About Us

Our work strives to enhance our sense of surroundings, identity and relationship to others and the physical spaces we inhabit, whether feral or human-made.

Selected Awards
  • 2004 — Aga Khan Award for Architecture
  • 2009 — Mies van der Rohe Award
  • 2013 — AIA/ALA Library Building Award
  • 2015 — Best Interior, Designers Saturday
  • 2016 — AIA New York Honor Award

“We’ve lost our tolerance for complexity”

Because of the Internet and big-box stores, we get access to a lot of information, products and services, thus giving us more choice and freedom. While this sounds great, it isn’t always. Since we have more choice, choosing anything gets more difficult. A lot of complexity is added.

Last week Ron Johnson presented the new retail concept for JC Penney, a large department store. He said shoppers are done with wading through “an endless sea of racks,” which he believes is a larger industry trend. “In a world where the product we want is just a key-word search away, we’ve lost our tolerance for complexity,” Johnson said.

Yesterday I read something about Visa trying to popularize electronic payments (by smartphone). The report noted that “Visa’s hoping to make itself the go-to point for this solution, so ‘handset manufacturers don’t have to deal with 26.000 banks.'”

This is interesting. So just as JC Penney wants to get rid of an endless sea of racks, Visa wants to get rid of an endless sea of banks. In both cases, they’re trying to remove complexity for it’s consumers. In case of JC Penney, it’s us, the average shopper. In case of Visa, it’s businesses.

I’m curious which endless sea of … is next, and will have its complexity removed.

Written by: Benjamin Feenstra