New Design With Old Material Technologies

Author: School of Architecture

Mark Foster Gage, B.Arch ’97, Principal of Gage/Clemenceau Architects and Assistant Dean of Yale University School of Architecture, returned to campus in February to discuss “Computation, Aesthetics, and the Contemporary Baroque.” With the explosive development of digital, robotic and material technologies, architects have access to a wealth of new formal languages.

Gage has developed a design aesthetic that takes traditional materials and pushes them into forms of unprecedented complexity. It is an aesthetic, critics have claimed, that at once belies and reflects their traditional backgrounds. Gage argues that the role of computers has been misunderstood in architecture, and urged students to use their classical backgrounds to innovate the uses of contemporary tools and materials.

Gage and his partner, Marc Clemenceau Bailly, B.Arch ’97, received the AIA New York New Practices citation in 2006, were honored at the 2008 New York Young Architects’ Forum and became subjects of a documentary detailing their commission to construct a giant Valentine heart in Times Square. Mark and Marc met as undergraduates in the School of Architecture. After working in different New York architecture firms, they joined forces to collaborate on freelance work, establishing their own firm in 2002.

Drawing on a range of work, Gage demonstrated the sculptural qualities the firm has pioneered. Gage has built liquid-like CNC-milled black walnut walls that seem to undulate. With the aid of laser cutters and new forms of 3-D modeling, Gage has developed new planes for ornamentation, works that defy easy categorization. While pushing students to deploy their classical backgrounds in compelling new ways, Gage also noted, “At Yale we’re desperate for applicants who can draw.”