In 2008, Kutan Ayata and Michael Young co-founded Young & Ayata with a commitment to experimentation and dedication to “explore novel formal and organizational possibilities in architecture and urbanism.” The Brooklyn-based partnership views “the reality of contemporary building as a provocation to the progression of experiments in form, material, and technology.” The firm’s work consists of commissions and experimental research, engaging with “contemporary cultural issues that influence and are influenced by our environment.” Recent projects include the competition scheme for an opera house in Busan, South Korea, and a conceptual master plan for the Aalto University Campus Center in Helsinki, Finland.
Young & Ayata is one of the winners of the 2014 Architectural League Prize, one of North America’s most prestigious awards for young architects and designers. The prize, established in 1981, recognizes exemplary and provocative work by young practitioners and provides a public forum — through lectures, an exhibition, and a catalogue — for the exchange of their ideas.
In their League Prize lecture, the partners describe their interest in exploring the tension between reality and its representation and the role of “estrangement” in architecture. The two detail four recent projects: their Overlay gallery installation; Guilded Splinter 69, a series of line drawings that resembles digital images rendered with modeling software; Donkeys & Feathers, a translation of these drawings into fabricated objects then painted into Dutch still lifes; and a competition entry for the Busan Opera House, which challenges the opera house archetype by integrating the landscape into the building.