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Steel Cloud (Los Angeles West Coast Gateway)

©Olivier Martin-Gambier

Steel Cloud (Los Angeles West Coast Gateway), 1988

Asymptote
  • Architects
www.asymptote.net

Since the early 1990s and the integration of computers in the process of conception, Hani Rashid and Lise-Anne Couture have designed architecture that emerges from the encounter of the body with electronic media and new technologies applied to urbanism. Digital tools are utilized with the aim of defining new models of spatiality by exploring the hybridization of the real and the virtual. The principles of movement and speed are at the center of their approach. The automobile is thus a recurring motif in their projects (Yah Hotel, Abu Dhabi, 2007-2009; BMW Event and Delivery Center, 2001), which they rework, notably through morphing (M. Scapes, 2000; Museum of the Automobile, Mercedes-Benz, Stuttgart, 2001). Asymptote creates a new kind of presence, a sort of “augmented” perception of architecture, which comes across as a blurry zone between real and virtual. Thus, their projects do not appear to be frozen and definitive, but rather as a “moment” in an unfolding process. They advocate spatial continuity expressed through a computer-generated fluidity of form and extreme flexibility in the organization of space (Penang Global City Center, Penang, 2007; Strata Tower, Abu Dhabi, 2006 - 2011).

Hani Rashid (1958) and Lise-Anne Couture (1959) are two American architects, graduates respectively of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and of Yale University.  They founded the Asymptote Architecture firm in New York in 1989 and count not only numerous buildings and urban projects among their works, but also multimedia installations, exhibition designs (Metamorph, 2004 Venice Biennale), books on theory, and interactive digital environments (NYSE 3DTF Virtual Reality Environment, 1997-2000; Fluxspace Projects, 2000-2002…). They received recognition in 2004 with the Kiesler Prize and the AIA Design Award for HydraPier (Haarlemmermeer, 2001-2002).