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Marie Adams (MArch ’06) and Dan Adams, Landing Studio, Receive 2015 Architectural League Prize: Authenticity

Landing Studio, founded in 2005 by Marie Adams (MArch ’06) and Dan Adams, was named one of the six recipients of the 2015 Architectural League Young Architects and Designers Award. Landing Studio’s work focuses on the intersections of architecture, infrastructure, and landscape in industrial settings, which often dwell in uneasy alliance. Their clients and projects range from port facilities and ocean transport to demolition plans and shared industrial/public park landscapes.

In a recent exhibition at the MIT Keller Gallery, Landing Studio showed their work at the Rock Chapel Marine, the site of a 100,000-ton salt pile in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Located on the waterfront and across the street from one of New England’s densest residential neighborhoods, the site has a long history of varied industrial uses, most recently as an asphalt batching and jet fuel tank farm. Through a series of projects begun in 2005, Rock Chapel Marine now embraces two discrete functions: an active salt port used for storing and deploying de-icing salt during Boston’s winter months and a public waterfront recreation space containing a seasonal basketball court, event space, a year-round wildlife planting zone, and a passive recreation area. The designed demolition of the former oil terminal recycles several of the structures into recreation elements. Aluminum geodesic domes removed from the oil tanks were remounted on columns to become shade trellises and scaffolds for plantings and lighting; platforms for the unloading and loading of barges and trucks were transformed into overlook platforms; and tanks and retaining dikes formerly used for storing petroleum were cleaned and used to retain soils to cap the ground and create a new amphitheater.

The exhibition framed the project “through three lenses, overlaying modes of research, mapping, and design that conflate local interests with global systems and seek to translate prohibitive conflicts into productive frictions,” wrote Landing Studio. Scale models, time-lapse videos, and analytical drawings reconciled the scale-less operations of industry.

Landing Studio is also one of four winners of the 2015 Design Biennial Boston organized by Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Boston Art Commission in collaboration with pinkcomma gallery, BSA Space, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. As part of the Biennial, they will construct a site-specific installation on the Rose Kennedy Greenway: a new pier field made of material salvaged from the Boston Harbor. The installation derives from recent walks along Boston’s waterfront to document the physical conditions of the constructed shoreline. “We were drawn to the pattern of ruined pier fields all around the harbor and how their homogenous physical forms become redefined by the forces of water over time,” explained Marie Adams. The Design Biennial opens in early July 2015.

The Architectural League Prize is 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 for the exchange of their ideas. Each year The Architectural League and the Young Architects + Designers Committee organize a portfolio competition. Six winners are then invited to present their work in a variety of public fora, including lectures, an exhibition, and on the League’s website. For more information, see The Architectural League's website.