Aaron Davis & Leah Meisterlin will be keynote speakers at the 2011 AIA Georgia Design Conference in October. The conference topic: One Architect, One Future.

Two New Books
featuring PRE & PRE partners:
The Studio-X New York Guide to Liberating New Forms of Conversation (ed. Gavin Browning) & Contemporary Digital Architecture: Design and Techniques (Dimitris Kottas)


Status Update

a Status Update for posterity, circa 1900: hats, mustaches, and beer. (Click image for source)

It's been shamefully long since we've posted an update on our whereabouts and happenings, so here goes. First-up: Phase Two (?!) is off and running.

Early in PRE's planning, we recognized that the need for further work experience and professional development would not simply disappear because we happened to enter the profession into a nonexistent job market during a recession.  The hope, of course, was that we might use the forced downtime strategically and carefully to examine modes of practice, develop an infrastrucutre for practice, and generally lay some appropriate groundwork in order to make fuller sense of hte opportunities that would eventually come back around. While the economy has not by any stretch recovered (and honestly probably should not return to its former modus operandi), we at PRE have been lucky to start (separately) acquiring some of that much needed, real-world street cred.

Briefly, Zachary is hard at work at Leslie Gill and coteaching with Mabel Wilson at GSAPP; Aaron is at Heintges; and Leah is currently dividing her time between NYU and Urbanscale. The differences in our so-called day jobs sleak to the multi- and interdisciplinary approach to which PRE remains as committed as ever, and the promise of what these varied skillsets and experiences may bring to a single team is only more exciting the more we learn.

The full swing of Phase Two does not mean that the research that began two years ago has been halted, abandoned, nor back-burnered in any way. On the contrary, the Conversations with Architects research (on modes of practice and office development through economic cycles) has taken a few interesting and promising turns over the recent months and is beginning to shape up into a more compelling product that we could have earlier imagined. 

In other upcoming news, Aaron and Leah will be delivering a keynote talk at the AIA Georgia Chapter's 2011 Design Conference next month. The conference theme is "One Architect/One Future," and while the final touches are still being put on the presentation, we'll be excited to share its main points soon.


Spontaneous Architecture: 2010 Year-End Wrap-Up

Where and How It StartedAlmost a year later, Spontaneous Architecture is closing out 2010 with SIX Competition Briefs (and therefore twice the allotted time). They are a somewhat strange combination of questions, arranged in no particular order:

A : Water on the Moon because it's crazy.
B : WikiLeaks because 2010 has been full of it.
C : The Honey Bees because their impact has been huge and we think we know what is wrong.
D : Welcome (again) to the Future because we wonder if people think 2010 was futuristic enough (see Brief A).
E : War because it's everywhere and we haven't brought it up yet. 
F : What Did We Miss? because the year's been intense and because a free-for-all topic is in order after we've picked all the topics.

Check out the SA site for the full briefs, deadlines, and submission guidelines.


two new books

Two recent books featuring PRE and a little PRE work:

First up is The Studio-X New York Guide to Liberating New Forms of Conversation (edited by the ever-wonderful Gavin Browning, featuring an afterward by Mark Wigley and the graphic design of MTWTF). The guide includes a few of Leah's events with the Buell Center as well as PRE's event in October 2009 and 2010's RAPID RESPONSE: Spontaneous Architecture.

Second, Dimitris Kottas' Contemporary Digital Architecture: Design and Techniques features Leah's 2009 collaboration with SoftRigid's Brian Brush and Yong Ju Lee, "Ornamental Connectivity: Form, Fabrication, and Data Environments." The project was an experiment in the potential intersections of GIS analysis and digital fabrication techniques.


Spontaneous Architecture: August 2010: Heat

Decadal surface temperature anomalies relative to 1951-1980 base period. From "Global Surface Temperature Change" (2010) by J. Hansen, R. Ruedy, M. Sato, and K. Lo at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Excerpts from this month's brief: "It's hot, and it's hot everywhere...If you live in a city in the Northern Hemisphere, the urban heat effect is probably melting you...When politicians are still denying Global Warming and Al Gore isn't convincing anyone new, when we're still pumping out air-thickening pollutants and protected by our air conditioners, how do we start to contend with our sweltering summers and staggering seasonal changes? Further, what kind of winter might Mother Nature have in store for us this year?"  

Let's be honest, this heat is oppressive and borderline unfathomable. This month we're asking for submissions from people who are sweating and have an opinion about that fact. Read the full brief and enter the competition at


Spontaneous Architecture: July 2010

After a rough patch of technical difficulty, July's Spontaneous Architecture competition is off and running! This month's brief can be found at and centers around last month's strange happenings regarding Cold War-esque Russian espionage in American suburbia.  

After six months of learning-through-doing about the Spontaneous Architecture project, we hoped to return to a topic somewhat akin to January's brief: something a bit more speculative with perhaps a little more critical visioning than problem-solving...something perhaps a little more fun.

We would like to thank you all, once again, for your continued participation and support!  Our winners and regular participants have all been fantastic, and we look forward to the next six months of SpontArch 2010.

July's competition will close (due to the late start) at 11:59PM on 27 July 2010.  Good luck!