Asymptote Architecture

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Asymptote Architecture is an American architecture practice based in Long Island City, New York.


Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture founded Asymptote Architecture in 1989.[1] The firm began by designing buildings in the United States, subsequently expanding to their international presence. One of their most famous early designs was their winning entry for the Los Angeles Westcoast Gateway Competition. An international jury of designers chose "Steel Cloud" out of more than 150 submissions, but the monument received a mixed reception from Angelenos and wasn't built because of a lack of funding.[2] In 1992, Asymptote was invited by The New York Times to design a hypothetical building for Times Square.[3] Asymptote designed the first large-capacity virtual reality environment for the New York Stock Exchange as well as the construction of the Advanced Floor Operations Center on the trading floor of the Wall Street facility. The project was listed in the AIA Guide to Noteworthy Architecture in New York City.[4]

Asymptote's first project built overseas was the 1996 Universe Theatre in Aarhus, Denmark. The project was awarded the Danish building of the year award by the Architects' Association of Denmark. They also designed the HydraPier Pavilion in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands.[5] Asymptote built flagship stores for several retailers, including Carlos Miele[6] and Alessi.[7][8] More recently, Asymptote has constructed several skyscrapers, such as the 190 Váci Budapest Bank Commercial Towers in Budapest, Hungary, and FCD Yongsan Landmark Tower in Seoul, South Korea.[9] The company also designs buildings for cultural institutions, shipping terminals, and residential buildings.

Critics have described Asymptote's architectural style as "futuristic."[1] Rashid and Couture believe that the spatial form of a building is what drives its architectural meaning. The firm says that its buildings reflect certain attributes of the surrounding environment. For example, the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel has a fluid, curvilinear form, evoking the concept of speed, since Formula One auto races are held underneath the building.[1] 166 Perry Street, a condominium in the West Village neighborhood of New York City, has a rippling glass façade that evokes a waterfall.[10]

Installations & Exhibitions[edit]

In the early years of its practice, Asymptote has produced experimental art installations and exhibition design work involving multi-media technologies such as the Virtual Museum at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City,[11] DOCUMENTA XI in Kassel, Germany, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and the Ministry of Public Works in Madrid, Spain. In 2003, Asymptote held its first extensive solo show, a survey of its work at the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI).[12] Asymptote has also produced design work, brand identities and product design for Alessi Italy, Volkswagen Wolfsberg, Germany and Carlos Miele Brazil. The work of Asymptote is also included in several private and public collections including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Frac Centre in Orléans, France.


The practice’s work has been the subject of three monographs and is widely published internationally in professional journals as well as in the general press.[13]

  • 2010: Asymptote Architecture: Actualizations – AADC Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture, Josh Dannenberg
  • 2009: Architecture & Speed – Arcadata Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture, Josh Dannenberg
  • 2004: Scape_Asymptote Architecture / USA – Damdi Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture
  • 2002: Asymptote: Flux – Phaidon Press Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture
  • 1995: Architecture at the Interval – Rizzoli Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture

Selected Awards[edit]

In 2000, Hani Rashid co-represented the United States at the 7th Venice Architecture Biennale. Four years later, Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture were chosen as the design architects for the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale and were awarded the prestigious Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts in recognition of their exceptional contribution to the progress and merging of art and architecture. Over the span of its existence, Asymptote has been the recipient of several other international awards including the AIA award (2007), the American Architecture Award (2008), the Middle Eastern Architecture Awards (2010) and Le Grand Prix de l’Architecture in Paris (2010).[1]

  • Middle East Architect Awards, Hospitality Project of the Year, The Yas Hotel (2011)
  • Travel + Leisure Design Awards, Best Large Hotel, The Yas Hotel (2010)
  • Grand Prix de l'Architecture, Festival Automobile International (2010)
  • IESNA Illumination Award (2010)
  • Le Grand Prix de l’Architecture, FAI, Paris, The Yas Hotel (2010)
  • American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design (2008)
  • AIA NY Chapter Design Award, Interior Architecture (2007)
  • AIA New York Chapter Design Award, Interior Architecture (2005)
  • Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts (2004)
  • AIA New York Chapter Design Award, Architecture (2002)


  1. ^ a b c Belogolovsky, Vladimir (February 19, 2016). "Interview with Asymptote Architecture: “We Are Spatial Engineers”". ArchDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2016. 
  2. ^ Harvey, Steve (July 10, 2010), "In search of a monument that says 'L.A.'", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 19 December 2016 
  3. ^ Muschamp, Herbert (November 1, 1992). "Architecture View; Time to Reset the Clock in Times Square". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Luscombe, Belinda (8 September 2003). "Building Momentum". Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  5. ^ "Project Portfolio: HydraPier". Architectural Record. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  6. ^ "Entering a Dream Landscape (But, Really, It's a Store)". The New York Times. 12 June 2003. Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  7. ^ "Asymptote 3.0". Metropolis Magazine. Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  8. ^ "Commendable Achievement: Interior Lighting". Architectural Lighting. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  9. ^ "Asymptote’s FCD Yongsan Tower in Seoul". 22 May 2010.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (June 28, 2007), "A Luxury Condo by Arty Architects From the Fringe", The New York Times, retrieved 20 December 2016 
  11. ^ Hales, Linda (Mar 11, 2006). "A Curate-Your-Own Museum Web Site". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. pp. C.02. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  12. ^ "approach the future - the asymptote experience". Archived from the original on 2011-11-13. 
  13. ^ "Publications". Asymptote Architecture. Retrieved 19 December 2016. 

External links[edit]