Gathering: Ongoing Work by Current Interests
Matthew Au and Mira Henry
Gathering: Ongoing Work by Current Interests is an unfolding portrait of the Los Angeles-based architecture and design practice Current Interests, led by Matthew Au and Mira Henry. Organized around a collection of buildings and material systems developed by Current Interests over the past five years, the book brings together images, drawings, and descriptive reflections to invoke a richly layered set of conversations that ground the duo’s collaborative process. With gathering as a framework, Current Interests argue for a design practice defined by ongoing acts of material construction that contend with the lived conditions of the built environment. Curtains, tables, facades, and urban blocks share space and are equally handled with technical specificity and poetic care. At the book’s center is an immersive visual essay and text by Au and Henry on the practice of collecting and photographing the microhistories of LA’s unknown architectures. Accompanying contributions include an introduction by Mónica Ponce de León, along with timely essays by Sylvia Lavin and Victor J. Jones.
CURRENT INTERESTS is a Los Angeles-based architectural design studio founded by Matthew Au and Mira Henry. As a creative collabora-tion, Current Interests’ built work is grounded in notions of material spe-cificity, color relationships, assembly details, and an engagement in crit-ical cultural thinking. Matthew and Mira are design faculty at Southern California Institute for Architecture and have visiting faculty appointments at Princeton University and Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Matthew’s academic work is deeply influenced by the history of conceptual art practice as he examines the spaces and tools of production, and the lines of communication that connect the worlds of design and building. He holds a Bachelor in Studio Art and Art History from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture.
Mira’s formal research and writing focus on architecture, race, and mater-iality. She is the recipient of the 2019 Architectural League Prize, Henry Adams AIA Award, and Archiprix International Gold Medal. Mira holds a Bachelor in Art History from the University of Chicago and a Master of Architecture from University of California, Los Angeles.
Victor J. Jones is a designer, writer, and cultural activist. His creative and intellectual work stands at the intersection of architecture, comm-unity engagement, and the urban experience. Infrastructure as a social, political, and spatial instru-ment is central to his scholarship, design research, and teaching. Currently Graduate Director and Assistant Professor of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona, Jones has taught design studios and seminars at Tulane University, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California. Jones’s written works include (IN)FORMAL L.A.: The Space of Politics, A Distant Bridge | Un pont à part, and “New Orleans – Ecological Urbanism” in Shaping the City: Studies in History, Theory, and Urban Design. In addition, Jones is design princi-pal of Fièvre + Jones Inc. Projects include Near Noah (2021), Bywater Houses (2015), and Watt House Project Platform (2011). He lives and works in Los Angeles with his partner Alain Fièvre.
Sylvia Lavin is a critic, curator, historian, and theorist whose work explores the limits of architecture across a wide spec-trum of historical periods. She is Professor of Architecture at Princeton University and was Chairperson of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA. Her books include Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernization Effects, Kissing Architecture, and Everything Loose Will Land: 1970s Art and Architecture in Los Angeles. She earned her Ph.D. at the Department of Art and Archaeology at Columbia University, has received numer-ous awards and grants, including from the Getty Research Institute, the Graham Foundation, the AIA, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Center for Architecture. She is currently working on a book about trees as media.
Mónica Ponce de León is professor and dean of Princeton University School of Architecture (SoA) and Founding Principal of the award-winning MPdL Studio. As dean and educator, Ponce de León has spent her career focused on diversifying the profession, linking research, pedagogy and practice, and increasing access to technology. From 2008 to 2015, she served as dean of Taubman College at the University of Michigan; prior to that, she was a professor for over 12 years at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. In recognition of her extraordinary contributions in academia, Ponce de León received ACADIA’s distinguished teaching award in 2018 and the Architectural Record Women in Architecture Award for Educator/Mentor in 2020. Her recent publications include Princeton SoA’s inaugural volumes for both the Women in Design and Architecture Series, Lina Bo Bardi: Material Ideologies (2022), and the Discourse Series on Architecture (2019), Discourse: Authorship, distributed by Princeton University Press. Additionally, she has contributed to Princeton SoA exhibition catalogs for Darell W. Fields’ On Solitude (2021) and Michael Meredith’s 44 Low-Resolution Houses (2018).