What makes us human after all? MODU’s designs are grounded in three core values: indoor urbanism, second nature, and the incomplete whole


Indoor Urbanism

MODU leverages indoor urbanism to conceive of architecture with fewer boundaries, which manifest themselves in both environmental and social connectivity. Architecture is not simply the middle scale of the built environment, but the space where the urban and interior scales intersect. Merging these two opposing scales prompts the borders around architecture to recede, changing how we experience the public spaces in our cities as well as the interior spaces within buildings. People thrive in connected spaces designed for their health and well-being.

Second Nature

MODU defines a second nature as an architecture and nature that are extensions of each other, reimagining the boundary where the inside ends and the outside begins. Architecture as a cultural discipline should be adaptive to more environmental forces, such as weather dynamics. This adaptability fosters engaging experiences that connect the indoors to the outdoors through social gathering spaces. Providing this contact with the natural world enriches our lives in urban environments and provides meaningful everyday experiences.

Incomplete Wholes

The incomplete whole is integral to MODU’s design approach: architecture itself is never complete, as it embodies many potential scenarios and outcomes. Perhaps architecture can never be completed, but can be made whole in connecting people to each other through the environment. Living with the environment is a meaningful experience. MODU has also conducted extensive research on another kind of incomplete: physically incomplete projects in cities around the world that we reconceive as catalysts for urban transformation.



02.08.19: MODU Awarded 2019 Emerging Voices Award
MODU is honored to be recognized with the Emerging Voices award from the Architectural League of New York. For over 30 years, the award has been given to “North American firms and individuals with distinct design voices and significant bodies of realized work.”
04.26.18: MODU Awarded Autodesk Entrepeneur Impact Grant MODU has been awarded a grant from Autodesk for our entrepeneurial work. The grant provides Autocad’s expertise, support and software for practices that “lead the way with sustainable, forward-thinking business practices.” More about the grant program here.

09.29.17: Lecture in Atlanta MODU will be lecturing at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. The lecture will be on September 29th at 3:30pm. More about the lecture here.

08.02.17: National Endowment for the Arts Award Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem have been selected for the 2017-18 National Endowment for the Arts’ US-Japan Creative Artists Program. They will conduct research on the link between contemporary Japanese architecture and vernacular “weather rooms.”
07.28.17: Rome Prize Fellowship Ends Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem’s 11 month Rome Prize fellowship at the American Academy in Rome has ended.
06.05.17: Open Studios at the American Academy in Rome Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem will exhibit the past nine months of work at the American Academy in Rome's Open Studios this Thursday, June 8th from 6pm-9pm. More about the Open Studios here.
06.05.17:  Interview in ArchinectPhu Hoang and Rachely Rotem has been interviewed in the online magazine Archinect. The interview discusses progress that they made as the Rome Prize Fellows at the American Academy in Rome, including the idea of “scaling across disciplines.” Read the interview here.
05.30.17: Lecture in Barcelona
MODU will be lecturing at the IAAC architecture school in Barcelona. The lecture will be on May 30th at 7:30pm. More about the lecture here.
05.18.17: Lecture in Athens MODU will be lecturing at the Patras University of Athens in Athens and Patras. The lecture will be on May 23rd at 7:00pm. More about the lecture here.
04.18.17: Lecture in Madrid MODU will be lecturing at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (ETSAM) in Madrid. Recent work from Rome will be presented on April 19th, at 12:30pm. More about the lecture here.
02.11.17: Exhibit at the American Academy in Rome On February 14th, Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem will present "Indoor City," a collaborative project with several Fellows at the American Academy in Rome. Jonathan Berger (Music Composition), Hussein Fancy (Medieval History), Jack Livings (Literature) and Matthew Null (Literature) will evoke the sounds and voices of the "Indoor City," with Christoph Meinrenken providing climate data. More about the exhibit here.
01.11.17: Lecture in Rome
On January 16th, Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem will present their work-- including ongoing work while in Rome-- at the American Academy in Rome. The lecture will begin at 6:30pm in the AAR Lecture Room and can be watched with this live stream. Lecture information here.
01.05.17:  Interview in Domus Magazine Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem has been interviewed in the Italian magazine Domus, which includes a discussion of the work that they are doing as the Founders Rome Prize Fellows at the American Academy in Rome. Their work uncovers Italy’s contemporary ruins; unfinished projects in various states of weather modification. Read the interview here.
09.12.16: Rome Prize Fellowship Begins Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem have begun their fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. Over the next eleven months, they will research and develop work based on their proposal, “The Mutating Weathers of Rome’s Ruins.” The proposal reframes Italy’s incomplete structures as social and thermal opportunities, following a long history of transforming ruins in the country. More about the Academy here.
09.02.16: Phu Hoang Awarded a Teaching Prize from Architect Magazine Phu Hoang’s graduate studio at Columbia University GSAPP has been awarded the Sloan Prize by Architect magazine. The work of his students in the studio “School Without Classrooms: Micro-Weather Futures of Education Technology” were selected from over eighty schools in architecture. Congratulations to all the students! Read about the prize here.
07.15.16: MODU Recognized as One of “10 Best Architecture Startups in 2016” The studio has been selected as one of the best architecture startups of the year by Archipreneur magazine. The award is based on the idea that “startups exemplify the most experimental aspects of the profession, and push the envelope when it comes to business models, marketing strategies and design innovation.” Read about the award here.
06.07.16: Phu Hoang's essay "Can You Believe the Weather We're Having?" Published in Climates Book
Phu Hoang's essay, "Can you Believe the Weather We're Having? The Politics of the Weather Report" is published in the exciting new book "Climates: Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary," published by Columbia Books on Architecture and the City and Lars Muller Publishers. The book will launch at the Venice Bienale on May 27th in the Central pavilion.  Read the essay here or purchase the book here.
04.21.16: Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem have won the 2016-2017 Founders Rome Prize in Architecture!
We are honored that the American Academy in Rome has awarded Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem with the 2016-2017 Founders Rome Prize in Architecture. Their proposal, "The Mutating Weathers of Rome's Ruins," will be developed over an eleven month fellowship at the Academy. The Rome Prize ceremony will be at The New School (66 W. 12th Street, NY) on April 21, 2016 at 6:30pm. More than 900 applicants nation-wide applied to the 11 disciplines supported by the Academy. The award, now over 100 years old, “represents the leading edge of contemporary American scholarship and creativity.” More about the Rome Prize here.
01.28.16: MODU is Selected as One of the 2016 Winners of the AIA New Practices New York Award!
We're honored to be selected as one of the winners of the biannual AIA New Practices New York award. The award recognizes architecture firms in their first 10 years of practice. The award is accompanied by a public lecture and exhibition of our work. We will present our work in a lecture (6:30pm on April 6, 2016) at Cosentino (A&D Building, 150 E. 58th St, Suite 399) as well as an exhibition at New York City's Center for Architecture (Opening 6:00pm on May 12, 2016). More about the award here.
10.15.15: Weather in Climate: Schools Book Published MODU's book, "Weather in Climate: Schools," explores the differences inherent in the term "weather in climate"— arguing, essentially, that weather and climate are not the same. Their temporal, dimensional, and political differences are manifested architecturally in a series of studies for near (weather) and distant (climate) futures. This book, the first in a series on building types, focuses on schools and the idea of programmatic "weather rooms." Three school studies experiment with the different forms these "weather rooms" can take in adapting to different global climates. More about the book here.
08.24.15: Published in Dezeen.com
Cloud Seeding, our recent plaza pavilion for Design Museum Holon, has been published in Dezeen.com. The project harnesses the inherent uncontrollable nature of weather to create an engaging public space that changes with each visit. Read the publication here.
05.18.15: Interview in Collectively.org Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem have been interviewed in the online platform Collectively.org. They discuss both current and past projects, as well as the importance of designing with weather to create "participatory environments" in public spaces.
05.01.15: MODU exhibiting in the New Faces of Brooklyn Architecture show at BKLN Designs and NYCxDesign MODU will be part of a group of emerging architecture practices in the "New Faces of Brooklyn Architecture" show. Organized by the Architect's Newspaper and AIA New York New Practices committee, the exhibit (designed by Abruzzo Bodziak) will be in the BKLYN Design show from May 8-10, 2015. From May 15-17, the exhibit will be part of NYCxDesign and located in New York's Astor Place plaza (Photo by Pete Deevakul).
03.21.15: Exhale Coral Reef Is Sustaining Full Coral Growth We're excited that the 5 year old artificial coral reef made from the construction materials of our 2010 project, Exhale, is now sustaining full coral growth and is cited as healthy. MODU worked with Miami-Dade County's local government to help create an artificial reef off the coast of Miami Beach to provide resiliency against extreme weather and foster marine life. Exhale was a 25,000 square foot public art park commissioned by the New York public arts organization, Creative Time, and Art Basel Miami Beach.
01.05.15: MODU lecturing at University of Technology Sydney.
The lecture will present recent projects and research on inherently uncontrolled weather and its interplay with the unpredictability of program. The lecture will occur on February 11th at 6:30pm in Level 5, Building 6, UTS. MODU is in Sydney to teach a 2-week workshop that explores the use of carbon fiber and Tyvek to create "soft structures" that react to both weather and program. This will be the first in a series of workshops between MODU and the University of Technology Sydney. More about the workshop here.
09.15.15: MODU lecturing at the Rhode Island School of Design. Rachely Rotem, currently teaching an advanced design studio at RISD, will present MODU's recent work on the intersection between architecture, weather and climate resilience. The lecture will occur on September 18th at 6:30pm in BEB Lecture Hall 106, RISD.
06.23.14: Phu Hoang publishes "If the Dust Never Settles" in ARPA Journal #1 Phu Hoang's article, If the Dust Never Settles: Uncontrolling Weather Control has published in Columbia University GSAPP's first ARPA journal. The article explores the notion of weather uncontrol through the lens of modernism's history of control over the environment. Read the article here.

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