Bay Area Firm Captures ‘Imagination, Emotional Meaning, and Lyrical Expressionism’
SAN FRANCISCO: Form4 Architecture, known for its belief that architecture is the art of giving form to ideas, has been named the winner of the 2017 American Prize for Architecture by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. The architecture, interiors, and planning firm specializes in creating enticing environments for tech offices, museums, mixed-use developments, educational institutions, memorials, and places of worship, that respond as equally to energy efficiency, site topography, and user experience. The firm’s international reach includes designs for projects in India, Korea, Taiwan, and Ireland, in addition to Northern California, with a particular focus on nearby Silicon Valley tech giants, such as Netflix, Citrix, VM Ware, Google, and Facebook. In 2016, Form4 Architecture was invited to exhibit at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in the Global Art Affairs Foundation exhibition titled “Time-Space-Existence,” and will again have a presence in 2018.
“These may well be the ultimate, true romantic architects,” says Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, President of The Chicago Athenaeum. “Form4 Architecture’s design philosophy conveys a ‘vision of the future’ and all the artistic possibilities of imagination, emotional meaning, and lyrical expressionism for a consequentially better and more enlightened world around us.”
The new American Prize for Architecture Laureates—Form4 Architecture principals Robert J. Giannini, John Marx, AIA, Paul Ferro, AIA, and James Tefend—strive to create rational, empowering, and dynamic architecture. “We believe in work that is artful and dynamic while respectful of its parameters,” says Marx. “To that end, we are able to create architecture that is poetic and memorable without sacrificing function.”
The American Prize for Architecture, also known as The Louis H. Sullivan Award, is bestowed upon outstanding practitioners in the US that have emblazoned a new direction in the history of American architecture with talent, vision, and commitment, and have demonstrated consistent contributions to humanity through the built environment and the art of architecture. Previous American Prize for Architecture Laureates include Michael Graves, FAIA (1994), Sir Norman Foster, Hon. FAIA (1996), Richard Meier, FAIA (1998), and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects (2016).
This recognition contributes to the more than 80 accolades garnered by the award-winning firm from 2015 to present, and 116 awards to date, including The LEAF Awards, World Architecture News Awards, Architizer A+ Awards, German Iconic Awards, and the World Architecture Festival Awards. The official presentation of the American Prize for Architecture will take place at the Orlando Museum of Art on April 27th in Orlando, FL.
“This year’s public accolade to this San Francisco office is significant in that it celebrates an architecture that inspires us, while celebrating the human condition and acknowledging the true sensitive requirements of a better designed and natural environment,” continues Narkiewicz-Laine. “Form4 Architecture’s work pairs emotional and artistic substance to public and environmental place-making, and space-creating. The practice focuses on the dynamics of form as the carrier of more lofty intent than just simply ‘building’.”
The Chicago Athenaeum has long awarded the individual projects designed by Form4 Architecture, granting 11 such accolades since 2012 in its various awards programs. Most recently, the organization bestowed a 2017 American Architecture Award on Sea Song, a self-sustaining, net-zero energy, LEED Platinum-aimed single-family residence on the coast of Big Sur, CA. A 2016 Good Green Design Award was given to the firm’s Innovation Curve Technology Park, whose peaks and valleys of sweeping architectural curves serve as metaphors for the highs and lows of exploratory research and development. The project broke ground in the prestigious Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, CA, last fall, and is set to be completed in 2017.
The breadth of Form4 Architecture’s impact extends beyond its work in Silicon Valley. Located in the seventh largest metropolis in India, and inspired by the national flower, the white lotus, the LEED Gold Falling Lotus Blossoms: EON IT Park is an elegantly arranged quartet of buildings that can be seen from space. Through its design, Portal of the Winds, an annexation to Jeju International Airport in South Korea, formalizes the strong winds responsible for shaping the island through broadly sweeping lines that give form and shape to the project.
An exhibition honoring Form4 Architecture, organized by The Chicago Athenaeum and The European Centre, opens at Contemporary Space Athens in July 2017, and is scheduled to travel throughout Europe and the United States in 2017-2018. A monograph of the firm’s projects is planned for release by Metropolitan Arts Press in summer 2017.
About Form4 Architecture
Form4 Architecture believes architecture is the art of giving form to ideas. The award-winning firm specializes in creating environments, whether for tech offices, mixed-use developments, or residences, that respond as equally to the topography of a site as they do to the people they serve. Form4 creates formal expressions that are not only poetically moving and conceptually thoughtful, but also reflective of the client’s values and goals. As collaborative partners in the design process, the principals of Form4 Architecture—Robert J. Giannini, John Marx, AIA, Paul Ferro, AIA, and James Tefend—are personally involved with every project from concept to completion, bringing the collective wealth of years of expertise and knowledge to each client’s vision. Since 1998, the firm has built a rich portfolio of award-winning work for national and international clients within diverse market sectors.
Robert J. Giannini, Co-Founder and Principal, has more than 34 years of successful architectural experience. Formerly with Dowler-Gruman Architects and DES Architects, he has held multiple leadership roles in project design and execution. His expertise extends to sustainable design of LEED Platinum and net-zero electric buildings. He received both Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley.
John Marx, AIA, Co-Founder and Design Principal, is responsible for developing Form4 Architecture’s design vision and philosophical language. Prior to cofounding Form4 Architecture in 1998, he was a design director at KMD Architects. His first book, Wandering the Garden of Technology and Passion (Balcony Press, 2012), is a study of digital design that explores two decades of his international and national design work. In 2016, he exhibited his work at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in the Global Art Affairs Foundation exhibition titled “Time-Space-Existence.” He received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture Studies with High Honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Paul Ferro, AIA, Co-Founder and Principal, is committed to creating welcoming project environments, and ensuring that concepts and goals are carried through and ultimately realized. His expertise ranges from office shells and interiors, to athletic facilities and retail/mixed-use, as well as residential projects. Before co-founding Form4 Architecture in 1998, he was project designer for Dowler-Gruman Architects. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley.
James Tefend, Principal, has led a wide range of projects including corporate office campuses, commercial retail centers, educational facilities, libraries, municipal transportation centers, fitness resorts, and places of worship. He received a Bachelor of Art in Architecture from Washington University, St. Louis, and a Master of Architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology.