Studio Sumo is a New York-based architecture firm founded by Yolande Daniels and Sunil Bald in 1997. The studio is inclined towards an innovative design that involves extensive research, material invention, and formal exploration. Located in Long Island City, New York, they have done residential and institutional projects. They have also designed certain celebrated installations and exhibitions in the United States and Japan. They embrace social, physical, and cultural contexts as forces that further lead to shape design. 

1. Mitan – Little Haiti, Miami

Mitan will serve as a prototypical model for culturally specific affordable housing developments. The project is located in the heart of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. The project has a total built-up of 22,000 square feet, which holds 18 apartments divided into two blocks that overlook an elevated interior courtyard. The wider manor block has units up to two or three rooms, whereas the narrow shotgun block has one-bedroom units. The apartment is inspired from the traditional creole residential design, with passive ventilation strategies and extended elevated porches. The use of vibrant colors and the activated social realm of the courtyard highlight the culture of the project.

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Mitan ©www.archpaper.com/
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Mitan ©www.archpaper.com/
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Mitan ©www.archpaper.com/

2. iHouse Dormitory, Togane, Japan

iHouse Dormitory or the International Student Dormitory can accommodate approximately 140 students. It efficiently houses, educates, and integrates a culturally and economically diverse student body. The dormitory has varied shared public spaces and a range of room types. The site is also located on the main road, near the university and rice fields. A 9-meter wide dormitory bar hovers over a communal international center, which projects out to incorporate the landscape. To enter the built form, one has to come through a road with overlooking projecting balconies that serve as a louvered surface. The compressed living spaces with the provision of shared spaces, the walkway, and the balcony system expand to the outdoors.

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iHosue ©www.archdaily.com/
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iHosue ©www.archdaily.com/
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iHosue ©www.archdaily.com/

3. Flip/Flop, Lower Eastside, New York, NY

Flip-Flop is a transformable work/live space that is designed incorporating found objects with custom hardware to create wall-mounted living units that unfold daily to conceal or reveal workspace. Due to the compressed layout, elements were designed as rotating or programmatic to masks, which helps in spatially compartmentalizing the ambiguity of daily life. The transformable units had the ability to detach and disassemble into parts, which could be transported and re-installed in a different site.

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Flip Flop ©www.studiosumo.com
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Flip Flop ©www.studiosumo.com

4. Harlem Duplex, New York, NY

Harlem Duplex is an interior design and roof deck renovation project, with a total carpet area of 1200 square feet and 500 square feet roof area, sited on the top two floors of a long narrow historic Harlem townhouse. The house is narrow and is organized by programmatic consoles, such as entertainment surfaces, an appliance tower, toilet and dressing bars that line the party bars. There is a vertical cut spanning the width of the apartment which compliments the long horizontality right at its midpoint. It frames a new cantilevered steel stair and bridge leading to the bedroom loft and the roof deck.

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Harlem Duplex ©www.architectmagazine.com/
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Harlem Duplex ©www.architectmagazine.com/
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Harlem Duplex ©www.architectmagazine.com/

5. Josai School of Management, Josai University, Saitama-ken, Japan

The program of the project includes classrooms, offices, two auditoria, a media center, and a café. The building is sited on an oddly shaped plot which leads to the formation of three distinct courtyard spaces wrapping in on itself. The steeped site gives the additional advantage to allow passage under, through, and out to the hillside beyond. The school of Management engages the community to encourage exchanges between the department and the rest of the community. Studio Sumo acted as the main design body, including the building, interior, and landscape. The onsite management was handled by the Obayashi Design Department.

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Josai School of Management ©www.archdaily.com/
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Josai School of Management ©www.archdaily.com/
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Josai School of Management ©www.archdaily.com/
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Josai School of Management ©www.archdaily.com/

6. MoCADA, Brooklyn, NY

MoCADA stands for the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan. It is situated in the new BAM cultural district on the street level of a converted laboratory building. The project knits together three primary gestures. The first gesture is the conversion of the existing windows into a signage system for the institution. The second gesture is the conversion of the space into a flexible gallery, with a suspended light plane which runs towards the reception area. The third is a spatial map that charts the various flows and locales of the African Diaspora. Thousands of pieces of wood stacked together are used to delineate the reception area into different time zones. Demarcations are done on the map to identify the important cities to the Diaspora, while other distinctions are made on the map to define countries and landmasses using the continuous material field.

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MoCADA ©www.archleague.org/
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MoCADA ©www.nytimes.com/
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MoCADA ©www.coenprojekts.com/

7. Info/Info, Josai International University, Chiba-ken, Japan

Info- Info was proposed by the Studio at the end of the University Campus of Josai University. These were a set of two campus information pavilions situated 1 km apart, designed to serve groups, students, and visitors. The pavilions were designed considering the groups using different modes of transport to reach the campus. The small pavilion had an area of 1500 square feet and was located near the train station. It had a prominent roof garden inviting students to walk up from the sidewalk. The larger pavilion spread over 4500 square feet on the main town thoroughfare. It had a drive-thru booth and a prominent vertical façade that announces the University’s presence to the people passing by.

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Info Info ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Info Info ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Info Info ©www.studiosumo.com/

8. Mizuta Museum of Art, Sakado, Japan

The Mizuta Museum of Art exhibits works from a valuable collection of Ukiyo-e, traditional Japanese woodcuts, as well as the contemporary works, and accomplishments of the school and community. The museum has three different galleries with varied spatial characteristics, from highly controlled blacked-out space to open the glass-enclosed box. A cast-in-place concrete box is sheltered from the sun with the help of pre-cast L-shaped pieces assembled together. The space between the box and the pre-cast screens serve as ramps for visitors and service access. It also creates a thermal buffer for the gallery. The building is surrounded by 17 Japanese elms and cherry trees, which further steps into an outdoor patio that flanks the hovering box.

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Mizuta Museum of Art ©www.archdaily.com/
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Mizuta Museum of Art ©www.archdaily.com/
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Mizuta Museum of Art ©www.archdaily.com/

9. Hydromall, Scottsdale, Arizona

Hydromill is a proposal which re-imagines an obsolete strip mall in Scottsdale, Arizona through two inversions. Small retail pavilions are placed in the parking lot while using the strip buildings for covered parking. The idea was to recall the lively atmosphere of the farmer’s market and the use of smaller units will attract small local businesses rather than larger chains. The second inversion was to use the mall’s heat producing asphalt pads as a giant evaporating pad. Apart from shading the retail area, this pad utilizes relatively low-tech evaporative cool strategies of swamp coolers to cool the retail areas. The misting system is used to cool the covered outdoor areas. These utility lines delineate roof paths through plots for cultivating indigenous plant species.

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Hydromall ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Hydromall ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Hydromall ©www.studiosumo.com/

10. Teatro B32, São Paulo, Brazil

The theatre, sited above the office tower will be used as a theatre only for 20% of the time and a corporate event/exhibit space for the remaining 80%. The overall structure remains as an urban building. Thus, the main hall was proposed to transform from an open flat-floor space for events to closed sloped floor space for performances. A series of terraces are unraveled using a box inside a box model. These terraces flank lobby, café, and restaurant, and ticketing space. At the same time, these terraces create multiple orientations for the building to address the tower, the plaza, auto drop-off, and a small pedestrian road.

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Teatro B32 ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Teatro B32 ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Teatro B32 ©www.studiosumo.com/

11. Josai School of Media + Fossil Museum, Tokyo, Japan

The proposal was to design a building that is situated on an L-shaped in central Tokyo. The university classroom building will help in creating an identity for an urban campus of disparate buildings. The strategy was to create one building that seemed as if three built forms were placed beside each other, aligning the scale of each small tower with the adjacent site, to give the essence of a campus. A green public path would cut the project and connect two streets down a slope. Aligning to this path would be a fossil museum, conceptually placed on the descent down the hill as an interpretation of descent back in time. This was juxtaposed with high-tech, studio-based spaces of learning. The built form was cladded with a breathable and varied set of aluminium panels.

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Josai School of Media ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Josai School of Media ©www.studiosumo.com/

12. Art Basel, Miami Beach Oceanfront Proposal

It is an installation proposed for a four-day eventscape commissioned by CREATIVE TIME for Miami Beach Oceanfront 2010 to amuse the attendees. The proposal considers two processes of collection and dispersal – the importation of art, galleries, collectors, and revealers. The other collection is the importation of sand to supplement Miami’s beaches. The use of recyclable shoreline materials used proposed to briefly make a space and disperse in recycled afterlives to reduce the environmental impact on the beach. The cabanas and the slump pits were complimentarily keyed to each other by positioning and structure as they are characterized as flexible nodes, which will further help in facilitating event program overlaps and delays.

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Art Basel ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Art Basel ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Art Basel ©www.studiosumo.com/

13. Restbox, Gwangju, South Korea

Studio SUMO designed a 2.5m x 2.5m x 2.5m minimal shelter space for Korea’s famous Soswaewon garden, as a part of the 2009 Gwangju Design Biennale. The design was inspired from an ancient map that described the park through 48 verses. These verses were then translated and transferred onto a structure of dowels and flexible silicon rubber bands. The rest box imitates and blends with the surrounding bamboo flora and provides a membrane responsive to the weight of the body that can be occupied for a moment of contemplation.

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Rest Box ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Rest Box ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Rest Box ©www.studiosumo.com/

14. PuriGaind House

The Puri-Gaind house is an extension project with the addition of 1500 square feet to an existing 1000 square feet on a narrow site that funnels views to the pond through a screen of deciduous trees. The client desired to build a house that is larger yet attached to the original house. The new extension was a separate 1 BR house with a garage. The existing house would be redefined as a guest house. The idea was to design a semi-retirement space. The incorporation of both work and leisure lead to a design of passages and views, which could easily background in their daily routine while giving the opportunity to break through them.

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PuriGaind House ©www.studiosumo.com/
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PuriGaind House ©www.studiosumo.com/

15. Sandbag Sukkah

Competition project – The proposal, as the name suggests, is for making a sheltering space using sand which can easily be dispersed after the seven days of Sukkot. Here, the sand is used for both the structure and for play. The colorful sandbags of the two sidewalls enhance the joyful atmosphere and to make a sand-e-lier as a centerpiece. The shelter is a direct interpretation of Sukkot and its live nature. The sand-e-lier is inspired by the night sky, menorah, and chandeliers, where multiple points of light have historically formed spiritual and celebratory centerpieces. These sand-e-liers are worked in multiples of seven, where the number seven comes from the seven-point of the menorah and the seven days of Sukkot.

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Sandbag Sukkah ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Sandbag Sukkah ©www.studiosumo.com/
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Sandbag Sukkah ©www.studiosumo.com/
Author

Rachita is an Architect who has a keen interest in parametric design. She is passionate about travel and writing and believes that the world is made up of different stories, with both buildings and the people living within them. She desires to leave an impact through her design and stories.

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