Architects Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample started “making stuff and building things” as the firm MOS in 2007. RECORD asked them five questions about their work in preparation for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Scroll through the slideshow above to see some of their key projects.

Architectural Record: Tell us about your practice. What’s your elevator pitch? What differentiates you from other firms?

Well, for one, we’re anti–elevator pitch! We don’t think we’re that different from a lot of other practices. That said, we’re interested in building up a body of work, where every project contributes to it (buildings, drawings, objects, books, etc.) … And hopefully our work is smart, provocative, well-made, and pleasurable. But this isn’t for us to say.

How do you get into the creative headspace?

Typically, through some combination of sheer willpower, brute force, staying late, and making time for all kinds of work—from installations to reproductions, furniture, books, videos, objects, software, ridiculously big models, etc.—for stuff that is somehow different, however slightly, from the traditional constraints of building and a professional practice. We try to establish a creative culture of experimentation and play within the office. We collaborate with really great people, and we try to be both “professionals” and “amateurs.”

Who are your design heroes?

There are too many to mention. And anyways, our list is always expanding, shuffling, changing with each new project. But some include: Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown; Adolf Loos; Louis Kahn; Frank Gehry; Frank Lloyd Wright; Aino Aalto; Charles and Ray Eames; Anne Tyng; Lina Bo Bardi, Alison Smithson; Gerrit Rietveld; Rem Koolhaas; O. M. Ungers; Álvaro Siza. But we also love those anonymous architects responsible for typical barns, industrial buildings, and framework houses. And this doesn’t even include any of our contemporaries who we feel like we’re in dialogue with!

What do you hope to contribute to the Chicago Biennial?

Something that starts a discussion.

Most importantly, when it comes to pizza, deep dish or thin crust?



The Chicago Architecture Biennial runs from September 19, 2017, to January 7, 2018. Read more of our coverage of the event here.