Less is more1
Less is a bore2
More and more…3
Yes is more4
Mess it more
MMXIII LLC (eM eM Thirteen) is a maximalist design office. Specializing in architecture, the research oriented collaborative structures work around various collection lines: MMI, MMII, MMIII, MMIV, MMV, MMVI, ... and so on. Their focus ranges from optical illusions of volume, mathematical experiments, the metamorphosis of two-dimensional material to three-dimensional form, the possibility of endless variation through human interaction, the natural versus the artificial (and “the everything else” that lies in between), emergent textures, degrees of transparency, breeding taxonomies to emergent primitives.
Mara Marcu is Associate Professor of Architecture with tenure at University of Cincinnati (DAAP) in the School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID). Here, she currently coordinates the second semester of the MArch I program, the representation course for the second-year undergraduates, advises MArch thesis projects, and teaches graduate studios and seminars in computation and robotics. She co-established the Architectural Robotics Lab at SAID and received the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in 2017. Echos—book published with Actar in 2018 and edited by her—is the first compendium in the history of the school that documents graduate and undergraduate research at SAID. The book was awarded Top 50 Books and Top 50 Covers in 2018 by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.
Mara graduated magna cum laude from the University of Houston with a Bachelor in Architecture, where she received the Best in Show Design Award for her thesis in 2005. Similarly, she was given the Honor Prize for the same project proposing a new factory typology that prioritizes performative passive cooling methodologies using soft and hardscapes. In 2009 she received her Master in Architecture from Harvard GSD. Her final project was shortlisted for the James Templeton Kelley Prize and proposed a reticular interpretation of traditional MAT-building strategies. Mara was awarded two international scholarships to attend the 2005 Design/Build Ghost Lab with Brian MacKay-Lyons in Nova Scotia-Canada, where she helped build the Shobac Cottages, and the 2010 Master Class in Sydney-Australia with Pritzker Prize Laureate Glenn Murcutt.
Her research work has been published and exhibited widely. Most recently, a project expanding on augmented reality was displayed at the “Time Space Existence” show at Palazzo Bembo, organized with the occasion of the 2018 Venice Biennale. The technological component of her work favors the peculiar and the absurd over the ever-changing architectural style. Central to her interests are questions of representation, processes of making and thinking, emergent taxonomies, urbanism, and pedagogy with a penchant for the flawed, the outcast, the oddly gendered, the ludic and the nostalgic. Currently—through her private practice, MMXIII LLC—Marcu works on a cluster of projects documenting and reinterpreting late Eastern European Modernism. Previously Marcu worked for Rafael Vinoly Architects, BKSK, and Ed Mills and Associates in New York City.
A recipient of the 2011 University of Virginia Fellowship, Mara also taught at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE-Dubai area. In addition to teaching, Mara was invited as guest critic at Georgia Institute of Technology, Virginia Tech, The Ohio State University, the Dynamic Fields Workshop with Zaha Hadid Architects in Bucharest-Romania, and Harvard GSD. In 2015, Mara co-chaired the Annual ACADIA Conference in Cincinnati. She also co-curated the “Computational Ecologies” Exhibit at the Reed Gallery in Cincinnati. Marcu joined the ACADIA Board of Directors and IJAC Editorial Board in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
1. Slogan adopted in 1947 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as a principle for Minimalist architecture.
2. Robert Venturi’s Postmodern response to the Modernist dictum.
3. Rem Koolhaas’ alternative in “More is More. OMA/ Rem Koolhaas - Theorie und Architektur” by Heike Sinning.
4. Bjarke Ingels entitles his book “Yes Is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution” in response to the above.