WAI Architecture Think Tank is a studio practicing architecture from a panoramic approach. Founded in Brussels at the beginning of the financial crisis of 2008 by Puerto Rican architect, artist, curator, author and theorist Cruz Garcia and French architect, artist, curator, author and poet, Nathalie Frankowski, WAI oscillates between Lincoln, Nebraska; Roanne, France; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Beijing, China. Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski are former Visiting Teaching Fellows at the School of Architecture at Taliesin and current Hyde Chairs of Excellence in Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They are also founding curators of Intelligentsia Gallery, an alternative art space in Beijing.
Deeply interested in asking critical questions about architecture’s symbolic, political, social and environmental imperatives, WAI’s work incorporates diverse media ranging from independent publications, moving images and installations, to curatorial programs and pedagogical projects, to buildings and urban planning. Their shortlisted design for the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) in Moscow, several invited competitions for art institutions in China and the design of art spaces in Beijing aim to redefine the relationship between architecture, exhibition and urban space, while several projects in post-hurricane Puerto Rico search for resilient forms of architecture in the warming tropics. WAI produces manifestoes that question the ideological framework of historical content. These manifestoes have been presented in the form of publications, curatorial projects and exhibitions. Recent publications include the English and Chinese editions of Pure Hardcore Icons: A Manifesto on Pure Form in Architecture (Artifice Books on Architecture, 2013 and China Building and Architecture Press, 2018), the self-published WAIzine What About It? and the children’s book The Story of the Little Girl and The Sun, as well as the upcoming publication Narrative Architecture: A Kynical Manifesto, which was recently awarded a grant from the Graham Foundation.