Most young architects start off with small projects (kitchen, baths) or art installations before getting meatier commissions. Aranda\Lasch’s methods for scaling up are a little different. Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch, trained as architects, created the short video The Brooklyn Pigeon Project when they launched their studio in New York in 2003. This ambitious experiment centered on a (shaky) bird’s-eye view of the city, starring Reuben, a slightly freaked-out pigeon who had a small camera strapped to his neck. In 2005, their book, Tooling (Pamphlet Architecture 27) explored computational methods and algorithmic codes that would guide them in their designs for furniture, installations, and collaborations with artists such as Matthew Ritchie.
Now Aranda\Lasch’s first building, the Art Deco Project, is due to open in March 2015 in the Miami Design District. The 44-foot-high rectangular volume houses four luxury retail shops for LVMH, with a Tom Ford boutique anchoring one corner. Its pleated surface of lightweight glass-fiber-reinforced-concrete (GFRC) panels evokes the linear bas reliefs of Miami’s Art Deco architecture. “We wanted to harness this history in a more systemic way,” says Aranda, who worked with SB Architects on the execution.