De-spec is an award-winning, internationally recognized multi-disciplinary practice, with a focus on the relationship between space and occupant. By developing new spatial typologies, de-spec aims to produce an expanded model of architecture, one that is meant to be experienced both inside and out. The name de-spec is an abbreviation of the term ‘de-speculative,’ which refers to the practice initiated in response to the rising trend of speculative construction, including housing development, in which generic homes are built for an unknown occupant. The act of de-speculating refers to the production of experience through a privileging of specific contents and programs over general design strategies and aesthetic principles.
Our practice is divided into three categories:
De-spec is primarily interested in exploring the corporeal experience of space through a phenomenological perspective. Drawing from the ideas of Radical Functionalism, de-spec’s emphasis is on the lived experience of space, wherein the practices of daily life are analyzed and translated to determine the specific architectural program. In this approach, attention is given to the multisensory perception of space, including the aural and haptic dimensions which constantly define participation, intimacy and experience.
Rather than creating standardized architectural solutions from a bird’s eye view, treating space as a container which simply holds objects, de-spec seeks to define the ‘inside-out’ quality of architecture. That is, a practice of architecture in which form is inextricably linked to function, and cannot be understood independently. As a sort of architectural choreography, our practice attends equally to the body’s movements in space, as to the forces in space that are constantly acting upon the body.
Located in the heart of the Chelsea Arts District of New York City, de-spec was founded in 2002 by Farnaz Mansuri. The firm is led by two principal designers, Farnaz Mansuri and Frederic Levrat. The creative studio is comprised of a small team of international architects and designers, and a supporting team of independent freelancers assisting with model-making, 3D rendering and IT services.
De-spec’s approach to working with clients internationally produces exciting and economically feasible solutions. The firm manages both onsite and offsite construction, working closely with contractors and owners, as well as organizing the project’s schedule and budget. By integrating our high design standards with the technical expertise of local construction companies, de-spec is able to provide clients with the highest caliber of design using local, environmentally-friendly construction methods.