Michele Saee has been living and working in Los Angeles since 1985, after training in the Morphosis offices. He has, among other projects, decorated restaurants and stores (Ecru Marina Clothing Store, Marina del Rey, 1990) and has also designed individual houses (Meivsahna House, 1990; Saee House,1991); Golzari Guest House (1996). Michele Saee's architecture, always unpredictable and seeming to be in a partially-completed state, views itself as an assembly of floating sculptural shapes and of materials interacting with light which are always connected to the external world. The architecture reveals its layers to be successive envelopes, coming away like undulating surfaces similar to pieces of clothing covering a composite, moving body.
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For Michele Saee, "instances of architecture" or the instance of space are the principal issues to be identified in his search to define an architecture that rejects an imposed order or example. Each building is an example of instance ; it is detailed ; it forms a new singularity, a whole that takes shape according to infinitely renewed links. The world is no longer a closed system whose expansion can be controlled ; thus as neither object nor organizing principle can exist, the architect's work must now face an identity crisis. The architectonic has regained its rights, the architect now organizes links and interactions, and each project only appears as a whole at the last moment, or instant.
Michele Saee's architecture provokes a crisis among organized identified elements - be it a crisis of form, of the notion of scheme, of surface, of dwelling, of the closed singularity of the project, its methods of construction, or its engineering. Saee's architecture also embodies a strong temporal dimension. It responds to a Californian tradition of urgency and shelter, to a culture of assemblage and installation. His architecture is of the "instance,"propelled by the necessityof time. The instance rejects all metaphors of a unilateral founding moment and is instead an open process. It poses long-standing questions about geometry, permanent resolutions to the scheme, the box, the constraints of partitions and configuration, and the return of hyppothetical historical examples both classical and vernacular. It also questions the logic of a project that seeks to differentiate between the language of the architect and that of the engineer, to separate the architectural concept from the technical world.
Michele Saee teaches a true architecture of urgency, an immediate architecture that does not distinguish between the idea and the building. It is an architecture where "instancing" has a generic functin : The capacity to mobilize the symbolic, practical, social, and technical aspects of a project to create an exemplarity, original built prototype that reinvents the medium and its syntax.(...)
For Saee, building remains an open process and signifies a template, a possibility, a pattern that must recombine for each project. The recombinednelements establish a unique order in which space is imminent, where it is "instanced." As Michele Saee would say, "the building is a template".


TURKU LIBRARY,Turku, Finland, 1998


The nature of any library is to collect the records of a civilization's cultural lineage. Similarly the building structure accommodates and structures the present as well as future programmatic necessities. The dynamic movements of a series of folding floor plates create the potential for specific programmatic elements as they rise from the ground-plane and take form and position in functional relation to a bridging element. Employing the living crafts of the city this bridge is a helical ramp which spirals upward forming a connective tissue between the flat cityscape of Turku and new atrium space below, and the programmatic elements of the library suspended above.A composition of transparencies combined with a vocabulary of shifting and tilting upper volumes weaves a delicate filigree of forms which shelter and enclose the atrium. The atrium acts as a nucleus, the library's main gathering point and a contiguous feature of the urban cityscape.

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LT. PETROSINO PARK, New York, U.S.A., Competition 1996

Buried in a dense urban district of New York City, the existing Petrosino Park is a "slice" of nature the city has captured and literally maintains a hold of. It is an event generated by the urban rules of planning. In the Saee's proposal, there are no defined pathways, admist the steel frame forms coated in a seamless rubber roofing, one invents the path as they move about and over the structures--just as the path of least resistance generates a hiking trail by its recognition and reuse. Rather than telling us where to sit, where to walk, it becomes a place different to each who encounter it by not providing defined elements that construct its functionality--here is natures impartiality--yet, at the same time it imposes its will on us and requires us to change our ideas of how we use the city. Petrosino Park explores a combination of natural form and urban logic--it is a new line within the city.

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GOLZARI HOUSE, Instances of Space, Westlake, U.S.A., 1996

The Golzari guest house did not look to the outside for its order, but within. It was reasoned that these ordering systems that we attach to the world around us could be tapped and processed at their core, not after they had been cut and pasted to the environment.
The space is both inside and outside. The boundaries were blurred to create a place that existed in harmony and respect of each. Golzari relies on our recognition of inside and outside absoluteness to exist within the two. There is no hierarchy within the space, just as when you rub your left hand with the right they are one. There is no distinction of sides; they are balanced. It becomes unimportant which is left or right but that they simply are.
It is a process in time. Light is an entity here. It marks the passage of day to night to day, lights and shadows the inhabitants, falls over everything and nothing.

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An initial morphological pursuit can lead not only to the formal unity of building but also the entire relationship to engineering and the mechanistic and positivist understanding of the act of construction. This building first acts as a box a container or a scheme and later on it evolves with the site and generates the program which is intended to serve and respond to : a residence and a studio for the sculptor David Lindberg.
Not accepting the single meaning it might communicate, and look into the multi layered complex meaning that the work might need to communicate consciously or unconsciously. Which makes the peeling away of the layers that had separated different surfaces, volumes and functions a continues part of the experience. As if the space reveal itself in a different fashion in a continuous search for the a new meaning.
The conventional reading of the space shall be challenged as the work which is being made inside or outside of the studio space being challenged and made and re-made.

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Michele Saee
1974 / 1981 - Master of Architecture et Doctorat d'Architecture, Florence.
1981 / 1982 - Post-Diplôme Programmatio/Urbanisme, Milan.

1985 - Fonde l'Agence Michele Saee à Los Angeles.
1999 - UCLA extension, Santa Monica ; Public Access Press Committee ; Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles.
Wasc Accreditation Advisory Board ; Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, Los Angeles ; Otis Parsons School of Design, Los Angeles.

Principaux projets et réalisations :

1998 - " City Space Commercial Complex, Ingelwood " California ; " Rodriguez Building " Los Angeles.
1997 - Bibliothèque de Turku, Finlande.
1996 - " Lt. Petrosino Park Redevlopment " New York (concours) ; House IS, Los Angeles ; " Golzari Guest House " Westlake ; " Saee Studio " ; Los Angeles ; " Dance Studio " LA.
1994 - " Proprioception " installation, Floride ; " Art Works for Children " Installation, Los Angeles ; " acks House " Bel Air ; " Zone Night Club " Arizona.
1993 - " Arc-Angeli Cafe " Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles.
1992 - " Atwater Tea and Coffe House " Atwater ; " Angeli Restaurant in the Rodeo Collection " ; " Cosmetic Dental Clinic " Beverly Hills.
1990 - " Sun House " Fullerton ; " Township House " Grosse Ile (concours) ; " Meivsahna House " LA ; " Piazzale Roma " Biennale de Venise (concours) ; " Wall Clock " LA (projet).
1989 - " Ecru Clothing Store " ; " Angeli Mare " Marina del Rey.
1988 - " Jones-Chapman Residence " Brentwood ; " Ecru Clothing Store, phase II " LA.
1987 - " Design Express Warehouse and Furniture Store " ; " Ecru Clothing Store " ; " Capitaine Restaurant " Los Angeles.
1986 - " Trattoria Angeli " ; " Stage and Set Design " Los Angeles.
1985 - " Sprecher House " Pacific Palisades.
Expositions récentes
1997 - " Musée des Beaux-Arts " Orléans ; " Castello di Rivoli " Turin.
1996 - " UCLA - Extension Exhibition Space " LA ; " Centro Cultural de Belem " Lisbonne.
1995 - " Artists/Architects " Villeurbanne, France.
1993 - " Michele Saee : Humain " Galerie Uzzan, Paris ; " Michele Saee : Body, Object, Landscape " Storefront, New York.
Bibliographie sélective de Michele Saee
1997 - " Michele Saee : Buildings + Projects " Rizzoli, New York.
1994 - " World Cities / Los Angeles " Academy Editions, Londres ; " Esperimenti de Architettura " Area (septembre), Italie.
1993 - " Heteropolis " Academy Editions Ernst § Sohn, New York ; " Los Angeles Architecture : The Contemporary Condition " Phaidon Express, Londres.
1991 - " Meivsahna " G.A Houses ; " Sci-Arc " Kenchiku Bunka, Tokyo.
1992 - " The Curvature of Space " Progressive Architecture (septembre).
1990 - " Stressed for Success " L.A Weekly, Los Angeles (février) ; " Le corps en morceaux d'Architecture " (octobre/novembre) ; Architecture Intérieure, Paris ; " Complexity and Contradiction " (mai) ; Blue Print, Londres.
1989 - " Fractured Façade " et " California Beaming " (avril) Designers' Journall, Grande Bretagne ; " Trans Cities Wind : Los Angeles " (été) ; World Interior Design.