We deliberately chose a name that would remind us of both our origins and aspirations as architects. ‘Matter’—from Latin materia, 'material'—in its current usage suggesting something beyond just physical stuff. A reference to the Matterhorn (a nod to Alfred’s Swiss roots), and Herbert Matter (an exemplary information designer). ‘Practice’—from Greek praktikos, ‘concerned with action’—an arguably less self-conscious association with necessary professional service. Practicing also means applying ourselves.
With our clients and collaborators we carefully examine projects parameters—to produce spatial design solutions that are materially rich, unique, and practical.
Co-directed by Sandra Wheeler and Alfred Zollinger, MATTER’s work encompasses architecture, exhibition design, installations, furnishings, and proposals for civic engagement within the public environment.
MATTER has received top honors for exhibition design from the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers, was a finalist of the PS1/MoMa Young Architects Program, and was awarded an Independent Research Project Grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. They are winners of the competitions Gimme Shelter: Urban Shade Structures for the City of Phoenix, Sukkah City, Times Square Alliance Public Art Program, and AIA New Practices New York, a biennial juried selection recognizing up and coming, innovative firms in the city. MATTER’s work has been featured in FRAME, Interior Design, Architectural Record, the New York Times, and the publications Transmaterial 3 and New Exhibition Design 02.
Prior to co-founding MATTER, Sandra Wheeler gained experience designing and building projects—ranging from indie theater sets to corporate campus buildings—for noted architecture and interdisciplinary design offices in United States and Canada, where she grew up.
Originally trained as a precision machinist in his native Switzerland, Alfred Zollinger has extensive practical experience in manufacturing and construction in both Europe and the United States. He is also Associate Professor of Architecture and Interior Design at Parsons, currently directing the MFA ID program, after several years leading the design/build Masters of Architecture studio The Design Workshop.
Both are Registered Architects, and first collided as graduates of the M.Arch studio at Cranbrook Academy of Art.
The work of this practice is collaborative. Current and past MATTER team members are:
Elizabeth Beecherl, Chelsea Crisafulli, Ken Kinoshita, Parker B Lee, Christopher Malloy, Karina Moya, Sean Barbe
John Brandes, Christine Chang, Danae Colomer, Geraldo Danneman, Hannes Decanq, Duff DuFresne, Shawn Faulkner, Paul Freudenburg, Lindsey Jones, Ryan Kahen, Ina Ko, Emily Mak, Bahare Nadjafi, Devin Rutz, Julia Scholzen, Julia Torres, Takuya Toyama, Samuel Weston, Eri Yamagata
And many others who have joined us on specific competition and fabrication teams.