FIRM Architecture and Design is an emerging Brooklyn based practice founded by James Khamsi in 2010. Working at the intersection of architecture, urbanism and art, we aim to catalyze public spaces and public networks in cities.
Public practice Through our work, we aim to transform the status quo of urban development. As urban environments are increasingly being developed through private spaces and interests, design plays a critical role ensuring the public continues to have a voice in fabric of our cities.
We work at a range of scales, in different locations, and for many kinds of clients. Every project is informed by observation, research and analysis. Through this process, we engage the conditions and participants that influence each project and create situation specific designs.
Figures We experiment with material, structure and pattern to bring strong figures to the city. Figuration and pattern foster visual and cognitive engagement with the public, and to that end we blend tectonic and graphic exploration. Playing dialectically with regularity and difference, our projects create a variety of spatial and social experiences within a consistent formal whole.
Collaboration FIRM believes that design is a fundamentally inclusive and collaborative process. Creating vital places within the city isn’t a task for compartmentalized specialists, it is best achieved by cross-disciplinary teams that understand how to combine the social and cultural in a larger ecology. To that end, we have an ongoing collaboration with artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins, and we work regularly with landscape architects and planners with whom we teach and share studio space in Brooklyn. FIRM isn’t a singular organization, but part of a broader collaborative constellation.
Service From the scale of the city to the small detail, we are committed to creating ecologically and socially sustainable projects. As part of our practice, we work with community groups and non-profits on a pro-bono basis to advocate - through design - for the expansion and improvement of public spaces in the city.