On the Ground
November 5, 2015
Contributions from ERIC PETERSON, NICOLAS KEMPER, JOHN KLEINSCHMIDT, ANDREW STERNAD, ELAINA BERKOWITZ, JACQUELINE HALL, GEORGIA KENNEDY, MISHA SEMENOV, TIM ALTENHOF, EDWARD WANG, and DAVID KEMPER
“It’s the Temple of Karnak!” exclaimed TURNER BROOKS (‘65, M.Arch ‘70) after seeing the impressive field of columns supporting an abandoned grain elevator in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Sitting in the middle of the senior undergraduate studio’s next project site, the grain elevator is neighbored by the SS Loujaine, a bus depot, and an original Ellis Island Ferry.
ERIC PETERSON (MED ‘14) and lecturer MARTA CALDEIRA partook in the Wohnungsfrage Academy (or ‘the Housing Question’) at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. The Academy, coinciding with an exhibit, explored the infrastructures — from global finance to design typologies — behind the global “housing system.” The weeklong event featured a particularly heated where attendees debated whether architects’ proposals to address the refugee housing crisis were legitimate or merely self-serving. Workshop convener and Palestinian architect SANDI HILAL argued architects must take an ethical position: “there is no such thing as neutrality; neutrality is complicity.”
“Ultimately, architects give form,” conceded MICHAEL MANFREDI in reply to a question about the intense practical justifications for the forms he presented in a lecture with MARION WEISS (M.Arch ‘84), his wife and partner, both Eero Saarinen Visiting Professors this semester. Earlier, of their Novartis campus, “Peter Eisenman hates this elevation, so we thought we would share it.”
A facebook bout unfolded between the Dutch critic WOUTER VANSTIPHOUT, PATRIK SCHUMACHER, and countryman BART LOOTSMA, who alleged that parametricism “is annoying so many people that they start to step out from all possible technological innovations in architecture and urbanism.” S. replied, “Bart, that’s absurd … We all want the same in the end: understand how architecture can make a progressive difference.”
In a facebook bout over the recent book of Dutch planner and architectural historian WOUTER VANSTIPHOUT, The Politics of Parametricism, with the book’s target PATRIK SCHUMACHER, the latter wrote that though “architecture is political whether it likes it or not,” it requires “additional communication,” such as politicians, political journalists etc. to have “the original architectural communication enter politics.” V., pleased with S.’s positive attempt to engage in their conversation, responded promptly: “Thanks for your reaction Patrik. I had all but given up on us, but this I can work with.” V.’s countryman, architectural historian BART LOOTSMA, gave up on S. last year, concluding that parametricism “is annoying so many people that they start to step out from all possible technological innovations in architecture and urbanism (and in society as a whole), including the positive opportunities Patrik’s discourse is blocking […].” S., unable to accept such directness, sought to make L. see reason again: “Bart, that’s absurd … reflect about what you are saying here […] So, please lets not escalate hostility. We all want the same in the end: understand how architecture can make a progressive difference.” L. declined with thanks: “Sorry, Patrik Schumacher, there are really more important things for me.”
Ink and Vellum, the undergraduate architecture major’s very own society, met in the Jonathan Edwards dining hall after a two year hiatus. No skulls or bones secrecy here: the group is planning an exhibition of undergraduate work for November 12th and field trips to New Canaan and New York.
An analysis by student group Equality in Design pointed out only 34% of the jurors in 2014’s fall midterms were women, and they advocate for more diverse juries this year. So, the tally for fall 2015? 26%: 24 women of 93 jurors. For advanced studios the number dropped to just 8 of 41.
KEVIN REPP, curator of modern books and manuscripts at the Beinecke Library, and the Postwar Culture Working Group hosted New York-based artist NICOLAS GUAGNINI to lead a discussion of the art historical and political lineage of the Situationists–who resisted institutionalization– in connection to Beinecke’s controversial acquisitions of Situationists’ archives. Guagnini posited that Situationists probed non-Western culture for answers, but the onus is now on contemporary artists to cross cultures without reinforcing colonialism.
DEAN ROBERT A.M. STERN (M.Arch ‘65) walked the fifth floor, the first time he had been observed on that floor in the past three years. Asked about the breach of habit, he replied that he used to walk the studios all the time in the pre-digital era, but now it is too boring: “you can’t see what people are doing.”
At the mention of Durand’s Recueil et parallèle at the DEMETRI PORPHYRIOS advanced studio review, juror and local architect PATRICK PINNELL (M.Arch ‘74) mentioned he had checked the work out in 1972. The last date and name on the call card? 1953, L. KAHN.
10/30: ELIA ZENGHELIS, at the end of his advanced studio’s mid review, thanked the critics for giving his students “such a beating.” DEMETRI PORPHYRIOS, one of those critics, replied, “it was not a beating, it was a handshake. Just a very firm one.”
10/30: At the CAPLES JEFFERSON studio mid review, critic ANDREI HARWELL (M.Arch ‘06) opined that the ground floor program of one student’s affordable housing project looked rather “bougie.” Dean ROBERT A.M. STERN replied, “Bougie? What is that?” Harwell: “Like, bourgeois.” Stern, ironically: “So, you mean the way normal people live?”
A cocktail bar encircled a giant model of the new 57th street pyramidal apartment building, one of many dramatically presented projects at the BJARKE INGELS Group (BIG) office halloween party, advertised as lasting 10pm-4am. SHoP settled for a happy hour.
In Chicago, The Architecture Lobby created (re)Working Architecture, an exhibition concurrent but unaffiliated with the Chicago Biennial. The exhibition invited architects to act out scenes based on the Lobby’s 10 point manifesto in order to present the absurdities of architectural labor (for example, learning during a job interview that the internship you’re seeking is unpaid). Event coordinators included KEEFER DUNN (IIT), MANUEL SHVARTZBERG (GSAPP), QUILIAN RIANO (DSGN AGNC), and ELAINA BERKOWITZ (MArch ‘17). The three day event culminated with a Halloween party.
The First Years visited Bushwick, New York to see the site of their last project of the term: a library on a triangular site at a confluence of a gentrifying area. One student, reacting to an extremely chic warehouse-turned-hipster-coffee-shop: “I feel like we’re not hip enough to be gentrifying this neighborhood.” A hipster with stylish haircut sitting outside: “that’s how I feel all the time, man!”
After an e-mail from Associate Dean JOHN JACOBSON prohibited a YSoA halloween party in Rudolph Hall, said party did not happen, and JOHN KLEINSCHMIDT (M.Arch ‘16) and CHARLES KANE (M.Arch ‘16) did not come to it dressed as a bifurcated diptych based on PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA’s (M.Arch 1462) painting Duke and Duchess of Urbino.
“When modern architecture can do that, then you don’t need post-modernism,” prodded Dean Stern’s former classmate MJ LONG (M.Arch ‘64) to some applause following her lecture in Hastings Hall. Long discussed the visceral qualities of ALVAR AALTO’s Villa Maireau in her talk “Anatomy of a Shed.”