Born in 1940 in New York, the American artist Vito Acconci developed an interest in surrounding space at a very early stage. In the 1960s, his Language Pieces “use[d] language to cover a space rather than discover meaning”. In Following Pieces (1969), he experimented with the space of the street by following people and examining the actual process of his action. Then he made videos and Super-8 films, took photographs and put on performances, where he stage directed himself, sometimes clashing violently with the spaces surrounding him. In the mid 1970s, Acconci made a review of his earlier work; his filmed body, the sole field of exploration and action, was coming up against the boundaries of an increasingly unbearable image frame. In radicalizing his anti-establishment approach, he veered—like Richard Serra and Dan Graham—towards the terrain of the social, and public places. Architectural experimentation became a reality in the mid-1980s: furniture, houses constructed and de-constructed. In order to bolster research that was ever closer to architecture, Acconci associated with architects and in the late 1980s created the Acconci Studio, which is still active.
Robert Mangurian (born in 1941 in Baltimore), an architect based on the West Coast of the United States, was one of the founders of the Studio Works group, created in 1969. A graduate of the Berkeley School of Architecture and of Stanford University, since 1985 Robert Mangurian has been associated with Mary-Ann Ray for projects involving architectural intervention on the urban environment and the private space of the home. With different artists, he has also developed an interest in the rehabilitation and transformation of collective spaces. Working with James Turrell, he worked on the development of the Roden Crater, an extinct volcano in the Arizona desert. Robert Mangurian was director of the graduate programme at the Institute of Architecture of Southern California between 1987 and 1997. In 2002, the Chrysler Design Award recognized the entirety of his approach, marked by research and innovation.