This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Hadighi's Studio for Architecture recognized by Architectural Record

Published: December 18, 2003

Contributing Editor

"Studio for Architecture," the architectural design firm of Mehrdad Hadighi, associate professor of architecture in the School of Architecture and Planning, has been recognized by Architectural Record magazine as one of 10 members of its 2003 "Architectural Vanguard"—"the top young firms reshaping the globe."


In this residential addition and renovation, Hadighi explores the relationship between the existing, nearly disposable vinyl-sided saltbox and a new addition comprising a 75-ton tube of black polished concrete. The work examines how weight, color, structure and permanence can oppose each other.

The announcement was made in December issue of Architectural Record, which for more than 110 years has been considered a publication essential to the profession.

This is the magazine's fourth annual selection of an "architectural vanguard." Editors say that the members of this year's group blur old notions of practice and geography, calling them "talented, provocative and unconfined by geographic borders or traditional practice."

"Instead of having one office in one place, several of this year's firms operate from multiple locations, even though they have few employees," the magazine says.


Hadighi and collaborator Frank Fantauzzi, UB associate professor of architecture, filled a gallery with pallets, carving an ellipsoid-shaped negative space out of them. the architects also created the corresponding positive form in a nearby courtyard. It was later moved to Griffis Sculpture Park and became part of its permanent collection.

"The network, not the centralized headquarters, serves as the operational model," the editors write, "raising the question of whether nationality make any difference in a world where every architect is just a few mouse clicks away from the same publications and we all seem to dress alike."

Hadighi's firm focuses on architectural research and experimentation, residential design and public design projects. He also curates architectural exhibitions for the Burchfield Penny Art Center and co-directs the Center for the Study of Space at UB.

An Iranian-born, American-educated professional, Hadighi was cited by the magazine for "making the disciplined ordering of materials to make theory visible."

He has produced site-specific installations for galleries in Washington, D.C., Buffalo, Ithaca and New York City, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Council on the Creative and Performing Arts. In 1996, a nationally recognized jury sponsored by the Architectural League of New York named Hadighi one of six "Notable Young Architects."

He was a recent semifinalist in Hoboken's 9/11 Memorial Competition, and currently is working on a housing competition in Chile and on "Tall Acres," a residential renovation project in Rochester.

The Tall Acres project is an excellent example of the "theory-made-visible aspect of his practice. It explores the relationship between the nearly disposable, vinyl-sided, saltbox house and a new addition comprising a 72-ton tube of black polished concrete. The work examines how weight, color, structure and permanence can oppose one another.

"Electric River," a 1993 entry for the Gewachtshaus Berlin competition designed with Wolfgang Tschapeller and John Zissovici, used electronics to create a landscape of information and ideas. The design, says Hadighi, "was a tool with which to question the competition's requirement of an exhibition space as the location for a democratic exchange of ideas."

For a recent project in Buffalo's Big Orbit Gallery, he and collaborator Frank Fantauzzi, UB associate professor of architecture, carved out a huge negative space in the gallery using pallets. The corresponding positive form was created in a nearby courtyard and is now part of the permanent of the Griffis Sculptural Park in Ashford Hollow.

Hadighi's work can be seen on the Architectural Record Web site at portfolio/archives/0312Hadaghi.asp.