Mark Goulthorpe (*1963)
Yee Pin Tan (*1962)
Zainie Zainoul (jusqu'en 1996)



Founded in Paris, in 1991, as a research group with an international vocation, dECOI is based not only in Paris, but in London and Kuala Lumpur; it encompasses a broad experimental field which covers designing, installations, architectural projects and theoretical works. These range from Dans l'Ombre de Ledoux "In the Shadow of Ledoux" (1993), a wooden volume which materialises the shadow cast by an architectural work produced by Ledoux, to the Vaisseau de Verre "Glass Vessel" (1991/96), which assaults the roots of modernism by presenting a glass house which is both a screen and a cavern. Recourse to the new technologies, as well as the renewed prestige of numerically-generated organic and decorative shapes Pallas House, Malaysia bring into question the basis of architectural forms. dECOI is currently supervising a design workshops at the London Architectural Association and is working on the design for a number of projects in collaboration with Sir Norman Foster in London.
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DECOi was established in 1991 as a speculative architecture and design practice, eager to develop not only a creative platform of new forms (be they social or aesthetic), but to pursue entirely new possibilities of practice which seemed to be offered in the interstices of rapid technical change.

The rubric DECOI - a sort of enigmatic leitmotiv which identifies whilst maintaining anonymity - itself serves to interrogate the signature-effect, suggesting much lighter and looser modes of practice which are opening. This ability to gather and deploy specialist expertise without compromise has proved not only vital in our technical development, but highly stimulating in our creative thinking. The technical era which is emerging will demand newmodes of practice, and different psychologies of creativity.

DECOi has also operated in a global rather than local context, albeit in order to dicover and celebrate new forms of local particularity. New modes of communication, and the ease of international travel are evidently liberating the profession from its traditional constraint. Our projects, as our team members, are located all over the globe, which we again find stimulating. A recent competition entry was developed between six of us in six different countries, with fascinating consequences.

The range of our projects has also broadened in scope as we play across blurred disciplinary boundaries, developing art works or graphics or virtual environments. But we try to articulate such transitions with precision and continual reference to historic precedent to situate the current paradigm shift in relation to those of the past.

We seek wherever possible to speculate on the latest technical developments which impinge on our field, but try to do this in a non-technical manner. Rather, we ask questions as to the broad cultural effects of technology, and how it influences not only modes of production, but also those of reception. For it is evident that the question of desire for technology in architecture (which seems to us the real point at issue in a period of technical transition) is not simply either that of technical efficiency nor of technical expressivity.

If one can understand that transition, in psychological as well as formal and social terms, then one might begin to 'actualize the virtual' and begin to derive an architecture that redefines and redirects the art-form in the new technical era that is emerging.

Pallas House (with Objectile)

The Pallas House is articulated by two formal gestures : the first is an excavation, languidly carving an entrance court from the steep terrain - a "heavy negative" through which one enters ; the second is then the house itself poised just over the bluff-line as a series of boxes wrapped by a curving and perfored shroud-a light "positive", cut deftly from the air. Caught in the shift of technical paradigm, the eroded monolithic form appears curiously inscrutable, suspended at the moment of transition - the solid / fluid interface. The house follows the tropical precedent of layering filters against solar gain and rainfall, now a "breathing skin", but liberates the formal expression to permit sculptural and sensual forms of seamless wrapping. It marks a sort of implosion of expressivity, the emergence almost of the Asiatic form within the Western technical matrix - a curiously inexpressive and supple relaxing of rational structure.

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Missoni Boutique, Rue du Faubourg St Honoré, Paris, 1996, Project

This showroom in Rue du Faugbourg St Denis in Paris was developed for Missoni, the legendary italian knitwear compagny famous for their hallucinogenic fabrics. The space was highly restrictive and led us to suggest opening up the basement and ramping the entire floor as a slowly descending spiral, a fluid spatial stretching. This slightly dizzying, sweeping gesture was then followed in all the other surfaces which are developed as curved or warped surfaces sliding past each other in sensual play. A destabilizing proprioreceptive space, ( walls become floors become ceilings..) and a delicious organic richness, straining for release. The voluptuous, sheathing interior, generated mathematically as a species of seamless weaving and realizable with the use of numeric command machines, hints at form to come, at volute-tecnics. Its rich tactile undulations we think of as a sort of architectural equivalent of Missoni's vibrant textiles, enigmatic and spontaneous combinations just glimpsed as traces in the gaps...


Ether/I was made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in Geneva. It is part of a series of sculpted projects (Glass Vessel, Ledoux) where "image/surface/object are ambiguous in their status". Ether/I offered an opportunity to experiment with new techniques of creative formal production. It was the negative trace of two dancers in space that was captured by the vide - the trace that cannot be seen by the naked eye, the necessary difference or error or performance. Ether/I embodies a transitional phase from one state to another, "the trace of an absent presence", a surface which is also depth. If dance is an "architecture of disappearance" (H. Gilpin), Ether/I, which is a tribute to the choreographer William Forsythe, goes beyond the reference to the breakdown of the body into graphs, as in the work of Muybridge. Ether/I is developed like a rambling line of aluminium, interweaving its mesh over a length of more than twenty metres, as if a video were reinstating the ghostlike traces of movements. Ether/I thus embodies a threshold, an energetic phase. For dECOI, the issue of representation is taken to a point of liquefaction..

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ECO Taal Environmental Centre, Tagaytay-Taal, Philippines,

ECO Taal was designed as the key element of a complex situated within the crater of the Taal volcano in the Philippines. This project is a response to what seemed to be the implicit challenge of this study: "To develop a form that would disappear into the site, but which would remain clear in the mind--a kind of psychological involution". Set on a steep, wooded slope, the project is like a carapace, a sort of swelling of the surface, giving the slope back its form, which is interrupted by the programme units (lecture and exhibition halls). Akin to an articulated coat of armour, the project is made up of disjointed leaves or slats which are distorted, slide and bend to the contour of the slope, offering a minimal presence in the site by being placed as close as possible to it, like a skin. Inside, the other side of the carapace is streaked with rays of changing light created by the disjointedness of the leaves. As a result, the vaults formed by these leaves are distorted, conveying the surprising experience of a curved space with an unexpected and changeable feel to it.

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Mark Goulthorpe (1963)
1988 - diplômé de l'Université de Liverpool (GB).
Enseignement :
1999/1998 - Université de Kassel, Allemagne.
1996/1994 - The Architectural Association, Londres.

Yee Pin Tan (1962)
Zainie Zainoul (jusqu'en 1996)

1991 - Fondation de l'Agence à Paris ; Royal Academy Award.
1993 - Les Albums de la Jeune Architecture, France ;
1996 - Biennale de Venise, Pavillon Français, Italie ; Architects on the horizon, AD Journal / RIBA, Londres.

Principaux projets et réalisations :
1998 - Luschwitz House, Londres (projet) ; Gateshead Regional Music Centre, Gateshead Tyneside (GB), et Swiss Re Headquarters, Baltic Exchange Site, Londres (2 études techniques et architecturales pour Sir Norman Foster) ;
Hystera Protera, graphisme.
1997 - Balai Taal Retreat, ECO Taal Ecology Center, Tagaytay-Taal, Philippines (projet) ; Yat Lye Showroom, Singapour (projet).
1996 - Pallas House, Kuala Lumpur, Malaisie (projet) ; Missoni Showroom (projet), Paris ; Schlaff Apnia, Scénographie pour "Sleepers Gut" du Ballet de Francfort ; 20 Maisons de vacances, Seremban, Malaisie (projet).
1995 - NARA / TOTO World Architecture Triennale, Nara, Japon (Grand Prix) ; Musée de l'Art Coréen, Los Angeles (concours) ; "Ether / I" (sculpture).
1994 - "La Tour de Glasgow", Glasgow, Ecosse (Lauréat).
1993 - Cour de Justice, Reykjavik, Islande (concours) ;
"Dans l'ombre de Ledoux" (sculpture).
1992 - TOTO World Architecture Triennale, Nara, Japon (Troisième Prix) ; "La plus belle maison du monde", Reggio Emilia, Italie (Second Prix).
1991 - Europan II : concours d'habitations, Rhodes, Grèce (Premier Prix) ;
Centre culturel, Glasgow (Prix spécial) ; "Une autre maison de verre", Shinkenchiku-sha, Tokyo, Japon (Premier prix).

Expositions Récentes :
1998 - "Conférence Any Time", Ankara, Turquie ; "TransArchitectures", Bruxelles, Berlin, New-York, Tokyo ; "Smectic State", Melbourne, Australie.
1995 - Architectural Association, Londres.
1994 - "2020 Architecture Forum", Liverpool.
Bibliographie sélective :
1999 - (à venir) : Exposé, "La Maison, vol. 2", Edit. HYX ; Data-Forms, "CAD in architecture : dECOi architects", Edit. Thames & Hudson ; Architectural Design, "The Contemporary House".
1998 - "Surface Edge - Contemporary Pacific-Rim Architecture", Edit. Thames & Hudson" ; "Paca Catalogue - Public Art Commissions Agency 10-year Book", Edit. PACA ; Monument (juin), Australie.
1997 - ANY (juin), USA.
1996 - A+U (octobre), Japon ; Architectural Design (août) ; Catalogue de la Biennale de Venise - "Le Bloc Fracturé" , Edit. HYX ; World Architecture (mai), Grande-Bretagne ; Blueprint (février), Grande-Bretagne.
1995 - Interstices, Nouvelle-Zélande.
1994 -Techniques & Architectures (octobre), France ; A+W (septembre), Allemagne.
1993 - MODO (octobre), Italie ; d'Architectures (novembre), France ; Techniques & Architectures (août), France.