Frank Barkow

Presentation Abstract

"In the end Barkow Leibinger are bricoleurs as much as they are engineers. ... There is always an element of inspired performance in bricolage. And as the greatest philosophers in German aesthetics tell us, such play (Spiel) is also essential to art; it opens up a realm for an imaginative response to any question. In the end, this is what Berlow Leibinger offer us all: Spielraum, room for play, space for invention." Hal Forster


Frank Barkow studied architecture at Montana State University and the Harvard GSD. He has recently taught at the Royal College of Art in London, the EPFL in Lausanne, Harvard GSD, and University of Wisconsin in conjunction with his firm winning the Marcus Prize for Architecture.

In 1993 Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger founded their practice in Berlin. Their interdisciplinary, discursive attitude allows their work to expand and respond to advancing knowledge and technology. This know-how contributes to various projects including a gatehouse and factory-campus event space in Stuttgart Germany and the TRUTEC Office Building in Seoul. Current research projects have focused on infra light concrete, facade systems, space-frames, and ceramic elements. Recently completed projects include a high-rise, Tour Total, near the Berlin main train station, an apartment and hotel complex in passive house standard in Freiburg, and the Fellows Pavilion, a lightweight glass and steel structure that provides study space for the fellows of the American Academy in Berlin.

Barkow Leibinger’s work has been shown at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008 and 2014, at the Marrakech Biennale 2012 and is included in the permanent collections of MoMA, New York, and the Deutsches Architektur Museum, Frankfurt. They have won three National AIA Honor Awards for Architecture and the prestigious Marcus Prize for Architecture, Milwaukee, recognizing emerging talent in the field for design excellence and innovation, as well a Global Holcim Innovation Award for sustainability. The monograph Spielraum was recently published by Hatje Cantz, with a foreword by Hal Foster, essays by Carson Chan, Sarah Whiting and Brett Steele and a photo essay by Iwan Baan. Other publications include Bricoleur/Bricolage (2013) and An Atlas of Fabrication (2009), both published at AA Publications London.

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Frank Barkow