Innovation has always been part of the DNA of the New York-based studio SHoP Architects .

The five young grads of Columbia University – William Sharples, Coren Sharples, Christopher R. Sharples, Kimberly Holden and Gregg Pasquarelli – have made progress in 20 years of activity, and today they have a staff of 180 talented architects, designers, engineers who work with a pragmatic interdisciplinary approach.

It is no coincidence that in 2014 they were named the ‘Most Innovative Architecture Firm in the World’ thanks to the experimental character of their projects.

Their works scattered around the world stand out for the pursuit of new paths and inventions, both in terms of method and in terms of design tools. One good example is Flotsam&Jetsam, the pavilion created in November for Design Miami, in Florida, which immediately set a record: that of the world’s biggest temporary structures made with 3D printing.

Here are the facts: 1500 square meters of area made in 10 weeks and assembled in just 4 days. The project was done in collaboration with Branch Technology, an American leader in the production of 3D printed structures, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which handled the development of the material – an innovative fiber in biodegradable, sustainable bamboo – with which the components were ‘woven.’

The success of Flotsam&Jetsam with the audience, as well as the interest it stimulated in the world of research, confirmed the innovative force of SHoP, which has focused for years on making architecture with digital design and construction techniques, involving different players and forms of expertise in the ideation process.

The goal is to develop a generation of buildings that take advantage of new modes of construction. The path of 3D printing is the one suggested by the American studio, also leading to the prestigious Design Miami/Visionary Award.

The main virtue of the pavilion built in Florida by SHoP is that it combines the more technological and pragmatic aspects with a formal solution full of poetry, a tribute to Miami and its natural beauty, starting with the sea and its ‘creatures’ (jellyfish, anemones, algae), suggested by the supple silhouette of the pavilion.

Photos Spirit of Space and Robin Hill – Article Laura Ragazzola