Young London-based practice achieves successful, research-driven solutions
Director of Space Group Architects, Martin Gruenanger, studied at the School of Graz in Austria and arrived - with the help of a scholarship - in London, where he ended up working for three prestigious practices. His projects went on to win important prizes such as the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects' New City Architecture Award, RIBA awards and others.
Two of his residential projects were also nominated for the Manser Medal. In 2007 he formed Space Group Architects and became a runner-up for the Young Architect of the Year Award 2010.
Gruenanger's Design Manifesto is a declaration of intentions, objectives and opinions giving clarity to his ambitions. From this manifesto, it became evident that there is a key element to his practice's approach: research.
Rather bizarrely Space Group's present works have their roots in the past and in the future. The reason for that is the combined interest in forgotten historical methods and future technologies. This acquired knowledge is then applied to projects. Examples of this include a super-sustainable mixed-use scheme for Benetton in Teheran, where the studies of the ancient technique of rammed earth are key elements to the project.
TATE in Space, a research project, reviews the option of having the first gallery in space. Carbon nanotubes and the introduction of a ‘space elevator' are just two unusual aspects of the design. Recent studies include the feasibility of ‘magnetic architecture' with the aim of producing transformable façade with the help of fluid metal. The theory of the Linear City is also currently being investigated as a possible scenario for sustainable urban growth.
Space Group claim that the key to the success of their architecture is that their approach remains adaptable; there is a constant, unconstrained evolution. In this context, research is essential in the search for ever more sustainable solutions.