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Upon reviewing the body of his independent work, Lance Hosey discovered something about himself.

"One of the things that has struck me recently that I haven't been fully aware of before," Hosey said, "is the relationship in my work between the individual and the community. I didn't set out to explore that, but I think it came out that way."

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Monticello African-American Burial Ground Memorial
Charlottesville, Virginia, 2004
Hosey won a competition to design this memorial to Monticello’s slaves. The split pillars allude to the tradition of marking graves with stones or broken pottery.

HALO Communication Booth, competition entry
2001
This structure, outfitted with a desklike ledge and a chair, serves some of the same functions as the classic phone booth, separating the user from his immediate environment while connecting him to another.

Blind House
Central Virginia, 2001
Designed as a writer’s retreat, this louvered box satisfies the writer’s need for contemplation, yet the blinds can be opened to allow light in. The house provides working, sleeping, and eating areas.

Pool House
Washington, D.C., 2003
The pool house and its plaza are arranged to be viewed from inside the main house. From there, a low stone bench hides the water. On rainy days, a spout on the pool house empties into a stone cistern.

Hosey cites a writer's retreat he designed as an example. "The client is ambivalent about wanting to be concealed or revealed," he said. "The form ended up being a box with these operable louvers, but the ideas ended up being about a woman who is exposed in a field, but who is also trying to hide herself."

While Hosey does not try to hide himself, the metaphor of the relationship between the individual and the community applies to his career as much as to his work. While he does design and write in his own name and for his own purposes, he maintains a full-time job as an employee of William McDonough + Partners, an environmentally conscious Virginia firm.

"I haven't found that the body of work that I've built up on my own has been enough to coax me away from the enjoyment that I'm experiencing here," Hosey said of his firm. "At the same time, things come along that I want to do myself, and I manage to do it. I've been able to keep one foot in each world, and McDonough has been very supportive."

Hosey does have a desire to think through some architectural ideas on his own. In addition to his design work, he has published several articles in publications that include Metropolis, CRiT, and Architectural Record's online journal, In the Cause of Architecture [Food for thought and Why the future of architecture doesn't need us.] Despite this intellectual bent, however, Hosey thrives off human interaction, including that of his colleagues and his clients.

"I can't imagine designing in a vacuum," Hosey said. "I understand that a lot of architects would prefer that. They say, 'if you would just give me the money and the site and go away, then I'll be happy.' But frankly, I don't know what to do if I don't have something to respond to."

Hosey has written on the topic of whether or not an identifiable architectural style is a good thing, and he has come to the conclusion that something else should probably be more important.

"I would like to believe that the projects are really more about a set of ideas than they are about a particular form, and that form is derived from the circumstances of the project," he told record. "I'm still fairly new at this, and if I get to the point where I can control form, then maybe I can answer the question of style more easily."

Meanwhile, Hosey feels content in his dual professional life as he wrestles with ideas of privacy in public places.

"These aren't completely academic ideas to me," Hosey said. "I'd like to work on building them, but one of the things that kept me from going out on my own is that I couldn't imagine sitting alone in a room by myself all day. I need to have that community around."

By Kevin Lerner

 

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