FAR frohn&rojas is a networked architectural design and research practice located in Berlin, Santiago de Chile and Los Angeles. Through its name the office acknowledges both its geographically distributed anatomy as well as the increasingly widened professional scope that is literally shaping its work. With its distributed setup the office seeks to appropriate corporate models of global presence and distribution as its own effective means of production. Yet not a production based on the bottom line, where rapidly outputting projects and cutting costs are the only concerns, but rather by taking these models as a means of establishing a more diversified type of architectural production in which both the inherent contradictions between geographies, as well as the stretching of disciplinary boundaries will let formerly undeterminable links thrive.
The office’s self-reflection upon and awareness of the shaping force of its own anatomy hints at one of the crucial interests being addressed in its work, too, which it refers to as the underlying “deep structures” at play in each new project: the legal and financial constraints, desires, power structures and technological, ecological, material and institutional frameworks that shape the built environment. FAR lets each “building site” become a test bed for the inherent formal pressures of these invisible yet highly present structures, opening the way for invention and play. What happens, for example, when “highly-bred” German building products meet the Chilean labor force; When a Chinese car maker without serious corporate identity wants to present itself along the Pan American highway in South America; When clients love the international style open floor plan and yet at the same time are conditioned to involve their house maids in a hide-and-seek game in front of their guests; When a government discovers education as an internationally tradable product or a lawyer becomes part of the design team as he is the only one to bring along the necessary precision to handle and give form to the legal envelope in a radically beaurocratized building zone? Pressures such as these and more are the primary impetuses that stimulate our design process. FAR is seeking to proactively position its work at this complex crossroads and, alongside design commissions, considers both research projects and the development of building products appropriate strategies to do so. To support this approach, the separate locations work as hubs linking the office to a variety of local specialists both from within architecture as well as other disciplines, trades, companies, cultural institutions and educational/research facilities. This setup guarantees the office FAR MORE input and productive means in the processes shaping our environment.