Remember the office water cooler? Once a metonym for corporate comradery and the casual exchange of ideas, this hydration station has been usurped by internal online messaging systems (and under-sink filtration mechanisms). The water cooler now sounds parochial compared to new modes of communication — yet collaboration between architects in far-flung cities somehow remains limited. But what if the "water cooler" were put on a worldwide stage? We could cut out the small talk and move on to really changing the way design professions can impact society as a whole.
OfficeUS, the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, is doing just that. The pavilion's organizers are inviting 90 architects worldwide to participate in the activities of a global architectural office, and in the process, redefine the terms of design and production of architecture on a global scale. Members contribute their voices, expertise and skills to OfficeUS on a regular basis at a level of engagement they specify – from full time to a few hours a week.
Throughout the 25 weeks of the Venice Architecture Biennale, a series of 25 OfficeUS Issues (ranging from "Public Housing" to "Smart Materials") will provide the framework of OfficeUS inquiry. OfficeUS Outpost Architects will participate from their local base in the development and implementation of 25 projects in collaboration with the six OfficeUS Partners in residence at the OfficeUS Headquarters in the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Working remotely has never been so revolutionary.
"To be an OfficeUS Outpost is not a job but a vocation; unlike the vast majority of architecture offices, OfficeUS is a project based on generosity and not on capital, its driven by ideas and not economy," explain the curators. "This is a call to bring together architects that ultimately aim to change the system and protocols of architecture production."
Eligible applicants are highly skilled, speculative and visionary architects. Applicants must have a professional degree in architecture or a demonstrated ability within the field of architecture, design, urban planning, engineering, and/or city planning. They could be working within corporate offices, small firms, government agencies, universities, or independently. Sound like you? Click here to apply.