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How important is belonging to emerging architectural practices today? The post-recession economy has brought to the fore a number of critical, nimble, and resourceful young architects, who enjoy an extraordinary level of mobility in where they practice, where they build, and where they draw their ideas from.

In his seminal book The Location of Culture (Routledge, 1994), eminent postcolonial theorist Homi Bhabha accurately describes the condition of cross-national or multi-national production in our globalized world. “Terms of cultural engagement, whether antagonistic or affiliative, are produced performatively,” he writes, indicating not only a constant back and forth across perceived boundaries, but also a continuous negotiation of borders. A firm like WAI Architecture Think Tank — founded by Puerto Rican architect Cruz Garcia and French architect Nathalie Frankowski, based in Beijing, and creating a proposal for the National Center for Contemporary Arts in Moscow — necessarily encounters multiple such boundaries in its work. How does its approach differ from that of Lisbon-based Arteria, which is extremely rooted not just in its city but also in its neighborhood of Mouraria, and encounters different perceptions of space and community among the many stakeholders involved in projects such as neighborhood community center, the Manifesto Building? In comparison, issues of belonging in both practices are extremely complex, and decoding them is necessary for understanding architecture’s new global avant-garde.

C-LOK is a collaboration between Jon Lott, principal of PARA project and design critic in architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design; William O’Brien Jr., principal of WOJR: Organization for Architecture, and associate professor in the MIT Department of Architecture; and Michael Kubo, director of pinkcomma gallery in Boston.

STUDIO ANNE HOLTROP (The Netherlands / Bahrain)
Holtrop’s studio is based in Amsterdam and Muharraq. The studio’s first major buildings, the Museum Fort Vechten in the Netherlands and the National Pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain at the Expo in Milan, were completed in 2015.

Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe founded their London-based practice in order to explore systems that organize the world through food. Using installation, performance, mapping and video, their research-based practice explores the overlapping boundaries between visual arts, architecture and geopolitics.

Konstantinos Pantazis and Marianna Rentzou founded Point Supreme Architects in Rotterdam in 2007, and are now based in Athens. Most recently, the firm presented its work at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial and is working on a project that takes a fresh approach to children’s playgrounds in Athens.

KOSMOS ARCHITECTS (Russia / Switzerland / US)
Established in 2012, KOSMOS is a virtual architectural studio, bringing together four partners based in Moscow, Basel and New York. The office has built in Moscow and won competitions in Europe and the US, while conducting parallel projects and collaborations across disciplines.

UNULAUNU (Romania / Switzerland)
Romina Grillo, Ciprian Rasoiu, Liviu Vasiu, Matei Vlasceanu and Tudor Vlasceanu work between Bucharest and Zurich since 2010, when they designed the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Since then, they’ve continued working together in commissions throughout Europe.

STUDIO D-TALE (UK / South Africa)
Safia Qureshi and Maxwell Mutanda run their practice out of Cape Town and London, working with a number of collaborators across the disciplinary boundaries of architecture, interiors, urban exploration, product innovation, critical design and communications, tackling such areas as informal retail in Harare, Zimbabwe, and the culture of coffee and tea consumption in London.

CSUTORAS & LIANDO (UK / Indonesia)
Melissa Liando and Laszlo Csutoras founded their practice in 2011, with offices in Jakarta and London. The office has designed projects in Australia, Indonesia, and the UK, and works at many scales, from joinery to public buildings to temporary architecture, such as the Kineforum Misbar movie theater in Jakarta.

This Beijing-based studio, and its parallel artistic practice Garcia Frankowski, were founded in Brussels in 2008 by architects, artists, and authors Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski. In addition to buildings and master plans, the studio produces a body of widely-published writings, international exhibits, and research projects.

Working out of Sydney, Other Architects seeks out the “other” point of view — alternative, unpopular, contrary, or outdated solutions — while investigating residential and institutional architecture. Its curatorial and research organization Otherothers has exhibited at the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, among other national and international venues.

ARTERIA (Portugal)
Founded in 2011 by Ana Jara, Lucinda Correia and Sara Goulart, Arteria is an independent architectural studio that aims to conceive, develop and promote urban rehabilitation projects. The studio has presented its work at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, and was nominated for the 2015 International Architecture Prize of the Iakov Chernikhov Foundation.

P.R.O. (US)
P.R.O. is a New York-based architecture and design studio founded in 2011 by Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich. The firm’s work ranges widely both in scale and project types, including gallery installations, new buildings, and urban plans, and is informed by the partners’ background in economics and urban development. Their recent exhibition Public Practice featured six entrepreneurial projects initiated by P.R.O.

Milan-based Cassani works in between architecture, installation and event design,
with a research-based practice focusing on the spatial implications of cultural pluralism in the contemporary Western world. She has recently taken part in the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale and was a finalist of the 2016 Wheelwright Prize.

Wolff’s research-based practice is compelled by the workings of performance and its use of space and objects to convey narrative, form and emotion. Based in Brooklyn, she was the winner of the 2013 Wheelwright Prize with the project “Floating City: The Community-Based Architecture of Parade Floats.”

Counter Borders
An Associated Project of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale — After Belonging

Superscript – Molly Heintz, Avinash Rajagopal,
Vera Sacchetti

Anne Holtrop, Arteria, Collective LOK, Csutoras & Liando, Cooking Sections, Gia Wolff, KOSMOS Architects, Matilde Cassani, Other Architects, Point Supreme, P.R.O., Studio D-Tale, UNULAUNU, WAI Architecture Think Tank

Raquel Pinto

Andrea Anner & Thibault Brevet

Monica Lek

Gráfica Maiadouro