(Text as submitted by architect)
For his contributions to architecture as an art, Nader Tehrani is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ 2020 Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize. Nader Tehrani is founding principal of NADAAA and Dean of the Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. His research focuses on the transformation of the building industry, innovative material applications, and the development of new means and methods of construction, especially through digital fabrication. Tehrani’s work has received many prestigious awards, including the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award, and eighteen Progressive Architecture Awards. Prior to becoming Dean at the Cooper Union, he taught at RISD, Harvard GSD, Georgia Institute of Technology, and MIT. His office, NADAAA, for the past seven years in a row, has ranked in the Top eleven design firms in Architect Magazine’s Top 50 Firms in the United States, ranking as First three years in a row.
Arthur Chang, AIA is a Principal of NADAAA. He has been a key part of NADAAA and collaborator of Nader Tehrani’s for over 16 years. Chang’s experience in planning and managing all aspects of design projects have led to his work receiving some of the most prestigious national and international awards. Chang has led a variety of institutional and public projects including the Melbourne School of Design, RISD’s Fleet Library, the Research + Design Center at Beaver Country Day School, a new MBTA Headhouse in Boston’s Seaport, and North Hall, a new hybrid CLT/Steel residence hall for the Rhode Island School of Design.
NADAAA has evolved over three decades as a multi-disciplinary practice dedicated to bridging between design disciplines; from landscape to urbanism, architecture to interiors, and industrial design to furniture. The work of NADAAA demonstrates a commitment to new forms of knowledge through making. With an eye towards integrated thinking, we enter the discourse on technology, aesthetics, and building protocols as part of a holistic process. Rather than focus on typology, NADAAA’s portfolio is built on process, with examples of housing, institutional/academic buildings, commercial, retail, and design for civic places. We have completed exemplary projects in collaboration with extraordinary clients, many of whom have the objective to promote a standard of excellence that requires cross-disciplinary collaboration and flexibility for future modification.
Of the various investments in our thinking, much experimentation has been done with material properties and their potential to impact form. We seek to challenge the means and methods of fabrication/assembly, through innovative building strategies and the development of alternative tectonic approaches. We look at buildings with organic respect, reconciling part to whole relationships, and inventing key details that impact the intelligence of the overall design. Addressing program, budget, and schedule, our research aims to show the instrumentality of the art of construction as the central agent of the design process. Conceptual assemblies have been tested through a series of installations with several having found their way to complex architectural projects, requiring a more sophisticated approach towards integration.