May 9, 2008
by Canadian Architect
On May 28th 2008, Jesse Reiser and his partner Nanako Umemoto will receive the Cooper Union Presidential Citation from President George Campbell for outstanding practical and theoretical contributions to the field of architecture.
Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto graduated from the Cooper Union in 1981 and 1983 respectively and began their partnership in 1985. Their innovative design work, which embraced a range of scales from residential to regional, is widely recognized internationally.
Reiser + Umemoto gained considerable international attention last year when they were awarded first place honours during the international jury phase of the Shenzhen Airport Competition. Other competing firms included Lord Norman Foster, Foreign Office Architects, Kisho Kurokowa, and Massimiliano Fuksas. Reiser + Umemoto’s cutting-edge concrete shell design, a radical shift away from airport “hi-tech,” ultimately proved too challenging for the local Chinese jury, but nevertheless confirmed Reiser + Umemoto’s status as leading practitioners in the field of architecture, thus contributing to the decision for their presidential citation.
The firm has also recently won first prize in the international competition for the design of the Alishan Tourist Infrastructure in Taiwan, People’s Republic of China, which is due to begin construction in the coming year.
Currently, Reiser + Umemoto’s Green Tower O-14 is under construction in Dubai. The building broke ground in February 2007 and sub-groundwork was completed in September 2007. The first four levels of lacelike concrete exoskeleton is now visible on the Dubai skyline, with the final 22 storeys slated for completion in the spring of 2009.
In addition, Reiser + Umemoto are currently producing a prototype wall for the MoMA Home Delivery exhibition, scheduled to open in July 2008.
A comprehensive monograph of the firm’s architectural design work, Projects and their Consequences, is currently in production and is scheduled for publication by the Spanish publisher Actar in Spring 2009. Their book Atlas of Novel Tectonics was released by Princeton Architectural Press in March 2006.