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Architecture Wed Jan 20 2010

Coren Sharples of SHoP at the MCA

Image from shoparc.com

New York based SHoP architecture firm was founded in 1997 by Coren Sharples, her husband, her husband's twin brother and another married couple. With a business doubling as a family, "you can't be a jerk to the people you work with because you have to go home to them," Sharples said last night at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) for a lecture that was part of their Studio is the Subject series. Sharples began the talk with a description of SHoP's business practices that focus on ethics (they have never had an unpaid intern) and innovative design (the "kit of parts" idea).

The kit of parts refers to models they remembered putting together as kids that came with the "sheet" of parts you could pop out and fit together. Referring to this concept, when SHoP sends out the pieces for a project, materialized and cut by computer, to a construction site, the laborers rarely have to measure or even cut. A little over a year ago, SHoP added SHoP Construction to further the in-house simplicity.

Sharples, accompanied by a slide show, also chronicled quite a few projects. This was the most fascinating portion of the lecture. Sharples explained the firm's preference for sometimes working with smaller projects because of their ability to experiment. "The big rich people say they want something different, something no one's ever done before, but really there is too much money involved. They don't want to be guinea pigs," she said. She walked the audience through the process of the Museum of Modern Art's summer installation that had a budget of $50,000 and 4 weeks to be completed. Another highlight was SHoP's installation for DIFFA and Supima Cotton, which involved enormous cotton bolls conceptualized into a wall used for one event that could be packed flat and reused again and again.

There are seven more events for The Studio is the Subject series through May 22 and a full list can be found on the MCA's website.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
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