A woman-led practice pushing the disciplinary boundaries of architecture towards new scales, devices and interfaces

TestbedPerspective, 2017 (image courtesy of Agency–Agency)

Agency–Agency was established in New York City by Tei Carpenter (NYC, 1982) in 2014 as a woman-led practice pushing the disciplinary boundaries of architecture towards new scales, devices and interfaces. The studio is currently operating internationally and running a second office in Toronto. Carpenter describes her practice as “seeking an expanded role for architecture by engaging buildings, objects, interiors, infrastructures, speculations and environments,” a quest embodied by two recent projects on opposite scales.

The New Public Hydrant for the city of New York (2018) is a concept project that redesigns the street hydrant as a water fountain for adults, children, dogs and birds. It was developed in response to a brief from the Water Futures research programme, whose aim is to find design solutions to water scarcity issues.

At the other end of an imaginary line, the competition-winning Testbed project (Carlsbad, New Mexico, 2017) is an answer to a technical brief: marking a nuclear waste plant. The proposal transforms passive protection into active improvement for the environment by integrating carbon-dioxidecapturing technology inside the envisioned landscape formations. Enlarging the realm of architectural action is an increasingly relevant priority for contemporary young practices, and Carpenter’s former education in the field of philosophy has undoubtedly set a trajectory towards framing appropriate design questions.

This approach is broadened and shared through Carpenter’s research and teaching activity as an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University GSAPP, where she directs the applied research and design platform Waste Initiative.

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