ON THE GROUND, 04.04-04.15

The Final Countdown

Volume 1, Issue 03
April 16, 2015

Teams RAICHOO (Winny Tan and Xiao Wu, both MArch I ’16) and 2 PLUMS (Yifan Li and Jingwen Li, both MArch II ’16) are winners bracket finalists in the Spring ‘15 Rudolph Open Badminton Tournament; AMERICAN TRASH (Michael Loya and Elizabeth Nadai, both MArch I ’17) and BENJI+JESS ANGEL (Benji Rubenstein, MArch I ’17, and Jessica Angel, MArch I ’16) are losers finalists. Overall finalists were determined after press deadline last night; the match will be played Sunday.

BP House 2014 is now occupied by a pharmacist-turned-landscape designer, met this week by PEARL HO (MArch I ‘16). Though because of a leak she has to retile her bathroom floor, the new occupant loves the house, plans to live in the top unit, and has plantings in mind for the huge front yard.

In a poll among the second years taken as to whether the school should hire ZAHA HADID or FAT for next year’s spring advanced studio, the tally was as follows: No preference: 8, Missing: , ZAHA 9, FAT 34.


MAYA ALEXANDER (MArch I ‘15) spoke about Equality in Design, stating the importance of student action in addressing gender inequity in architecture, joining ELISA ITURBE (MArch I ‘15), who spoke about femininity as performance and applied gender theory to explore tacit biases in the context of studio reviews, in the conference Architecture and Feminism, at Parsons.


“I love PV, but you can’t be Marx & Jesus at the same time,” said Professor in Practice PETER EISENMAN during his seminar Diagrammatic Model, for the benefit of the admitted students staged on the fourth floor pit. The conversation ranged from whether symmetry is an inherently masculine property, to Zizek’s recent demolition of OOO at Princeton, to kit bashing: “How can you start out in studio teaching kit-bashing, if you do not know how to make a kit?”

Vlock Building Project Mid-review (abridged): Team D presented their windowless wonder. To flip or not to flip the clerestory, that is the question for Team F. Team G presented as a strong cohesive unit. Billy Ray Cyrus represented Team H. Team B was complimented for their tight core(s). Team C took note to print bigger boards. Dreamy Team E used magic wands to present. Team A chose not to present a house.

Many of the seventy some admitted students who flooded the school on Thursday were heard to remark that they found Yale surprisingly digital. This impression probably had something to do with their host, Associate Dean MARK FOSTER GAGE.

In her lecture “Lessons from 2 Gardeners,” TATIANA BILBAO, the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor, described her bottom-up approach to architecture and urbanism. In the transformation of Culiacán’s Botanical Garden, she brought the world of art out of the rarefied museum context and seamlessly integrated it into the lifestyles of a public previously unaccustomed to it. In her masterplan for the Pilgrimage Route in Guadalajara, she led an international group of architects (featuring Ai Wei Wei, Alejandro Aravena, and Dellekamp Arquitectos, amongst others) to erect chapels, service stops, and monuments along the well-worn path. Favorite quote? “Our idea is to bring the pyramids back to Spain.”


Last Friday morning, senior administrative assistant RICHARD DEFLUMERI herded students into a seminar room stuffed with Yale’s big names to interview for Perspecta 51. The four teams were FIGURE IT OUT by Jessica Angel, Anthony Gagliardi, Dorian Booth and Pearl Ho, INCORPORATED by Charles Kane, Shuo Susan Wang, and Anne Householder, IMPACT by John Wan, Dima Srouji, Hugo Fenaux and Nicolas Kemper, and REDACTED by Dante Furioso, Samantha Jaff, and Shayari de Silva (all of whom are M.Arch ’16). We will see the last proposal – renamed in the interview MEDIATED – published in 2018.

The second year Systems Integration class, led by critic MARTIN FINIO, toured the 300,000 square foot assembly plant of the curtain wall contractor Permasteelista in Windsor, CT, visiting the “facade boneyard” behind the plant, where full-scale mockups of some of New York’s best-known towers–including the Hearst Tower, 7 World Trade Center, and Frank Gehry’s IAC Building–dotted the yard under a drizzly gray sky.


At the 2015 Ivy League Badminton Championships, held at Columbia University, ANNE MA and WINNY TAN (both MArch ’16) bested Princeton to bring home a third place trophy for the YSOA and the Yale Badminton Team, in New York.

Professor ALAN PLATTUS, Associate Professor Adjunct ED MITCHELL, and ANDREW STERNAD (MArch I ’16) attended a meeting of RBD “U,” an off-shoot of the post-Superstorm Sandy Rebuild by Design program, in Manhattan to share work from the Second Year’s Bridgeport urban design studio with students from UPenn and NYU. To their surprise, a representative of Danish design firm BIG, winner of $335 million of Sandy recovery funds, guided the assembled students in a design exercise to reconsider a trivially unfunded part of the firm’s proposal, in the hopes of garnering even more funding. Rather than dispense free advice, the Yale contingent politely excused itself.


On Sunday, PETER EISENMAN and ALAN PLATTUS attended the memorial service in Princeton for architect and educator MICHAEL GRAVES.


The MEDs submitted their theses.

Over chocolate and strawberries, Art History Associate Professor KISHWAR RIZVI explained to the PhD forum how the mosque acts as an architectural pawn, an argument from her new book, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and mobility in the contemporary Middle East.


Perhaps a first, a member of the Cabinet of the President (of the United States) visited the Yale School of Architecture. Members of Visiting Professors ALAN ORGANSCHI and LISA GRAY’s Fall Studio and Carbon seminar presented the Timber Innovation District and discussed structural timber technologies with TOM VILSACK, former Governor of Iowa and current Secretary of Agriculture. Impressed, Secretary Vilsack suggested that the students find some extremely wealthy people to help them get their projects built.

Associate Professor TURNER BROOKS’ seminar Drawing Projects split this week, with an early-bird special that took advantage of bright morning sun and a night-owl session that took advantage of a chilled bottle of cheap but serviceable Prosecco. MAHDI SABBAGH (MArch I ‘15) presented striking investigations of Rudolph Hall’s hulking mass, self-reflexive corners bordering on the narcissistic, and deep grooves that prompted a discussion of violence and healing in buildings. Brooks suggested that the building has made peace with itself and entered an epoch of ameliorative healing, “so different than in the 60’s, when most of us absolutely hated it.” The class lifted their glasses to the strong tissue of wounds made whole.


CINDI KATZ joined the MED “minor” colloquium to reconnect with her work on social reproduction through the lens of the “minor.” Describing some of the political possibilities of “loose space”, “found space”, and “insurgent space”— docks, stoops and other places not produced for public, collective use, yet used as such anyway, and often in politically subversive ways, she advocated engagement with “countertopographies” and “critical topographies” to reveal the “Derridean other” of capitalism, for instance Krzysztof Wodiczko’s project Homeless Vehicle Project, in which the homeless are made visible by parading down Fifth Ave. with hyper-visible adaptations of shopping carts, to force an engagement with the excluded, yet systemically-linked, ‘less pretty’ side of the Avenue’s fanciness, or Silvia Federici’s Wages for Housework campaign. Critical topographies are meant to “unhide” in order to break capital’s back and yield instrumental practices of collectivization.


Moving closer to their final review on April 22nd, the undergraduate senior studio is teeming with sections through graves, details of urns and circulation diagrams for funerary processions. In an exciting inter-YSoA idea exchange, the studio brainstormed with students taking Keller Easterling’s seminar Launch about cemeteries as a potential business model to repurpose unused pockets of urban spaces. Who knows, some Miami-spoil-island cemeteries may pop up at the Launch presentations.

The junior studio designs a performance space in downtown New Haven, while the sophomore class makes analytic models of villas based on “atmospheric effects,” exploring light, materiality and optics. The analytic models were the latest in a series that includes massing, tectonics, motion and program. The senior studio imagines what would happen if the sophomores got assigned to do an “atmospheric effects” analytic model of their cemeteries.

CORRESPONDENTS: Anna Meloyan, Winny Tan, Pearl Ho, Anne Ma, Elif Erez, Lila Jiang Chen, Lisa Albaugh, Andrew Sternad, Madelynn Ringo, Maya Alexander, John Kleinschmidt, Eric Rogers. Compiled by Nicolas Kemper


The April 9 Issue forgot to list On The Ground Correspondents. They were: John Wan, Charles Kane,  Anna Meloyan, Isaac Southard, Elaina Berkowitz, Andrew Sternad, Jessica Elliott, Jessica Angel, and Tyler Pertman.

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Volume 1, Issue 03
April 16, 2015