In 2010 Michelle LaFoe and Isaac Campbell founded OFFICE 52 Architecture, a progressive and interdisciplinary Portland-based studio practice dedicated to realizing relevant and transformative projects with a research-based approach and artistic expression. Our work explores spatial ideas and the innovative application of building materials and fabrication technology to create powerful and poetic spatial experiences reflective of client aspirations. We work in multiple media including physical study models and with the facility to move effortlessly across scale and scope. We develop a strong vision with meaningful concepts at the outset of each project while simultaneously thinking about construction and simplicity of detail. This allows us to quickly craft timeless solutions with the pragmatic realities of each location for a unique design with an efficiency of means. We achieve this with a rigorous process of exploration, research and rethinking of basic preconceived concepts for new spatial and programmatic models in a wide range of built work. Profound consideration of climate change, use of natural light, and the connection between people, place and the surrounding landscape is built into each of our projects small and large. To us architecture is about looking and seeing and listening and thinking and sketching and building.
In 2011 OFFICE 52 received international acclaim upon winning a prestigious commission in an invited competition to design Scott Hall, the new $85 million Nano-Bio-Energy Technologies Building for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Construction of the innovative design and pioneering vision for the building was completed in 2016. Prior to founding OFFICE 52, LaFoe worked with Centerbrook Architects, and both LaFoe and Campbell worked on and led institutional and cultural projects for the AIA Gold Medal winner Cesar Pelli, FAIA at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.
Isaac Campbell earned a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts from Rice University. For 25 years, he has planned, programmed and designed innovative and highly sustainable environments for higher education, corporate and private clients in the United States and abroad. His design work ranges from large-scale master plans and major projects for higher education, research, the arts, commercial development and transportation to smaller-scale infill projects, adaptive re-use and single family homes. His design work has been recognized with awards from the American Institute of Architects and the Society for College and University Planning.
Michelle LaFoe earned a Bachelor or Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts at Rice University with honors, a Post-Baccalaureate Graduate degree in Drawing, Painting and Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Master of Architecture as a full-scholarship Distinguished University Research Fellow at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, and completed fellowship-sponsored post-graduate research in materials and fabrication technology at Yale University. She is a former Fulbright-Hayes Scholar to Perugia, Italy and a grant recipient from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts. She has lectured and exhibited internationally and has won numerous awards for her art, fabrication and design work.
Both LaFoe and Campbell have been invited to speak nationally about their studio practice and creative design process in which they interweave advanced digital fabrication technology with contemporary craft techniques, such as printmaking on monolithic glass, in their design work and exploration of space and materials. Last year at the College Art Association Annual Conference, they talked about the inherently transformative nature of dichroic glass and ceramic glass frit combined with innovative glass fabrication techniques that incorporated approaches from studio art, science and architecture as a means to push the conceptual limits of glass as a material such as in their recently completed design for Scott Hall, the new Nano-Bio-Energy Technologies building at Carnegie Mellon University. Recent publication LINK.
This year at the 2017 CAA Annual Conference in NYC LaFoe and Campbell are hosting a panel session about emerging technology, fabrication, architecture, contemporary art and 21st century craft. LINK PDF Details
OFFICE 52 Architecture is a certified Emerging Small Business (ESB).