It is by no means easy to discern how to maintain a positive and mutualistic relationship between open space and the built environment, especially if you happen to define your architectural expression in a highly material, tectonic style. And yet
Weiss / Manfredi, the New York design firm founded in 1989 by architects and academics Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi, does just that: their mastery in playing with design building materials and lending a highly-pronounced architectural configuration to public spaces is evident, among many works, in Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park (2007), and in their New York creation of Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park (2018).
In both these works, their strong compositional choices, made using heavy, almost unnatural materials, are diluted by their relationship with the configuration of open space, as public places characterized by an appropriate human dimension that transforms them into landscape and then, as if by magic, into elements that strike up a deep and meaningful conversation with Nature.
We must add to this the firm’s special ability to create spaces dedicated to art, indoor or outdoor; perceptive environments that highlight the works on display, triggering a special dialogue between gallery-visitor and artwork.
The final ingredient ascribable to all of the New York duo’s works, last but not least is their meticulous choice of constantly-evolving technologies to stay abreast of the latest developments in engineering and sustainability, their firm but fluid approach perfectly combining architectural design with the technical solutions that design requires, perfectly integrated within the artifact.
Their redevelopment and expansion of the Baker Museum in Naples, West Florida, features every one of these qualities. After the disastrous impact of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the Artis-Naples Foundation commissioned Weiss / Manfredi to work on the...
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