MANIFESTO SERIES: Finding the Formless

September 23, 2011



Storefront for Art and Architecture presented Manifesto Series: Finding Formless curated by Julian Rose and Garrett Ricciardi [principles of formlessfinder], an event live staged manifestos by a group of 10 individuals consisting of architects, artists, landscape architects, engineers, historians, critics, theorists, and other relevant and emerging figures from both inside and outside of the field of architecture. The presentation of the manifestos was followed by a discussion between the presenters, moderated by Garrett Ricciardi and Julian Rose.


Event participants included Vito Acconci, Lucia Allais, Julie Bargmann (D.I.R.T. Studio), Yve-Alain Bois, Ed Eigen, Hal Foster, Axel Kilian, MOS (Michael Meredith & Hilary Sample), and Jorge Otero-Pailos.


Impulses toward the formless, alternately understood as struggles to escape form as a manifestation of various norms and constraints, are as old as architecture itself. But the formless is also increasingly in the air today, whether explicitly as in discussions of the “formless” quality of the city, or implicitly in talk of atmospheric buildings, randomized structures, and the dematerialization (or increased mediation) of architecture. No doubt part of its appeal lies in the fact that the formless is frequently found at the intersections between architecture and other fields, those intriguing moments when architecture unravels and can perhaps be woven into other practices, from art to ecology or engineering. Nevertheless, the formless has not yet been theorized rigorously in architecture. It seems to underpin a wide range of tendencies that have not yet been connected, or even explicitly acknowledged or identified. This event represented a first step toward this articulation.


FORMLESS  is now available as a publication, as one of the first publications to be born out of the Manifesto Book Series. Click  here  for more.



This event was made possible thanks to the generous support of Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown.




About the participants

formlessfinder is a laboratory for methodological experimentation oriented toward the introduction of moments of formlessness into architecture. Part dictionary, part product catalog, part archive, part database, part interactive design tool, its contents and products range from traditional architectural representations such as models and drawings to videos, photography, structural and material tests, writings, and interviews. The relationship between these inputs and outputs is not fixed, and formlessfinder allows continual reshuffling of its content as additional terms or ideas are introduced, others are eliminated, and new possibilities are uncovered. formlessfinder was created by Garrett Ricciardi and Julian Rose and exists as the nexus of their ongoing collaboration. In addition to being selected as finalists for the MOMA/PS1 Young Architects Program 2011, their design work has been exhibited at institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the MAXXI in Rome, and they have recently been invited to give talks at The Cooper Union for the Advancement for Science and Art and Princeton University School of Architecture. formlessfinder is currently working on the completion of several public and residential architectural projects.


Julian Rose grew up in Colorado and New York City. He received his Masters of Architecture from Princeton University where he was awarded the School of Architecture History and Theory Prize. Prior to attending Princeton he earned his BA from Harvard University in Art and Architectural History. He has worked for AMO on Rem Koolhaas’s proposal for the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and for the American firm LTL Architects on various buildings, installations, and exhibition designs, including projects sited at Lincoln Center and the Architectural League of New York. Rose’s writing on both art and architecture has been published internationally in such publications as Domus, Log, and Artforum.


Garrett Ricciardi grew up in New Jersey. He received his Masters of Architecture from Princeton University where he was awarded the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize for Excellence in Design. Before studying at Princeton, he attended the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study program, and received his BFA from Cooper Union. He has worked for Acconci Studio, Stan Allen Architect, and Steven Holl Architects. Ricciardi’s art and design work has been exhibited internationally in numerous galleries and museums including The Sculpture Center, MIT List Visual Art Center, The Center for Book Arts, and Artist’s Space. In addition, he has received grants from the Foundation for the Contemporary Arts and the Bose Audio Corporation.


Storefront’s ongoing Manifesto Series is part of an effort to encourage the formulation of positions in relation to selected topics and instigate spirited discussion and exchange in a dynamic and polemical context. The format therefore differs from that of a typical symposium. Rather than a synthetic lecture, participants are invited to present a concise, point by point manifesto, with the hope that the ideas exposed will provide a ground for discussion to test and discuss different hypotheses in real time.