In 2007, while traveling overseas to complete projects with then employer A2SO4, Wil D. Marquez became curious about the potential association between academia and practice. Later that year, Marquez became involved with Ball State Universities, Department of Architecture.
Marquez’s immersion as a Research Fellow and Design Studio Adjunct enabled him to test emerging design strategies and theories in Indianapolis and beyond. During his stints in Abu Dhabi, Morocco and Nigeria, Marquez’s involvement with projects ranging from residential developments, to downtown skyscrapers, offered key opportunities to explore global issues and processes in design concepts, Transit Oriented Design, Form Based Codes, and digital fabrication. Each strategy was vitally important in the development, identification and design of cities; regardless of how rotated, twisted, bubbled or greened it appeared to be. For Marquez it was “a wild time to be in architecture and even more exciting to be engaged at multiple levels”.
In early 2008, Ball State’s Department of Architecture hosted a lecture by Argentinian architect Rafael Iglesia. Iglesia’s talk about a different type of architecture resonated with Marquez; architecture beyond the object culture, with honesty about its existence under new conditions and attitudes.
From public housing, to public pavilions, Iglesia described a dynamic significance to architecture that applied to multiple scales. Marquez remembers him calmly stating “…architecture must become more like a verb, than a noun”. Those words reverberated with Marquez and in May, 2008, he visited with Iglesia at his studio in Rosario, Argentina.
By June 2008, Marquez launched a local community campaign, Re-Connect Devington, to further advance the calling for a pivotal shift in the approach to architecture and its formal and aging process. Marquez considered a change beyond conventional issues,and instead argued for changes in attitudes about design, communities, and the Indianapolis culture. To further promote such thinking, “architectureisaverb.com” was purchased by Marquez as a platform by which to deliver the message. The site was simple: a slowly walking silhouette strides across the computer screen towards a structure, winds up and then explodes into what Marquez contends is “the old model”. The word “VERB” is the next image to appear on the screen, accompanied by the proclamation “a design experience…coming soon”
In 2010, the Design Arts Society in Indianapolis sponsored a lecture series on the “Emerging Voices” in design in the Indianapolis area. After several years of lecturing, installation work, traveling and teaching, furniture design and urban development, he was ready to unveil this new experience to the public. It was during this lecture that w/purpose, was introduced; delivering his approach to the City of Indianapolis, its City Market and, more importantly, its urban design future.
“Designing or working w/purpose isn’t often the first concept to enter our minds when we think about architecture, our city, or our future – but, perhaps it should be”, explains Marquez “
w/purpose represents a new reality and expands an area of design that aligns itself with the public. He continues, “Imagine all the places in our cities that citizens occupy where you haven’t a clue if they are worth anything. My firm will take these places seriously. Our focus is figuring out how spaces like that work even if it just a parking concept or re-purposed barn wood. It’s often here where good design intelligence can make a huge difference.”
At w/purpose we are vehement believers that all design, regardless of scale, should begin with the question “What is its purpose…?”