Mission Statement GRAFT
What is graft?
The English word Grafting provokes a variety of meanings and multiple readings. It stands for transplants in the field of medicine, for cheating, but also for hard work.
In the terminology of botany, it describes the grafting of one shoot onto a genetically different host. The positive properties of two genetically different cultures are combined in the new biological hybrid. In agriculture for example a scion is usually grafted onto a root, which is resistant to frost and parasites.
Phylloxera Vastatrix, originated in Northern America, is a parasite that attacks the roots of non-resistent vines. Between 1858 and 1863 it began to spread all over Europe as the native vines were without protection against the imported vine pest. The Occident started to panic, the cultural heritage of wine seemed to be extinguished. The irony of history: by grafting the celebrated, aristocratic scion onto the wild, resistent root of the New World a robust hybrid was created - the loss of the pure in order to create fertility.
What is graft in Architecture?
With botany as a point of departure we can look at graft as a phenomenon in human culture and examine its implications for Architecture.
We live in an age of Neo-Nomads with an increasing necessity for flexibility and the advance of compressed space-time-media relations. The identity of the individual becomes questionable: he is displaced from his original physical context and has to find new roots in the changed media environment through enriching new definitions.
Also the traditional boundaries of the Discipline of Architecture get increasingly questioned, since interdisciplinary and multimedia methods and terminology infiltrate the quest for meaning and essence of Architecture. The mental grafting of disciplines creates a threshold. The traditional architectonic experiences are broadened through the fuzzy boundaries between external references and internal profession.
We can see architecture of new combinations, the crossing of different cultures. The urban spaces of Florence, Rome, and Venice appear in the desert of the United States with the DNA of two-by-four systems, computers create buildings according to the laws of the last Nobel Prize in biology. Unexpected and surprising misunderstandings, global transfers of architectonic beauty, robust crossbreeds - architecture derived out of circumstances, which can only be created through the grafting of different realities.
GRAFT - the label
In January 1998 the label GRAFThas been created by three german architects in Los Angeles: Lars Kruckeberg and Wolfram Putz. GRAFT was joined by Thomas Willemeit in 2001, Gregor Hoheisel in 2004 and Alejandra Lillo in 2007. Today GRAFT has offices in Los Angeles, Berlin and Beijing.
GRAFT was conceived as a ‘Label’ for Architecture, Urban Planning, Design, Music and the “pursuit of happiness”. Since the firm was established, it has been commissioned to design and manage a wide range of projects in multiple disciplines and locations. With the core of the firm’s enterprises gravitating around the field of architecture and the built environment, GRAFT has always maintained an interest in crossing the boundaries between disciplines and “grafting” the creative potentials and methodologies of different realities. This is reflected in the firm’s expansion into the fields of exhibition design and product design, art installations, academic projects and “events” as well as in the variety of project locations in Germany, China, UAE, Russia, Georgia, in the U.S. and Mexico, to name a few. Our collective professional experience encompasses a wide array of building types including Fine Arts, Educational, Institutional, Commercial and Residential facilities. The firm has won numerous international awards. With a staff of talented architectural professionals and administrators, GRAFT has the resources and technology necessary to execute a project from programming to design and through construction, including construction documents, construction administration, and governmental agency review phases. GRAFT has rigorously undertaken an increasing role in programming, master-planning and urban design. Additionally, our firm maintains successful relationships, as needed, with associate architectural and engineering firms and specialty consultants.