regionalism, and culture. All of our projects tie into narratives about place and time."
Kyle: "When we approach every project we look at the location, region, what's specific to the architecture there, and then on a smaller scale, the site and what's happening. For example, the work that we have under construction in Vermont right now is looking at the vernacular of barns, the different textures and materials that are used, and we're reinterpreting them in a new way. So we're creating something new but at the same time being respectful to this long history of built work which exists in any place."
Katie: "This project is a barn to house alpacas, so we were looking at how the structure can be reconfigured at different times of the year, and also how it can respond to regional traditions in barn design. In our research, one of the interesting things we kept stumbling upon was this idea of the red color one associates with barns, and we wanted to know why that came to be. Our research actually revealed that the traditional red-orange paint used rust as a way to repel insects and ensure the barn's longevity. Based on that, the design we produced plays off different ideas of rust."
Location: Los Angeles, California
What she does: Founder and Principal Designer at Kelly Martin Interiors
As a young interior designer, do you think you'll always stick with a traditional hands-on approach, or will you ever move to a web-based design process?
"I like to be in the space, to feel the space, and it's how I draw inspiration and get a feel of what the client wants. Some clients aren't visual people, so that's when what I call the design-by-numbers approach works well - when you need to show a lifelike representation of how it will actually look. But creatively, I work better if I can paint the picture myself. I have a background in carpentry and refinishing furniture, and I prefer hand-drawing everything. You think about things more when you're not just typing it into the computer. That's how I love to work."
· All Young Guns 2014 posts [Curbed National]