Tom Wiscombe Architecture is a full service architecture studio with a specialty in cultural and entertainment projects and international practice in general. Tom Wiscombe, AIA, has twenty-five years of experience in the field, with projects ranging from museums, to multiplex cinemas, to brand centers, to sports arenas, in a broad spectrum of countries including Germany, France, China, and the U.S. He has led many projects from competition to completion, overseeing large teams of architects, engineers, and consultants.
The office is committed to building and leading expert international teams in different cultural settings in order to deliver the highest quality projects. We also bring to the table leadership in the latest building technology, energy efficiency, and digital craft. While we are primarily known for our iconic design work, our office is also committed to research into new materials and new methods of construction for the future.
Our office is focused on exploring the fundamentals of architecture through contemporary epistemological and ontological speculation. What exists? How do groups of things exist and how are they related? How do we apprehend things, and where are the limits to our knowledge of the world? We specifically avoid scientism and its promotion of information and knowledge as viable sources or justifications for architecture. We prefer instead mystery and the ability of architecture to allure, vex, and resist consumption.
We consistently discover opportunity in the disciplinary study of mass, interiority, ground, aperture, and surface articulation— in particular, how these architectural elements can be broken apart and set into resistance with one another. We refer to this as the architecture of a flat ontology, where architecture is made of discrete entities that exist equally but differently. This position avoids both classical part-to-whole unities, as well as the generalizing contemporary paradigm of flows, flux, and becoming, in favor of the specificities of the architectural object.
Our method is based on creating models, or specific three-dimensional entities that precede exposure to contingencies of program or site. They are not drawn forth from the world but rather exist as their own worlds; we use the term “models” both in terms of physically constructed entities, and in terms of ways of seeing the universe. Models that most fascinate us are low-resolution, almost ancient, figures such as jacks, crystals, and ziggurats, near-figures, objects inside objects, misfit objects, and loose-fit enclosures. The most fascinating models, and we would argue one of the most fundamental in architecture, are those that contend with the relation of container and contained.
Ground in our work is treated as architecture, not landscape. Our architecture does not fuse with or otherwise disappear into ground, but rather remains discrete from it, using strategies such as hovering, nesting on a hole, or deferring landing via a ground object. Entry, rather than a smooth transition from outside to inside, becomes a strategy for leaping between separate worlds.
Finally, our work attempts to move beyond generalizing building skin logics such as panelization towards specific figuration. Like tattoos on the body, figuration on building skins can simultaneously interact with underlying form, but also deviate from it, creating unexpected scale effects and links between architectural objects. Tectonics have for too long been identified with either material phenomenology on the one hand or material logics on the other. Both are wrong. The beauty of tectonics is when it lies or misbehaves, confounding expectations of material or scale.