Lateral Office was founded in 2003 by Lola Sheppard and Mason White. The firm’s work and research privileges architecture as a mutable territory that is formed out of, and responsive to, its environment and history. The work invites readings of Architecture as a by-product of complex networks within ecology and culture. Lateral’s design research exists at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism, and is often situated in marginal or overlooked contexts. The work posits that the role of the architect is not simply problem solver or designer, but cultural, environmental and spatial detective, bringing to light the forces at work within a site-specific climate and geography, and able to look for synergies between issues and opportunities.
Speakers at this year’s annual Holistic Options for Planet Earth Sustainability (HOPES) conference April 4-6 include TED speaker and author Carolyn Steel, Nike, Inc.’s Wilson Smith, MIT designer Neri Oxman, architect Lola Sheppard of Lateral Office, and landscape architect, sociologist, and UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus Randy Hester, among many others. The event is free and open to the public.
HOPES is a student-run forum dedicated to design, sustainability, activism, and ecology begun in 1995. University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts Dean Frances Bronet terms the event “the largest student-run sustainability conference in the world.” The UO Ecological Design Center will host the gathering on the UO campus.