The anecdotal discussion will encompass SO – IL’s nine years of activity and address the pragmatic strategy behind the firm and its fundamental relationship to the material and conceptual aspects of the practice. Order, Edge, Aura are three conceptual themes that encapsulate an attitude towards the design and realization of architecture in a time of increased instability.
SO-IL is an award winning architectural design firm that envisions spaces for culture, learning and innovation. Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu co-founded the firm in 2008 during the height of the economic crisis. Since its beginnings in New York, SO – IL has partaken in the production of buildings, interiors, furniture and landscapes around the world. To achieve this vision, the office uses advanced digital tools in combination with traditional craft, model-making, physical testing, mock-ups and material innovation.
Jing Liu co-founded SO – IL in 2008 with an emphasis on building cultural projects as an indispensable part of urban infrastructure. Liu is actively involved in the office’s interdisciplinary research projects, including the Stillspotting event with the Guggenheim Museum, Pollination at the Chengdu Biennale, and the Spiky series at the China International Architecture Biennial. Her projects include Frieze Art Fair in New York City, Kukje Gallery in Seoul and the CTF Museum in Hong Kong. Through these projects, she has led SO – IL to explore new fabrication methods and to confront the socio-political issues of urban space through mediums outside the conventional architectural platform.
A native of China, Liu received her education in China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, concluding with a Master’s of Architecture from the Tulane School of Architecture in New Orleans. During her time in New Orleans, Liu focused on the social impact of urban renewal projects, specifically in the dislocation of urban low-income housing—a topic she continues to research through her teaching today.
Liu is faculty member at Columbia GSAPP, and advises the Master’s thesis at Parsons The New School of Design. Liu extends her interest in the future of cities by being an active board member at Van Alen Institute, a nonprofit based in New York City. The Institute collaborates with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives, investigating the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow.