Visiting Professor II
Yasmin Vobis (RA, NCARB, FAAR) received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of California, Berkeley and her Master's Degree from Princeton University, where she was awarded the Butler Traveling Fellowship and the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize. She has practiced in San Francisco and New York in the offices of Ogrydziak / Prillinger Architects, Guy Nordenson and Associates, and Steven Holl Architects, and she was a resident at MoMA PS1 for the Rising Currents charrette and exhibition. She has taught at Princeton University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and currently teaches at the Cooper Union. She is a recipient of the Founders / Arnold W. Brunner / Katherine Edwards Gordon Rome Prize in Architecture 2016-17.
Ultra Moderne is an award-winning architecture and design firm located in Providence, RI. Led by co-principals Aaron Forrest and Yasmin Vobis, the office is committed to creating architecture and public spaces that are at once modern, playful, and generous. The principals are driven by an experimental approach that leads to conceptually rigorous and well-executed designs. The office has experience working at a wide variety of scales, from single-family residences to urban-scale planning. Past clients include the Van Alen Institute, National Parks Service, Chicago Parks District, and the Architectural League of New York.
View Yasmin Vobis's full CV here.
Projects & Links
Chicago Horizon was the winner of the Chicago Architecture Biennial Lakefront Kiosk Competition. While the competition brief stipulated a 200 sf kiosk, we began by asking, how generous can a kiosk be? The design for the kiosk became a quest to create the largest wood roof possible—to demarcate a zone of the city for all to enjoy. The materials used in the pavilion are inexpensive: just some structural grade wood (CLT) and chain-link fencing. Minimizing the cost of materials maximizes the space for the public. Two programmatic volumes—a seating rake and a vending kiosk—hang between the roof and the ground. Enclosed in chain link fencing used vertically in tension, the volumes provide a subtle hierarchy within the otherwise open plan. Fin columns are distributed in a finely tuned radial pattern to respond to lateral loads and uplift; their orientation creates at once an intense focus on the space and activities central to the pavilion, as well as outwards towards the horizon.
The lateral reach of the roof recalibrates the experience of two extremes of the Chicago landscape: at ground level, the Lake Michigan horizon dominates, forming a line of symmetry between ground and canopy. Going up a few steps, the roof becomes a new artificial horizon, shutting out the foreground and emphasizing the vertical skyline beyond.
Photos by Naho Kubota.
Disegno, meaning drawing or design, has held a privileged role in art and architecture since the Italian Renaissance, when art historian Giorgio Vasari defined drawing as “the animating principle of all creative processes” in his Lives of the Artists. Disegno has been taken up as the primary mode of architectural design ever since; the role of the drawing cannot be overstated. Countless modern treatises on formal analysis stress form and the object as the primary locus of architecture. Color, when used, is typically understood as a surface treatment, subservient to the basic structure of forms. Yet each half of Vasari’s dichotomy promises a different spatial conception: disegno that of the hard-lined, geometrically defined space based on geometric projection; colore on the other hand, promises a coloristic approach based on aerial perspective which deals directly with regions and gradients, fields and potential environments. By reconsidering colore in conjunction with disegno, fresh possibilities for architecture arise.
Color Space has been focused on working with new digital scanning techniques to draw space through the lens of color. Photogrammetry uses sets of complementary photographs to locate color points in space in a digital modeling environment. Relying on the camera as a simple perspective-machine, spatial coordinates and RGB values are combined to produce digital environments that connect color and space in a form of architectural pointillism. Colore (color and tone) is the main protagonist of these environments, while disegno (linework and geometry) is inferred from the color clouds – a neat inversion from the typical draftsman’s approach to delineating architecture. Such models produce information about color, light and surfaces in three dimensions, rendering precise atmospheres.
This pavilion for the “Urban Timber” exhibition at the BSA Space Boston reimagines the traditional timber bent as a three-dimensional construct, unfolding through space and developing unexpected forms and relationships. Using cross-laminated timber (CLT) in conjunction with the gable-ended form, it forges a new archetype of space and structure for a transformed technology. A series of structurally rigid corners of complementary proportion are cut from a barn-shaped primitive and reassembled into a cantilevering column-assemblage in a spatial sequence that expresses itself through exploration.
Our finalist entry for the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program proposes the creation of a simple boundary within the former schoolyard. We begin by considering how little it might take to delineate a maximum space; to create an immense volume without mass; a clearing in the city; a space for recess.
The interior is a flexible space that encourages play in its many guises. In addition to allowing for daytime recreation and massive crowds during music events, its subtle order creates opportunities for new forms of games and performance. The boundary is made up of two chain link layers: one left raw, the other brightly colored; one vertical, the other inclined. Together the layers create a boundary with depth, ripe for exploration. And rather than fussy details or precious materials, the emphasis is on maximizing space for play.
A new public space is conceived as a green band cutting through the vast asphalt parking lot behind an existing cultural center, which as part of recent zoning changes has sharply reduced parking requirements. The strip serves as a soft boundary between the parking lot, the surrounding city, and the existing cultural center, reconnecting adjacent streets and marking the lot as an integral piece of the public realm.
The centerpiece of the green band is a three-season performance venue that expands the capacity of local performance groups. Built from a modified catalog greenhouse, the performance space serves as an intensification of the landscape and the programming activities of the cultural center. The monumental doors attached at every column form a new order that, when open, extend the pavilion from discrete, minimal object out into the city. Timed lighting elements integrated into pavilion, fence, and landscape, allow the project to serve as a beacon within the neighborhood as it transitions from day into night.
Southlight was a design-build collaboration with RISD Architecture students and the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island. Photos by Naho Kubota.
Table's Clear was a temporary installation for the Architectural League of New York's Beaux Arts Ball 2016. An oversize textile hangs within the existing industrial warehouse: a floating tabula rasa. The lightweight fabric forms a subtle catenary shape, creating new spaces and environments without the construction of a single wall. Monumental voids cut into the fabric lightly define rooms within the larger space, while a careful choreography allows the textile to animate between states twice during the night: from a low-lying plane that clears the space to floating overhead canopy - and back again.
Photos by Naho Kubota.