firm history

  • Founded in 1976, Emilio Ambasz & Associates, Inc. offers a full range of design services, including building design consulting, lighting, landscape, exhibition, graphic and product design. Since its inception, the firm has created memorable images for a distinctive roster of international clients. Their belief in and identification with quality find representative expression in form, performance, added value and strong symbolic content.

    The firm's commissions, executed for corporations, institutions and private developers, are characterized by a rigorous attention to the client's aspirations and needs in conjunction with a sensitive response to the site and local practices. In all its projects, the firm seeks to reconcile the building with nature. This innovative approach to programmatic and emotional challenges, coupled with a strict adherence to schedule and budgetary constraints, has resulted in unique designs that have won its clients national and international awards and acclaim.

    Such projects as the landmark Lucille Halsell Conservatory at the San Antonio Botanical Center, the Phoenix History Museum, the Mycal Sanda Cultural Center, the Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall, the Torino Environment Park and many others, exemplify Emilio Ambasz' distinctive design sensibility. By completely
  • integrating the building and the landscape, the amount of garden space available for public enjoyment far exceeds that of conventional designs. Natural processes are utilized in ways that maximize the efficient use of energy throughout the building while creating enchanting opportunities for the enrichment of peoples' relationship with the natural environment. This unique "green" approach offers great possibilities for such large-scale projects as power stations, railroad terminals, large residential and hotel developments in fragile environmental areas, commercial buildings in restrictive urban settings and other situations where the client needs to overcome difficult legal, planning and community requirements.

    Emilio Ambasz' distinctive design sensibility is exemplified in all of his projects through the complete integration of building and the landscape. This quest of "The Green Over the Gray", or the landscape over the building, has developed over the course of Mr. Ambasz' career into a highly adaptive and sophisticated design product. In each of the firm's designs, the inventive use of natural processes to achieve functional and economic performance goals and the experiential richness of the natural environment, are meshed into a singular design solution. This comprehensive approach underscores the importance of imparting to the public the value of the natural environment and the poetic potential of a building while providing a cost-effective "green" solution to the
  • building's owners. Public authorities, who usually represent one of the most costly factors of a project in terms of long approval procedures, have always favored Ambasz' unique embrace of the existing green landscape - resulting in the expeditious granting of their approval.

    The Lucille Halsell Conservatory makes use of the earth as a container and protector of the plant life, controlling light and heat levels while opening the roof to the sky through dramatic skylights. In the Phoenix History Museum and Mycal Cultural Center, landscape enfolds the building, creating a serene garden park above while naturally protecting the interior from the high temperature and humidity climates. The Torino Environment Park provides its developers with a highly profitable research/industrial park under a verdant landscape for the public to enjoy in an urban area much in need of open space.

    While curator of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1970-1976, Emilio Ambasz designed installations and lighting solutions for many influential and innovative exhibitions. Among them: "Italy: The New Domestic Landscape" in 1972, "The Architecture of Luis Barragan" in 1974 and the "Taxi Project" in 1976. Emilio Ambasz & Associates, Inc. has also designed many museums
  • programmed for highly specific exhibition needs, such as the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, the Phoenix Museum of History in Arizona, a private art gallery in Montana, the Argentine Pavilion at the Venice Biennial, the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, as well as the Glory Art Museum in Taiwan.

    Complementing his experience in exhibition design, Mr. Ambasz has personally developed unique and innovative lighting fixtures which have won innumerable prestigious awards, such as the 1980 IDSA Design Excellence Award for the Logotec spotlight range. In 1987, the Industrial Designer's Society of America presented its Industrial Design Excellence Award for Soffio, a modular lighting system.

    Mr. Ambasz' landscape-cum-building designs include such innovative projects as the San Antonio Botanical Gardens in Texas, Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, Kobe Industrial Park in Japan, Union Station Interior Gardens in Kansas City, Honmoku Pedestrian Bridge and Gardens in Japan, Jardins de l'Amerique Latine Park in France, Rimini Beachfront Development in Italy, La Venta Corporate Office Park in Mexico City, Baron Edmond de Rothschild Memorial at Ramat Hanadiv in Israel, and the Terrace Garden for the Pompidou Center in Paris.