A Movement of Architecture
 
AMOA
 

AMOA – A Movement of Architecture – is a collaborative architecture and design studio co-founded by Amy DeDonato and Miroslava Brooks.

Amy holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The Ohio State University, a Master of Architecture from Yale University, and a Master of Philosophy in Architecture from the University of Cambridge. She is currently an interaction designer at Magic Leap. Previously, Amy taught at the Yale School of Architecture and practiced architecture in New York City and London.

Miroslava holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The Ohio State University and a Master of Architecture from Yale University. She is currently a faculty member at the Yale School of Architecture and the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, teaching design and visualization courses. Miroslava previously practiced architecture in Ohio, Connecticut and New York City. 

 

 
 

Reflection in the Garden

Proposal for a Country Spa | Latvia | 2017

International Design Competition | 3rd Prize Winner

Published on ArchDaily

 

Kilometers outside of the city, encircled by grasslands to the east, forest to the west, and water to the south, stands four tall oak trees. The four trees, with their broad canopies and hearty trunks, have a story to tell visitors from afar; the story of the site’s natural history – the formation of its landscape, the hum of its wildlife and the rhythm of their daily cycles.

As nature protects and encloses these oaks, the buildings of the Blue Clay Country Spa, too, reflect this relationship – hugging the western edge of the forest line and opening out to the eastern grasslands. The circle, which historically represents a natural form of unity, draws the outer landscape toward a common center – a center in which the four oaks become its hearth.

Upon arrival, guests of the Blue Clay Country Spa will find that they are not simply ‘inside’ the walls of a spa complex. Traditional distinctions between architecture and landscape, inside and outside, man-made and natural are softened. In blurring these boundaries, personal health is infused with environmental well-being. Nature and architecture are unified; providing guests with the space to revive both mind and body, and at the very least a quiet spot to sit and reflect beneath the leaves of an ancient oak.

 

Competition jury commentary: "The Blue Clay Country Spa competition pursues provocation of a decisive contemporary issue. The rise of sweeping urban migrations of the last quarter century coincides with a disciplinary preoccupation of architecture and the city, manifested in theory and praxis. This has all but left the vast expanse of any non-urban territory virtually uncertain. The competition invites participants to contemplate the economic, cultural, and architectural implications of inhabiting the non-urban, through an ecotourist facility in Latvia.

Viable submissions interrogate the inherent tensions between subject and object, building and site, leveraging established programmatic and site constraints. Particularly successful projects engage the agency of typological form — including for instance, the courtyard, shed, garden and pavilion. This is particularly significant in a landscape unadulterated by buildings. Selected entries establish social collectivity through circulation and parti, while prescribing distinct individual and programmatic experience through space, material, and form."

"The strength of the third place entry lies in its combination of three architecture typologies, the courtyard, pavilion, and promenade, to generate a spa experience that is simultaneously containing and exposing. The project employs a circular promenade to create a defined perimeter within an expansive, rural site. ... The project creates a closed loop of retrospection allowing the visitor to reflect outwardly to the landscape while inhabiting each individual spa space, simultaneously reflecting back inwardly while wandering the exterior promenade." 

 

More information can be found here and here 

 

AMOA_physica model.png

Under The Dome

Reimagining St. Stephen's Church | Chicago | 2017

2017 Burnham Prize Competition

Published on ArchDaily

 

Excerpt from the competition brief: "New History is made not from a position of sentimentality toward style, but rather it must be critical of our past and used to inform architecture that is responsive to both its context and future inhabitants. This competition uses the historical and typological construct of the dome and calls for its critical re-imagination in the context of Make New History."
 

Since the rise of humanism in the Italian Renaissance, the experience of the dome has been designed through perspective, or through the eyes of the viewer. For hundreds of years, the mathematics of dome construction has been predicated on the assumption that the dome would be viewed from the ground plane. Thus domes are typically designed to direct one’s gaze upward to the heavens, symbolically connecting heaven and earth. In religious buildings the dome is the vertical culmination of a single volume – a sacred place of congregation designed through the virtues of physical presence. The dome represents a society rooted in humanist principles, whereby the body’s spatial relationship with architecture is calculable and measurable.

In the 21st century, however, the idea of presence has been radically redefined through information technology, social networks, and advancements in telecommunication. Today, physical boundaries offer just one form of spatial delineation.

This proposal aims to rethink the role of the dome within the contemporary context and asks the following questions: 1. How might the dome of St. Stephen’s foster new forms of congregation in the city?  2. Could St. Stephen’s take on a new life through technology?  3. How could we rethink architectural restoration for the future? 

In this proposal, the ruin of St. Stephen’s Church has been left presently untouched.

We aim to rethink the boundaries of St. Stephens walls in order to draw attention to the site’s potential through a series of installations. Each installation is a two-dimensional projection of St. Stephen’s dome onto the ground, deployed as a two-dimensional ground treatment throughout the city. Curious Chicagoans and visitors who step inside the boundary of the “urban tag” will be able to experience the dome of St. Stephen’s through a smartphone app that will map their position to the physical space of the church’s interior to scale. Visitors can virtually travel with friends or complete strangers into the space of St. Stephen’s and will be given a unique opportunity to appreciate the scale and beauty of this forgotten structure from unexpected contexts – such as public plazas, parks, and lakeside beaches.

The experience of viewing St. Stephen’s church from within each installation site is not only an opportunity to see the virtually reconstructed ruin from afar, but it also offers the church a potential opportunity to crowd-fund its future. Proposals from this competition could be viewed as filters to help people experience the potential of what the site has to offer.

 

More information can be found here.

 

IMG_9040.JPG

Minding the Gap: Pedagogy and Practice Today

Scroope 26 | Cambridge Architecture Journal | 2017

Written text investigating today's architectural curriculum and practice.

Published by University of Cambridge

 

Excerpt: Whether and how to close the gap between academia and practice is an age-old debate within the discipline of architecture. As tuition rates continue to climb and starting salary figures remain stagnant, an architecture graduate’s return on investment is at an unprecedented low. By getting students into the job market sooner and with greater technical proficiency, integrating professional practice into academia is a popular remedy. Here, we will examine why this is a short-sighted approach, given future changes within the architecture profession and our built environment. We will take stock of a degree in architecture and explore how architecture graduates could leverage their core skill set through a combination of architectural and entrepreneurial thinking to play a more powerful role within the industry and within domains traditionally considered outside of architecture.

 

From the editors of Scroope 26:

This issue of Scroope is devoted to stories of apologias in the context of architecture and spatial discourses in all their interpreted forms. We called out for and received apologias as reckonings, as attempts at reconciliation, as diversions, as declarations, as veiled or open criticisms, and as manifestos.

The range of contributions has proven the theme to be both timely and plastic. The apologias, although varied in medium and key concern, seem to coalesce along a series of sub themes, including apologias with pedagogical considerations, personal standpoints, historical readings of design and designers, the material natures of and in public space, the power of the image, the acts and activations of creative practices, and the poetic imagination.

Contributors include Anthony Vidler, Wendy Pullan, Ross Anderson, Peter Armstrong, Michael Robinson Cohen, Glen Hill, Claudio Sgarbi, Neil Spiller, Rowan Moore, Jonathan Weston, Luke Kon, Theodora Bowering, Jessie Fyfe, Maximilian Sternberg, Susan Seung-Ok Whang, Alex Young-Il Seo, Pushpa Arabindoo and Regan Koch, Amy DeDonato and Miroslava Brooks, Irit Katz, Anca Matyiku and Chad Connery, Peter Carl, Daniel Norell and Einar Rodhe, Federica Goffi, Benjamin Taylor, James Horace Vertigo (Roger Connah), Tom Heneghan.

 

More information can be found here

 

Scroope 26_Website Image.jpg

Reflection in the Garden

A proposal for a country spa in Latvia

…And the gardens sensed
That I had come to them
On a high holiday — 
And they greeted me, 
Unfurling flags
And kissing my cheek. 
Gardens marched past me on parade, 
But I stood beneath
Ever fresh, 
Ever shifting
Pollen winds.
Suddenly the flags dipped,
And they unveiled a monument to me.

 

Linards Tauns, Mūžigais makonis, 1958, trans. by Baiba Kaugara

 
 

Kilometers outside of the city, encircled by grasslands to the east, forest to the west, and water to the south, stands four tall oak trees. The four trees, with their broad canopies and hearty trunks, have a story to tell visitors from afar; the story of the site’s natural history – the formation of its landscape, the hum of its wildlife and the rhythm of their daily cycles.

As nature protects and encloses these oaks, the buildings of the Blue Clay Country Spa, too, reflect this relationship – hugging the western edge of the forest line and opening out to the eastern grasslands. The circle, which historically represents a natural form of unity, draws the outer landscape toward a common center – a center in which the four oaks become its hearth.

 

 

 

Upon arrival, guests of the Blue Clay Country Spa will find that they are not simply ‘inside’ the walls of a spa complex. Traditional distinctions between architecture and landscape, inside and outside, man-made and natural are softened. In blurring these boundaries, personal health is infused with environmental well-being. Nature and architecture are unified; providing guests with the space to revive both mind and body, and at the very least a quiet spot to sit and reflect beneath the leaves of an ancient oak.

 

 

Upon arrival, guests of the Blue Clay Country Spa will find that they are not simply ‘inside’ the walls of a spa complex. Traditional distinctions between architecture and landscape, inside and outside, man-made and natural are softened. In blurring these boundaries, personal health is infused with environmental well-being. Nature and architecture are unified; providing guests with the space to revive both mind and body, and at the very least a quiet spot to sit and reflect beneath the leaves of an ancient oak.

 
 
 

Mineral pool view into the central Oak court

winter garden and yoga studio view from the open-air promenade

 
AMOA_physica model.png