Atelier Office produced a multi-site concept and phasing strategy for Camden Rep Theater, an unapologetically Black theater company that is steadily expanding its footprint and impact in its hometown of Camden through adaptive re-use.
How might the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, been built had the 1811 Mississippi River uprising against plantation slavery been successful? This project collaborates with New Orleans artist Kristina Kay Robinson to imagine an answer, grounded in the city’s ecologies and rituals and the history of the rebellion as an event. The 1811 rebellion, led by Charles Delondes, was largely inspired by the Haitian Revolution. Under the plantation economy, the rich soil of the Mississippi River and violent extraction of Black labor concentrated immense wealth in New Orleans. (By the mid 19th century half the millionaires in the United States lived along rivers outside New Orleans.) These patterns of extraction continue today with carceral facilities, oil processing, and toxic industry often taking the place of former plantations. This speculative project develops techniques through which architecture can participate in a radically alternate reality, where the old squares of the French Quarter might meet the swampy terrain of the Bayou in a fictional Black capital founded on rebellion and its aftermath.
With its stories narrated by Kristina Kay Robinson’s historical fiction and lead character, this project stages an architecture inspired by Black fugitivity and collectivity. The museum installation deploys historical and locally abundant materials -- canvas, gold leaf, bamboo, felt-- and manipulates them with both digital fabrication and handicraft. Animations and 3D-printed models present floating volumes of collective space. The project seeks to expand the capacity of architecture, urbanism, and landscape to participate in Black rebellion, and even challenges the museum to do so in a moment of the narrator breaking the fourth wall to address the troubled racial legacy of the gallery space. This project was commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art for the exhibition titled Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. On view at MoMA February 27 through May 31, 2021.
The Campbell House + Incubator is located on a corner lot in Southwest Detroit. Achieved from the renovation and adaptation of a three-story brick residence purchased from the Detroit Land Bank Authority, the Campbell House + Incubator transforms a house in service of growing community. The basement is converted to an aquaponics farm and a rear extension doubles as a greenhouse, connected via scissor lift. Both the house and indoor farm are served by geothermally activated radiant heating and cooling. Egress within each program is distinct to enable community access to the food incubator.
Inspired by the queer community of Miami, SPARKLE glimmers and twists within the courtyards of the Miami Design District. SPARKLE is inspired by the way Pride in Miami is celebrated across beaches and museum courtyards alike. SPARKLE is inspired by the fusing of late-night nightlife into early morning sunrises.
Hot Grandma chair, fabricated with robotic controlled hotwire at the Embodied computation Lab at Princeton University, on exhibition at Storefront for Art + Architecture June 21 - August 24 2018. The chair fabrication explores uncertainty and iteration across various scales as well as non-linear processes in design and construction.
A City of Detroit-commissioned action plan for housing, retail, and community spaces across 160 acres of waterfront and canals in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood. Jefferson Chalmers on the east side of Detroit sits in an area known for its canal-lined neighborhoods, waterfront parks and historic homes.
This kit of parts approach to Detroit Landbank-owned houses in the Fitzgerald neighborhood emphasizes removal, curating careful demolition and material stripping. Unnecessary materials are resold or salvaged for repurposing on site. Valuable wood is repurposed as a rainscreen, roofing material, or interior finish. Bricks removed from the entrance of one building get allocated to fill non-structural gaps in another. Old basements get repurposed as geothermal gardens to support new landscape interventions. The design of building envelope air gaps increases energy efficiency and reduces risks of mold, while providing the framework for an aesthetic recoding of the typical Detroit house.
The project addresses questions of urban scale change through a suite of spatial and material tactics to facilitate exploration of performance, community, and form. The experimental aspects architecturally include strategies of subtraction, programmatic collaboration, and expanded territories of adaptive re-use. The project seeks to explore what might occur when the borders of a house open up to annihilate the borders between art and community, makers and receivers of art, museums and home.
Promised Air, a commissioned proposal for Mexicantown/Southwest Detroit, engages the consequences of North American infrastructure for urban housing, industrial plants, international institutions, and air quality. The program for the almost 10-acre site is conceived as layers of remediation–remediating the displacement of nearby residents, remediating the proliferation of trucks in residential neighborhoods, and remediating the air pollution emitted by industry and diesel engines. The proect was commissioned and exhibited by the U.S. Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.
This collaborative design for the Women's Building creates an array of spaces for interaction, organization, and action. Located in Chelsea, the non-profit hub is designed to highlight the potential of our built environment in a post-carceral society. The design intervention preserves an old swimming pool by converting the pool to a performance space. The lobby-access spaces abolish gender policing.
Commissioned by the Instanbul Design Biennial, this room-sized installation engages with forces that structure cities yet are systematically ignored by urban planners. The project draws on the spaces of nightlife where all the “schizoprehnias” of development, land use, cultures, class conflict and multiple selves are acted out. It also points to the key role of illicit or unseen chemicals and smells that constantly move through cities, both constructing and dissolving the urban and social fabric.
The Hunter’s Point South project is transforming the Long Island City waterfront, and doing so in the name of affordability, accessibility, and sustainability for local residents and all New Yorkers. The project is a multi-agency, two-phase effort, including infrastructure and roadway improvements, a waterfront park, and seven residential buildings. Atelier Office worked on initial urban design and zoning within the New york City Department of City Planning Queens Borough office.
1. a workshop or studio, especially one used by an artist or designer.
1. a room, set of rooms, or building used as a place for commercial, professional, or bureaucratic work.
Founded in 2020
Atelier Office is a collaborative practice borne of more than 15 years of experimental work-- from the award-winning architecture non-profit Superfront in Brooklyn and Los Angeles to the Detroit-based practice A(n) Office / McEwen Studio. Atelier Office folds an experimental legacy into a service-oriented design firm practicing architecture and urban design.
Atelier Office has been profiled in Metropolis magazine and published internationally.
V. Mitch McEwen is a multifaceted architectural designer with international experience. McEwen also teaches at Princeton School of Architecture, where she directs the architecture and technology research group Black Box, exploring mixed human-robotic processes in design and construction. She is one of ten co-founders of the Black Reconstruction Collective.
McEwen’s design work has been commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Architecture Biennale US Pavilion, as well as awarded grants from the Graham Foundation, Knight Foundation, and New York State Council on the Arts. An emerging thought leader in the field, McEwen was a keynote speaker at Architectural Record's 2018 Innovation Conference. A recent interview is here.
Prior to founding Atelier Office, McEwen earned experience on complex large-scale projects at New York City Department of City Planning and Bernard Tschumi Architects, as well as independent collaborations. Hands-on experience includes waterfront development, media zones, museum design, mixed-use neighborhood frameworks, and non-profit community space. McEwen holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and an undergraduate AB in Social Studies with a minor in Economics cum laude from Harvard.