JOINING FORCES/ LADIES TEAMS Series: MUF
I don’t know what MUF stands for. It is close enough to the French slang term Meuf, which is a reverted form of Femme. The improper, largely sexist, user-based urban dictionary argues it is a harmless term for vagina.
MUF happens to be an All-Girls Team (insert here the disclaimer about how gender is irrelevant to architecture, etc). There are numerous all-men architecture offices, but the female equivalent is a rarity. This is the 3rd portrait of ladies teams series, after Grafton and Wastelandscape.
MUF is particularly interesting because their practice is radical, generous and socially engaged. I can’t imagine they did not pick the name of their office in full awareness of the term, since it is obviously not an acronym for anything. In fact, there is an interview that clarifies that : “In England muf sound’s a bit, a little … well, provocative.”
Spatial Agency, the web-site and long-term project from Nishat Awan , Tatjana Schneider and Jeremy Till that compiles practices doing architecture in other ways, describes the firm in the following terms: “Founded in London in 1994, muf officially coins itself as ‘a collaborative practice of art and architecture committed to public realm projects’. The practice was set up defiantly and explicitly as an alternative to what the founding members, Liza Fior, Katherine Clarke and Juliet Bidgood, saw as mainstream practice. As the clearest defining set of principles in setting up muf, Liza Fior mentions the ‘bringing together of interesting women’. Feminism is not openly mentioned, yet there is an underlying and often explicit tenet of feminism within their work, in particular the notion of collaborative practice signals a commitment to ‘mutual knowledge’, and the context of the public realm indicates a social (spatial) ambition beyond the fixity of the building as object.”
MUF works “includes urban design, buildings and strategic documents where the processes of planning are left open to include the voices of others”. It is currently leaded by Liza Fior, Alison Crawshaw and Caitlin Elster. MUF were the curators of the British Pavilion in 2010.
Recently, MUF has completed the Pocket Park, a community orchard shortlisted for the Hackney Design Awards. “It is a community-lead initiative that is intended to set the tone for the public realm design of the forthcoming wider regeneration of the adjoining housing estate, and starts to establish a shared ground between the estate and its neighbours.”
Another recently achieved project is Payers Park, ” the centrepiece of the 2014 Folkestone Triennial has opened, transforming a wasteland into a place of vertiginous adventure. ”
A more ancient project is the St Albans pavilion, to house an ancient Roman mosaic.
More infos on the office:
An article of the guardian in 2009.
and in baunetz
and the official page of muf