The Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices competition identifies leading talents in architecture and design in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Meet the eight 2016 winners that were selected for their "distinct design voices and significant bodies of realized work." Each firm will deliver a lecture this month in Manhattan. The third lecture takes place tomorrow, Tuesday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. when Jeffrey Day and E.B. Min (Min | Day) and Frank Jacobus and Marc Manack (SILO AR+D) present their work.
Min | Day
Omaha, NE + San Francisco, CA
Although multi-locale firms are increasingly common these days, in 2003 when Jeffrey Day and E.B. Min decided to establish Min | Day between Omaha and San Francisco, there was no FaceTime to ease the distance. Instead, the pair learned to be flexible and develop a sense of trust and “looseness” in their working relationship. As a result, their design ethos is as much a product of their combined art, landscape architecture, design, and architecture backgrounds, as it is from the firm’s set up. Now, Day is the director of the Architecture Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a professor of architecture and landscape architecture, and runs student design lab FACT (Fabrication And Construction Team), while Min heads up the San Francisco office, is an adjunct professor at California College of the Arts, and a director at the local AIA.
“I don’t think we would have been a good fit in a traditional practice, Min said. “We think about architecture in ways that aren’t standard. We both have diverse interests in art and other things and this translates into our willingness to take on different projects and scope.”
Case in point: When discussing one of their latest and most significant completed projects, the Blue Barn Theatre in Omaha, Day discusses the benefits in having a client that didn’t have the funds to build everything at once, but rather, requested a structure that can be expanded, changed, and added onto later. And when the theater group welded its name prominently on the facade after it was built? No big deal. The firm’s goal is to respond “to the human desire to remake one’s own environment in order to open up social and spatial opportunities that cannot be foreseen by the architect.”
In this sense, they both cite their backgrounds in landscape architecture (Min previously worked at Delaney and Cochran, and Day teaches landscape architecture as well as architecture) as a huge influence. “Landscape architects design differently,” Min said. “You can make something and then the client rips it all up or the plants don’t do well. There aren’t strict rooms and there is an acceptance that their design will change a lot over time.”
Despite their practice rapidly ramping up, Day and Min are as open-minded as ever. Although they can’t offer any details, there are several large projects in San Francisco—one is Min | Day’s biggest yet—as well as myriad smaller projects, including expanding their budding modular furniture line, MD Mod, and a long-time client’s kitchen renovation. “We want to be meaningful and understandable to a broad audience,” Day explained. “There might be issues we work through that concern others in the discipline, but we still want it to be enjoyed and appreciated on different levels.”