The Icon 20/20 Architects: Tom Wiscombe 01.05.09

SV Day

Proposal for performing arts theatre, Sundsvall, Sweden, 2008

There is a lot of brave and fantastical digital work coming out of Los Angeles these days, but if you had to pick one architect designing a plausible future it would be Tom Wiscombe. Emergent, Wiscombe's practice, pursues what is sometimes called bioconstructivism: designing buildings whose engineering mimics natural structures such as insect wings. "It's not attempting to look like a dragonfly wing but operate like one," he says.

Unlike some of his more theoretical contemporaries, the 38-year-old knows how to build thanks to his long history of collaborating with Austrian practice Coop Himmelb(l)au. Since his break designing the PS1 Young Architects Program installation in 2003, he has won numerous competitions but the only project still slated to happen is a tower in Guiyang, China. Nevertheless, as a pioneer of what is becoming a significant new direction in architecture, Wiscombe is one to keep an eye on.

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Image

Adam Laycock

 

Words

Justin McGuirk, Johanna Agerman, William Wiles, Anna Bates, Beatrice Galilee, Oliver Wainwright, Alex Pasternack, Matthew Barac, Sean Dodson

 

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