Kolatan / Mac Donald studio

| Sulan Kolatan (*1956) | William J. Mac Donald (*1958)



One of the emerging spatial paradigms is that of the network as a system of interrelations between dissipative processes and aggregative structures that shape new spatial patterns and protocols. How does this network logic affect space and its making? Our work focuses in particular on the network model's capacity to facilitate cross-categorical and cross-scalar couplings whereby the initial systems/morphologies are not merely interconnected, but form new hybrid identities. What differentiates this new generation of chimerical hybrids from previous mechanistic ones is the act of transformation. These new systems are not determined and cannot be understood through a logical extension of the initial parts alone. They are hybrid, but nonetheless seamlessly and inextricably continuous. The two specific models of the network and the hybrid that are of interest here, are the "co-citation map", and the "chimera".Co-citation Mapping is a form of electronic indexing and information retrieval. As an index, it works according to a similar principal as any keywork-based library search, listing all work related to the same keyword. And thus revealing non-apparent conceptual connections across categories such as humanities and science for example. Interestingly, the next level of organisation is constructed as a map, a geographic description of relational knowledge. They have no absolute axis. Instead their spatial organization is based on continually becoming hierarchies which are contingent upon frequency of citation and thus subject to change over time."The Chimera" is the proper name given to a mythological monster - the "supreme hybrid" - constituted of part lion, part goat, part snake. The chimerical differs in crucial ways from other forms of hybrid systems such as collage, montage, or the prosthetic. While the latter are also systems in which the diverse parts operate together, these parts never loose their individual identities. We have two primary interests in the chimerical. One has to do with its seeming capability as a concept to help define existing phenomena of fairly complex hybridity in which categorically different systems somehow operate as a single identity. The other, is based on the assumption that the ways in which chimera are constituted and operate hold clues to a transformatively aggregative model of construction/production. That is to say, an aggregation which becomes more than the sum of its parts, and therefore is not reducible to its constituent parts. Thus, the chimerical has the potential to be both an analytical and methodological tool.In combination, the two models offer an opportunity to link dissipative/aggregative operations to transformative ones with the co-citation analog identifying similarities between unrelated sites/structures/programs, and the chimerical analog employing these initial similarities to construct new sites/structures/programs. While existing categories might cease to be useful, the paradigm of the network/chimera has the potential to open up an entire new range of previously inconceivable kinds of structures for which no names exist as of yet.

kolatan/mac donald

kolatan/mac donald


Kolatan/Mac Donald
Resi/Rise (vertical mode)
New York, USA 1999

kolatan/mac donald
kolatan/mac donald

The Resi/Rise is not so much a building as an actual example of "vertical urbanism". Taking up the whole volume offered by New York's "zoning laws", the form of the tower incorporates the site's local restrictions (views, height of adjacent buildings...). Conceptually speaking, it comes across like a matrix of "lots", taking the shape of so many independent pods. The morphology, size, programme, functions, materials, servicing and furnishing of each pod are indeterminate and depend on the options of the users, and on the programmatic scenarios and parameters laid down by the architects. The organization of the pods among themselves carries on the urban analogy. Individual choice and "collective" performance merge in a complex and flexible system linking the parts and the whole together. Inhabitable as soon as the first pod is installed and furnished, the construction of the tower, which is endlessly updated by the vagaries of the property market, by technological developments and by the mobility of the occupants, can never actually be completed. For the tenant, the pod principle actually has less to do with real estate and more with car "leasing".


Six maisons non-standards, 1999

kolatan/mac donald
kolatan/mac donald

Housings constitutes the initial portion of a long-term project that focuses on experimental designs for mass-customized prefabricated housing. These six houses were selected from a series of digitally designed variants. All variants originate from the same "genetic pool". Information for the "genetic pool" was generated from a normative 3 bedroom-2 1/2 bath-colonial house plan as ‘base', and a range of object-products as "targets". Subsequent digital blending operations between "base" and a varying number of "targets" in turn produced a large range of chimerical houses. Housings sets out to explore the question of serial and organic compositeness in architectural design on three parallel tracks. One, in relation to digital processes with their capacity for variable iterations, organic transformation, and cross-referencing. Two, in regards to issues of viability : can a hybrid outperform existing normative types in a particular social, cultural, economic, ecological, geological, and climatic life-context ? And three, vis-à-vis an emerging generation of composite materials and digital production technologies.

kolatan/mac donald kolatan/mac donald


R.House and Garden
Sherman, (Connecticut), U.S.A, 1997-2000 (en cours)

kolatan/mac donald
kolatan/mac donald
kolatan/mac donald

The Raybould House stands on a partly wooded plot of land on which there are several existing structures: a barn, a swimming pool and a traditional "saltbox"-type house, to which this project will be connected. The new house is the outcome of the twofold procedure of "co-citation mapping" and the "chimaera" developed by Kolatan & McDonald. The R .House is seen as a chimaera-like hybrid between the logic of the existing architecture and that of the surrounding landscape. The lines and contours of the site and the irregular outlines of the section inform one another. The features of the land, "co-cited" in the form of the house, are, on the other hand, transformed by the addition of parts of moulds used to build it. The architects have opted for a system of concrete panels on to which a flexible mixture of aluminiumized polyurethane will be cast. Concrete offers the advantage of taking on the role of structure and surface alike. It is malleable, and makes it possible to meet the architectural conditions both technically and formally.


Take 5 on Manhattan (horizontal)
New York, U.S.A, 1997

kolatan/mac donald
kolatan/mac donald

This urban project for the development of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue responded to a competition of ideas, organized in 1997 by the Municipal Art Society, and submitted to ten teams of architects, artists and landscape artists. The proposition made by Kolatan & McDonald, here associated with Erich Schoenenberger, started from an established fact : the roofs of Manhattan form an unused horizontal "layer", a landscape on high, no less, which duplicates the streetscape. The project speculates on the urban potential of this fallow land. Turning their backs on strategies which might repetitively bolster the avenue's linearity, Kolatan & McDonald propose instead a form of network, based on notions of "hybrid identity" and "soft site". "Hybridizing" the identity of Fifth Avenue consists here in creating conditions of exchange and "co-citation" with transversal sites, be they adjacent or otherwise. The "soft sites" describe under-constructed sites in respect to city regulations, which thus offer horizontal expansion potential for this vertical city.


Kolatan / Mac Donald Studio

Sulan Kolatan (1958)
1984 – Columbia University, New York Rheinisch – Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen, Allemagne

William J. Mac Donald (1956)
1982 – Columbia University, New York
Architectural Association, Londres Syracuse University, New York
1988 – Création de Kolatan / Mac Donald Studio


Sulan Kolatan
2000 / 1990 – Columbia University, New York
1994 – Ohio State University, Colombus
1993 – University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphie

William J. Mac Donald
2000 / 1985 – Columbia University, New York
1997 / 93 / 91 – Ohio State University, Colombus
1994 / 1991 – University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphie


Principaux projets et réalisations

2000 – "Gebekse Resort Hotel" Mamarlik, Turquie
1999 – "Resi-Rise Skyscrapper" New York (projet) ; "Massachusetts Customized Housing Proposal" logements
1998 – "Gillon Court" Milford, Massachusetts (en cours)
1997 – "Take Five on Manhattan---Horizontal" (urban design) (projet) ; "Southern New England School of Law" North Darmouth, Massachusetts (en cours) ; "Raybould House" Sherman, Connecticut (en cours) ; "Labowitz Apartment" New York
1996 – "O/K Apartment" artist' residence, New York (réalisé)
1995 – "Yokohama Ocean Liner Terminal" (concours), Japon

Principales publications de Kolatan / Mac Donald Studio

1999 – "Des-Res Architecture" Architectural Design, Londres
1997 – "Recent work (Chimera and co-citations)", "Columbia "D"" Columbia Documents of Architecture and Theory, New York

Bibliographie sélective

2000 – "Housings / Raybould House and Garden" Domus (janv.) Milan
1999 – "Hybrid Space : New Forms in Digital Architecture" Peter Zellner, éditions Thames & Hudson, Londres ; "Millenium : Futures to come" Resi-Rise Skyscrapper, Architectural Record Magazine (déc.) ; "SCI-FI Architecture" Architectural Design ; "Projects : Houses" Global Architecture, Japon
1998 – "kol / mac architecture" Arredamento Mimarlik, Istanbul ; "Farbflut und kunsthoffwellen" Architektur & Wohnen, Hambourg ; "The New York School" Archimade Magazine, Lausanne
1997 – "The Shape Things to come" The New York Times (18 sept.) ; "Furniture into form" Architecture
1996 – "Exciting Manhattanism" Casa Brutus, Tokyo