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Straight from New York - Only If in the fall edition of FOPA 2022

Ola Kloc
23 of November '22

In anticipation of the Open Architecture Studio Festival, an event accompanying the Open Eyes Economy Summit congress, we present to you the last of the studios we will visit in this edition. We will move all the way across the ocean, to New York, or more precisely to Brooklyn, where Karolina Częczek and Adam Frampton from the Only If studio will be waiting for us.

Broadcast of the meeting will be available on our channels


As part of the autumn edition of the Architecture Open Studios Festival, we will visit offices in: Poznan - on Thursday(November 24 at 13:00) we will take a look at Ultra Architects, on Friday (November 25 at 13:00) we will move to the Sopot headquarters of the MAARTE studio, and on Monday(November 28, a little later, at 15:00) from the Tri-City we will go straight to New York, where we will visit the Only If office.

November 28, 3 pm

The small (as it consists of three to seven people, depending on the number of projects and the number of summer interns) office was established in 2013 thanks to the cooperation of Karolina Częczek(a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at Krakow University of Technology and Yale School of Architecture, today a lecturer at theDepartment of Architecture at Yale University) and Adam Frampton (agraduate of Princeton University, today an adjunct professor at Columbia University), a duo of architects who gained professional experience working at OMA offices in Rotterdam and Hong Kong.

Narrow House

Narrow House

photo: Ivan Baan

Over the years, the architects have taken the global market by storm and won numerous industry awards - the Polish-American duo was included in Domus magazine's list of the 50 best architectural firms (2020) and received the Design Vanguard award for one of the best young studios from around the world from Architectural Record magazine (2022).

In their work, as they emphasize, they deal with issues that combine architectural and urban scale, and their ambition in the design process is to maximize potential and give structure, coherence and identity using simple gestures and forms.

projekt w ramach konkursu na projekty budynków mieszkalnych na kłopotliwych działkach w Nowym Jorku „Big Ideas for Small Lots”

A project within the "Big Ideas for Small Lots" residential design competition on troubled lots in New York City.

© Only If

Are you curious about the origin of the studio's name? What is the work of an architect in the United States like? You will have a chance to hear the answers to your intriguing questions on November 28 (the meeting will be conducted partly in Polish and partly in English), and in the meantime we invite you to a short Q&A-style warm-up!

Ola Kloc
: Where did the name of the studio come from

Karolina Częczek: The name of the office does not celebrate names and does not define the way we design. Only If (Polish for "only if") is a phrase in conditional mode, open-ended in nature, allowing us to add scenarios and redefine our design practice.

Cities Without Ground for M+ Museum

Cities Without Ground for M+ Museum

© Only If

: For us, the studio is...

Karolina:... a place for creative work, discussions with collaborators and other architects. It is also a modeling workshop, a photo studio, an archive of mock-ups and a library of materials.

projection of the studio

floor plan of the studio

© Only If

: What was your first project about?

Karolina: Our first completed project was the interior of an office located in a historic building across from the Empire State Building. The project uses color and material to create a neutral space against which the character of the three companies sharing the office is highlighted. All elements in the wall and ceiling planes are white, while the floor and furniture are black. Also located in the office space are objects designed by us as islands of color and materials - mirrored, movable modules of the fashion showroom, a travertine conference table, or a reception desk made from a single piece of walnut wood. In the project we acted as both architect and coordinator of the subcontractors' work.

interior of the studio interior of the studio

interior of the studio

© Only If

: The dream project is....

Karolina: A public swimming pool. We are currently working on a concept for the renovation of an open brutalist Olympic swimming pool in our neighborhood in Brooklyn. The project and the preceding study of public pools in New York will be part of the New York New Publics exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2023.

: Our favorite design tool is....

Karolina: The computer, because of the precision. Working models, because of the sketchy nature of the spatial form.

interior of the studio

interior of the studio

© Only If

: Does the team have any fixed habits / rituals?

Karolina: We share our office with several other design studios. Every other Friday we all try to stop work early, relax with a small aperitivo and share our experiences in design and realizations. Twice a year we organize a larger meeting to which we invite friends, other architectural offices and clients. Such informal exchange of knowledge and experience give us additional motivation to work.


TheFestival of Open Architectural Studios is an event accompanying the Open Eyes Economy Summit congress.

Partners of the event are:


Thepatron of theevent is theSARP Krakow Branch.

elaboration: Ola Kloc

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