Something to Yap About: The 2015 Finalists for the MOMA/PS1 Young Architects Program

Matt Shaw Matt Shaw

Every year a fresh new crop of young architects is selected to duke it out for the title of “Winner, MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program.” After curator Pedro Gadanho and his team whittle down the competitors to a shortlist, PS1 asks the firms to submit proposals for a temporary architectural construction on the grounds of the museum, where the beloved Warm-Up performances are held during the summer. The projects submitted by the firms range from straightforward formal solutions to eco-friendly affairs and much more imaginatively speculative projects. The program has a history of producing exciting new architecture, and the initial shortlist provides a portrait of the emerging cutting-edge.

This five nominees for the 2015 prize are a diverse group, as usual, and reveal different ways of approaching architecture. Here’s a roundup, in alphabetical order.

Escaravox pavilion. Image via

Andres Jaque / Office for Political Innovation, Madrid, Spain/New York, NY

Jaque and his cronies have an enormously broad portfolio, from the House in Never Never Land to ephemeral installations such as “Phantom, Mies as Rendered Society.” At first take, their wheeled Escaravox pavilion project seems the most YAPpy, but who knows what socially-charged pop-inspired solution they might come up with.

Brillhart House. Image courtesy brillhart architecture.

brillhart architecture, Miami, FL

Led by Jacob and Melissa Brillhart, this Florida practice breaks from the usual YAP mold. Their relaxed brand of Florida Modernism has a restrained elegance. Their Brillhart House — named such because that’s where the duo lives — recalls the beachside architecture of Paul Rudolph, with its tight, gridded plan, lifted horizontal massing, and movable screens that protect the facade’s bays from the intense Florida sun.

“Low Fidelity,” an installation. Image courtesy Erin Besler.

Erin Besler, Los Angeles, CA

Besler is currently on faculty at UCLA in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Her artwork explores the ways in which architecture and design is rendered and built, specifically as this relates to drawing and models. It is often derived from combinations and translations that take direction from the visual underpinnings of the architectural gesture.

“Buru Buru.” Image courtesy The Bittertang Farm.

The Bittertang Farm, New York, NY

The ‘tang is known for their frothy and sometimes disgusting work that borders on the grotesque, but in a fun, saccharin-sweet way. The materials are “harvested” from anywhere and everywhere, manipulated to take on both natural and artificial characteristics at the same time. Their most recent work, “Buru Buru” — an amphitheater made of “hay sausages” — probably points to what they might cough up for their YAP proposal.

“Woven Column.” Image courtesy Studio Benjamin Dillenburger

Studio Benjamin Dillenburger, Toronto, Ontario

Dillenburger’s work revolves around experiments in contemporary fabrication and the production of advanced geometric forms. These baroque installations use the most advanced in 3D printing and CNC milling, a lineage that can be traced to Dillenburger’s time at the ETH in Zurich. He used the additive fabrication process to make “Woven Column,” a delicate but strong full-scale mock-up of a reenvisioned column.