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 barriers, creating socially and environmentally inviting places that foster a sense of belonging. 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 limits of architecture to recede, creating a more inclusive public realm in cities and accessible interior spaces within buildings.

Second Nature

MODU defines a second nature as an architecture and nature that are extensions of each other, reimagining the threshold where the inside ends and the outside begins. Architecture as a cultural discipline should be adaptive to the dynamics of environmental forces, such as weather. This adaptability creates new forms of connection to the outdoors. Providing this interaction with urban nature enriches our daily lives and well-being.

Incomplete Whole

The incomplete whole is integral to MODU’s design approach: architecture itself is never complete, as it embodies innumerable scenarios and outcomes. However, architecture can be made whole in connecting people to the environment. MODU has conducted extensive research on another kind of incomplete: physically incomplete structures in cities around the world that are reconceived as catalysts for urban transformation.



04.28.20: MODU Awarded Honorable Mention from Fast Company
MODU’s Second Life initiative has been awarded an Honorable Mention in Fast Company's 2020 World Changing Ideas Award in the Spaces, Places, and Cities category. Now more than ever, we need to be creative entrepreneurs, proactively designing for the “separate, yet together” environments that will emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic. More about Second Life here.
03.09.20: Rachely Rotem Joins Panel at Center for Architecture
Rachely Rotem will take part of the “Leaning Out VII” panel discussion amongst distinguished colleagues shining a light on women in architecture. The event will take place at New York’s Center for Architecture starting at 6pm.  

02.25.20: MODU Lectures at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem and Eric Forman will give a talk Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. The discussion will be about the process of designing for public art installations, with a focus on the Heart Squared project organized by Times Square Arts and exhibited in Times Square.

11.6.19: MODU and Eric Forman Studio Win Design Competition! 
MODU and Eric Forman Studio are winners of the 2020 Times Square Heart design competition. The invited competition is organized by Times Square Arts and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Heart Squaredis an urban anamorphic projection—a large mirror array creates a pixel “emoji” heart from hundreds of reflections. More about Heart Squared here.

10.29.19: Phu Hoang Joins Panel Discussing Housing on Small Lots
Phu Hoang will join a panel discussing the Big Ideas for Small Lots competition, abandoned properties and imaginative revitalization strategies. The event is on October 29th at New York’s Center for Architecturem at 6pm.

05.16.19: Phu Hoang Joins Panel During NYCxDesign Week
Phu Hoang will join the "Designing Cities for People" panel organized by Lyft to discuss urban design and transportation. The event will be on May 16th at 7pm. He will present "last mile"  transportation through MODU's idea of indoor urbanism. How can we use design to shape the "last mile" boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces?

02.08.19: MODU Interviewed in The Architect’s Newspaper
Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem have been interviewed in the Architect's Newspaper on occasion of their 2019 Emerging Voices award: "Through discourse and design at scales both large and small, MODU’s indoor cities and outdoor rooms ultimately ask one question: How can we live better?"
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.”

01.31.19: Lecture at Japan Society in New York
MODU will present their work in New York's Japan Society. Their talk, "Inside-Out / Outside-In," will connect recent research in Japan with current projects at MODU. The event will be moderated by Beatrice Galilee, Associate Curator of Architecture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

07.02.18: Lecture in Japan
MODU will be lecturing at the International House of Japan in Tokyo. The lecture is part of Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem’s US-Japan Creative Artists Progam award. It is on July 2nd at 7pm and it will be simultaneously translated into English. 
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. 

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.”
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! 
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).

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