What's the buzz surrounding PS1 this year? I remember last year people were saying the significance of the competition was diminishing and it would not last much longer.

Early predictions? It went to a NY office last year, so I'll go with Ball-Nogues. Besides being a couple of bad-asses, they seem to be doing some interesting material research out here.

I really hope Mark Gage doesn't win... and really hope he never comes back to the West Coast for final project presentations. I've never seen anyone act more condescending and provide such useless comments to the presenters. I think he came into the session not expecting any work from the West Coast to be on par with his East Coast "proteges." Sorry to stomp on the ego, Mark.

Sounds like this could turn into an East Coast / West Coast thing.

2Pac for Life

Feb 16, 07 3:44 pm

btw... just in case people missed it in the news

Feb 16, 07 3:49 pm

Mark Gage's real name is Mark Worms

Feb 16, 07 4:57 pm

I am really gullilble, can anyone confirm Mark's last name is Worms.

Feb 16, 07 5:04 pm

Ask anyone who went to Notre Dame with him.

Feb 16, 07 5:10 pm

Gage is all about invaginated surfaces. Really.

Feb 16, 07 6:38 pm

just something about pixelwhore writing about invaginated surfaces really disturbs me...

Feb 16, 07 7:51 pm

"By capitalizing on the given condition of American Laziness, and the preoccupation with visual exoticism, our receptacle is organized into an omnipresent network of formally robust and opalescently colored recycling moments within the urban fabric of Chicago."

A fairly hilarious quote from Mark about garbage cans he designed.

What's a recycling moment?? I love it!

I never get worked up about much, but this guy wasted three hours of my life last year.

Feb 16, 07 9:50 pm

holz: if you knew me it would make complete sense. maybe.

Feb 16, 07 10:22 pm

Greg Lynn LITE??

Feb 16, 07 10:43 pm

Gage wishes he was Greg Lynn LITE. The guy's a pompous ass.

Feb 18, 07 12:23 pm

You guys are out of control. If somebody said something to you at a review that you didn't like, at least they're standing there, in public, looking you in the eye while they're doing it. There's a major difference between that and creating some throwaway screenname to take anonymous snipes on an internet message board.

Feb 18, 07 12:39 pm

... and on topic, there are a lot of strong contenders this year. It'll be really interesting to see what this batch'll have to offer, especially since some of the more interesting entries in previous years have been runners up.

Feb 18, 07 12:42 pm

sevensixfive - i'm not a fan of gage by any extent, but your point is well taken.

i agree with you on the entries this year - i'm excited to see what iwamotoscott out of SF comes up with. i was disappointed with last year's entry particularly since there were such strong potentials from GNUForm and Meejin Yoon. I think the Hernan fiasco kind of turned the jury away from anything that would involve taking a risk.

Feb 18, 07 2:46 pm

I talked with Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues for a little while last Thursday. They're cool guys and have great work. They get my vote.

sevensixfive - I'm sorry, but I disagree with you. It's the internet. Say what you want, complain, be mean, ect - or be nice and make people happy. It does not matter. There is a certain disconnect between the internet and the real world which allows people to say and do many things they would never physically voice. I do not agree with bashing and hating people/things for no reason, but it's the internet, do whatever you like.

Feb 20, 07 12:02 am

sevensixfive, I understand your point fully. While Gage I have never had any personal interaction with Gage, I find his rhetoric and anabashed mimicry of G. Lynn's special sauce particularly dissappointing when you compare it to the work of the other excellent contenders. May the best project win, but I agree with you, more often than not the runner ups are much more interesting.

Feb 20, 07 10:04 am

I think sevensixfive is mark Gage, seriously though I like his work and don't really want to get into a detailed critique of it right now, but instead of bashing gage, don't you think architects should really bash some of the local sell-out firms that are destroying the reputations of architects everywhere. No matter what you think of Gehry, Lynn or any of the others they are helping the image of architecture, where as firms like DDF'nC are killing it by producing mediocre half-baked crap!

Feb 28, 07 11:00 am

I agree with you jamez, but Gage I ain't. Just felt like I had to call out some less than classy behavior. Not a rare thing on the internet, I know.

Feb 28, 07 11:06 am

The thing that bugs me is the overdependence on "BIG WORDS" in explainations to try to make something sound interesting or intelligent...if you can describe it in plain english, not uber jargin, and it still sound pretty cool, then you've done a good job.

I never signed up for any of his classes because A) I don't consider myself a formalist and B) after reading the course description 10 times through with a dictionary in hand, I still had no idea what the class was to be about.

I also hated it when I had him on reviews, i think it might have been one of those, I'm in my early 30's and I need to prove my point no matter whats going on in your project kind of things....

Feb 28, 07 6:26 pm

I would also add that I can't take anyone seriously that takes themselves so seriously. Sometimes people like him need to take a step back and reinvest their interests in something grounded by sincerity. How is what he doing in anyway helping humanity? poor people? community? culture? economy? sustainability? All he is doing, and others in this camp, is being overly academic in order to find some niche then he call his own to be able to viewed as more unique than others. They make decisions based on personal success rather than collective advance for our profession. I know others on the West Coast, names that I will keep to myself, that seem a the same page as Mark. Wasting time and money on research and production that seems to be in no way meant to benefit the profession in any collective manner.

I also hate money and never make decisions based on anything of the sort, so take my desires of how others should perform with a grain of salt.

We need more Mockbee and less Gage.

Feb 28, 07 10:59 pm

after the koolhaas lecture tonite at usc, i'm hoping more people are with me in bashing the likes if gage. excellent presentation by rem. his intentions were extremely clear, sincere, and sensible. i know like him even more than before.

Mar 2, 07 2:02 am

wow... should have proof read that one...

*likes OF gage
*i NOW like him

Mar 2, 07 2:03 am

Just so that Gage is not represented I will take the counter position in this arguement. Although I find myself less attracted to the sexy computer calculative forms that Gage is producing, unlike for example, Greg Lynn (not attacking Lynn but comparing) Gage is capable of effectively producing strong figural representations of buildings. Now Gage is still very young, and for one hasn't built anything that would harm humanity or has wasted resources on a personal ego driven manifesto of a building with budget over runs. The few projects that he has had built are very nice projects, and I think that one cannot criticize him until he has had the chance to have some of his buildings constructed.

As for bashing someone for their behaviour or personality and morale conduct lets also bash Rudolph for sleeping with his students, Wright for being a dead beat dad and Kahn for being a polygamist.

As for Rem he may be the most over-rated architect of our time.

Mar 2, 07 12:06 pm

@jamez... if we cant criticize him until he has built something, then shouldnt he not really be allowed the type of academic generosity and claims of innovation until he has as well?

Mar 2, 07 12:46 pm

If we did that then Louis Kahn and Peter Eisenman would never have had the chance to complete the projects that they have!

Mar 2, 07 1:29 pm

that might have been a good thing in the case of eisenman.

Mar 2, 07 1:58 pm

to be honest, part of the reason i started this thread is to hear the counter argument. i usually dont speak up against people/movements until i feel confident enough in my opposition. my opinion reflects many of my colleagues so i know im not alone on this. i just dont see how any one can be so much on his side that you could reject the arguments i have laid out against him. it seems that very few people aside from those who are actually similar to gage could defend or argue for his efforts.

Mar 2, 07 2:01 pm

Why would that be a good thing in the case of eisenman? I would easily consider him the best architect of our time.

Mar 2, 07 2:49 pm

Also I do not know what arguement you have presented, also Mockbee, although a great person and seemed very sincere when a met him, but was a mediocre architect at best.

Mar 2, 07 2:51 pm

Has anyone noticed that the new style of hip designer websites is to make sites that are ugly and difficult to navigate using serif fonts and look like word documents?

Mar 2, 07 3:13 pm


Mar 2, 07 3:19 pm

@ 43N88W - I'll argue for his efforts, I think his office makes beautiful stuff, the more I see of their work, the more impressed by it I am. I'm no soldier for the Digital Formalist Holy War either, but I think his is one of a few practices out there that is using that method to really push the limits. You could argue whether or not those limits are worth pushing, but I think they do it well.

As for the guy himself, so he's harsh in reviews? Reviews are harsh, take it with a grain of salt and wear some asbestos, you'll be fine. Better yet, take a class or studio with him, you might learn something.

Mar 2, 07 4:05 pm

... and anyway, don't you think there a lot more harmful things out there to vent your anger at than Digital Formalism?

Mar 2, 07 4:07 pm

Sevensixfive – I believe the original comments about the review in question took the stance that Gage’s comments were in fact useless and not harsh. No one who goes through school escapes without their fair share of harsh critiques. The point was that the comments, at that particular review, diverted frequently from technique towards bizarre comments like, “I’m just not buying that, you really need something amazing like….like… a naked lesbian, dancing with a tambourine.” Now, I personally didn’t find the comments harsh and no one seemed offended, but how is the student supposed to learn from that? If a portion of departmental fees are towards bringing in guest critics, then shouldn’t one criterion be that they advance the discourse?

As for pushing the limits…of what, Maya? Of sectional strands of bundled ecologies? Is he part of the vanguard that is actively leveraging the potentialities of real-time surfaces? The forms that his practice makes are definitely beautiful, but I would also argue that the top students at SCIarc or Columbia make equally evocative forms and are just as rigorous and innovative in their technique. Those students are probably just a website and a few competions away from directly competing with his practice, so in what sense is he part of the few?

Jamez – Could you elaborate more on Eisenman? Without question, his fingerprints are all over the American architectural academy and the issues that comprise the current academic discourse certainly have genealogical relationship to him. Important? Yes. Influential? Absolutlely. Best? Hmmmmmm… how do you define best?

Mar 2, 07 5:46 pm

i'll have to be with sevensixnine on this one and argue for the research done by gage and the other

"West Coast, names that I will keep to myself, that seem a the same page as Mark. Wasting time and money on research and production that seems to be in no way meant to benefit the profession in any collective manner."

honestly why wouldn't you be selfish with your own research? i don't like to share.

and as for the research:

I'll argue for it on the point that it's sexy. Does it work as a building, maybe not now. but most firms out now make crap for buildings. can students make it? sure, they can make a lot of things, but they don't have a website or a PS1 invite. as for the sexy, there is something to the digital formal whats-it that just seems like it wants to work and these west coasters are trying to understand how to make it happen in very personally provocative ways that build off of the sometimes silly forms and highly academic (but sometimes sound) theory that started it off. that yes costs money to build. but if they are built, they will bring a sense of sexiness to the profession that's good for the world. and poor people

Mar 6, 07 3:16 am

Oh my. How would concentrating money/opportunity/publicity on some guy who does "sexy stuff" and "wants to make it work" (who doesn't?) bring some more sexiness to the profession and help everyone? Wasn't that already tried out with Hernan? Did it work somehow, or was it just me who tought the air went out of that bubble?

And him (Gage) having a website and an invite does not make him a a jot more interesting/better than someone else. Quality and substance have to be found outside might-makes-right reasoning.

And if he has wasted a students time (as well as the time of more dedicated jurors) by giving a crap critique, why can't people say so? Anonymous "rants" should be sensibly structured - a faulty logic or other flaw should, but anonymity itself should not, diminish the value of an argument (though it often makes it a bit more suspect). Just as a reminder, critiques themselves are hardly democratic environments, where the participants speak with equal voices: maybe they are even more "unfair" than your usual anonymous website discussion.

Those are some general remarks, not an exclusive answer to milkman.

And while I'm at it, doesn't anyone else find this snippet of text from Gage's website idiotic: "The effect is one that combines the open plan legibility of modernism with the fluid transitory articulations of classicism." (from the description of the office's project for a Chech Library) oh god.

Mar 6, 07 7:00 am
Francisco David Boira

Guys where can I see the finalists entries other than spending 45 minutes through their own websites? thanks. FDB

Mar 6, 07 9:14 am

Francisco - I don't think any of the entries are public yet. they keep them close until the winner is announced, no?

@ agitated_mind - I agree with you about the students coming up. That's one of the pitfalls of participating in a discourse based on technique, somebody who's more hungry might invent a better technique and not share, like milkman.

But you've gotta know that there's more to runnning a practice than just generating the work. You've got to get paid. The next generation of students is going to have to do a lot better than 'a website and a couple of competitions' to be running in the same arena. The guy has tought at Columbia and Yale, he's getting competition invites, he's published all over the place, organizing conferences, not to mention getting commercial clients and running a practice ... if you think the next crowd of Script Kiddies and Nurbs Wranglers to come down the pike will step right into that, then I'd like to see it. The world would be a much more interesting place with that much credible work around, naked lesbians notwithstanding.

Anyway that's got to be my last word on that, I just wanted to call out a lack of class in the snipes. And I'm way more interested in talking about PS1 in general than any one participant.

Mar 6, 07 10:54 am

Which one do you think is going to win?:

Mar 6, 07 11:09 am
Francisco David Boira

Thanks sevensixfive, thought some images might have trickled their way into this site.

Mar 6, 07 11:25 am

i really hope gage gets the prize.
their work is amazing.

i wish i could produce work that's even half as good as the stuff their studio does.

Mar 7, 07 1:23 am

reading again, i truly hate the tone half of the posters take on here when they are bashing something.

you guys should sometimes just sit down and ask "why is that bad?" after writing down something. and write your rationale right after, because often times, you end up sounding fanatical. i'm thinking about agitated mind's comparison between student work and gage's, but more specifically 43N88W's fanatical "i want to be a good boy, cash is dirty" rants...

some architects don't want to save the world.
some of us just want to make people feel.

Mar 7, 07 1:33 am

I guess I am not seeing what you guys are so worked up about. If anything, this thread reflects a healthy debate about what architecture should be, and not the stupid self-congratulation of profession, which is what has passed for debate over the last few years. Sorry, but if that is what you like, perhaps we should just return the discussion to the Oscars.

Anyone whose work is up for review at PS1 is big enough to stand a little criticism, and certainly anyone who dishes it out in a crit (an unequal venue for exchanging ideas) should be able to listen to what is being said here without their feelings being hurt.

It's my personal feeling that much of the entries that we are forced to consider are pretty, but inconsequential. Ball-Nogues seem to be an exception, because unlike a lot of the digital-fab crowd, they are actually building the shit with methods opened by the technology. I am anxious to be proven wrong, but much of what I see on the entrants websites, and specifically Iwamoto-Scott's Jellyfish house since it is one of the more talked about projects, seems to be made out of a golden thread so fine as to be invisible. The skin cleans the water. It swells and controls the temperature within the structure. It absorbs UV light and protects the inhabitants from melanomas, while bathing them in a cool blue light. All of which is a remarkable claim for a minute long animation which neglects to speak at all of the technology that makes it work, and probably doesn't exist at all.

Mar 7, 07 2:15 am

"I guess I am not seeing what you guys are so worked up about. If anything, this thread reflects a healthy debate about what architecture should be, and not the stupid self-congratulation of profession, which is what has passed for debate over the last few years."

so wait wait. what is wrong with having self-congratulatory architecture? hell, if you can pull it off, why is there anything wrong with it?
i have massive issues with this "architects should be saints" idea... gosh man, indulge in a vice or two once in a while, it's enjoyable.

"Sorry, but if that is what you like, perhaps we should just return the discussion to the Oscars."

nope nope.
i don't care about the oscars.
unless i'm getting one.

once again, i think some people here need to stop pushing their cult-like views upon others.

Mar 7, 07 7:36 am

"pulling something off" in architecture is great; if you just manage to pull something off as a PR stunt, like getting fame & all by producing glowing imagery on screen(s) and acting like you know it all, it's not so remarkable really. Great if you (addictionbomb) get your kicks from that, but most (or at least I) view architecture as much as built environment as visualized ideas.

And I guess that's one of the issues debated here now - demanding architects to actually produce environments that have values (I'm not talking about "green" or "warm & soft" values - but values that speak of our position on things - soft or hard, warm or cold - places and environments that have character) - rather than trying to be sexy & neat. That's obviously something too, but not much - the movie about that kind of people (who, like totally, could be supercool architects in the future) "clueless" isn't called clueless for nothing.

Asking for substance is not pushing a cult-like view on anyone. It's demanding discussion. If your answer for that request is just claiming that it's fine for architects to pursue personal fame through practices that hardly produce anything more than fluff and empty fodder for websites to recycle, I don't understand why you want to open your mouth at all - shouldn't you be somewhere making the magic happen? Or, which would be rather neat, contributing in a reasonable way - maybe making a beliavable argument for introverted and self-referencing practicioners? I'd be interested to hear what that argument would be - without the "more for me is always good" - cult-like-view.

Mar 7, 07 9:25 am

helsinki, i totally appreciate your response, quite well thought out.

in this response, i'm definitely gonna try to stay away for the "more for me is always good" view, because i tend to fall prey to it often.

demanding discussion is exactly what i was attempting to do when i wrote my previous posts.

I think there's a difference in what we actually perceive to be substance. sexy and neat have as much validity as any other position, at least in my head. i believe sexy and neat express a trend of thought that, whereas quite more visceral, is equally as valuable and was the other examples which some people perceive to have more "depth" to them.

in more specific terms, i find that gage's "digital formalism" by itself accounts for depth in the sense that it sparks debates such as these, and that serving as a catalyst and creating such angry reactions from way too many archinect posters, means he's actually making taking a position, and actually pushing forth an agenda. it may not be one that many people agree with, but claiming that there is no position being put forth by his work seems pretty superficial.

ps, i am drooling over that ps.1 project.

Mar 7, 07 11:51 am

Agitated Mind - sorry for not responding to your question, I actually forgot about this thread.

When I look at an architect I try not to judge by my values alone, I try to examine what it is the architect is trying to do, how well has he done it and was it worth the doing. Eisenman is capable of defining the rules and not deviating from them. Some may argue his buildings are not functional, the mechanical systems do not work and the color pallettes are 'ugly', but those are opinions based on personal bias. I challenge you to find an architect who better accomplishes what he has set out to do. The buildings resonate from the idea and the idea is never lost, I believe Kahn would appreciate an Eisenman building. If you think functionalism is the way to go then according to the standards associated with a functionalist piece of work then Eisenman may 'suck', but if you want to be open-minded you examine what it is that Gage is trying to do, and how well has he done it. That is my complaint that I raised when I first propogated this discussion.


Mar 7, 07 2:00 pm
Francisco David Boira

addictionbomb: do you have any pics of the entry?

BTW: This whole Gage thing is getting out of control and its working on his favor, if anything else. The more you create controversy (ie: discussion and debate), the best it works for the whole project. The only difference is that it remains quite insular and within the constraints of architecture blogs and academia for the most part.

**In the end, PS1 summer event is mostly enjoyed by music fans and patrons who want to get drunk and listen to music...who cares how it looks as long as it doesn't break apart for a full month.
The architect will get his ridiculously pristine opening pictures and the DJ's will get the pics of the crowd going nuts regardless of its cheesy enclosure.
**Good back and forth going on here...keep it coming
** Clearly there are two distinct "camps" on this thread and it’s a fun read.

Mar 7, 07 2:52 pm

francisco, nope, i was just extrapolating an opinion/expressing excitement from gage clemenceau's more recent work.

i can't wait to see what he comes up with.

jamez- i agree 99.9% percent with you there, except for the fact that intentionality doesn't really factor into my value judgment when it comes to architecture. it's a carryover from my (cognitive) science background... somewhat too complex to explain here...

i don't think it's about what you want to do but rather what you accomplish and the debates you fuel.

Mar 7, 07 5:01 pm

Not to sound snide, but I don't care if anybody agrees with me. I am just trying to explain my line of rationale.

Mar 7, 07 5:10 pm

Archinect should do a feature - not on the entries, since we're all going to see them anyway - but on the mechanics. Who are the nominators? who were the pre-finalists asked to submit portfolios? who reviewed them, etc. . . That would be more interesting than this blind speculation on who's going to win.

Mar 7, 07 9:31 pm

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