- April 2, 2015
ON THE GROUND
“She wanted to stage the life that was already there,” said Washington University in St. Louis Associate Professor ZEULER LIMA of Lina Bo Bardi, the subject of his recently published biography, a project 15 years in the making which he shared with the PhD forum. At dinner afterwards he shared a project 1.5 hours in the making: a continuous panorama sketch of the Metro North ride from New York to New Haven. After all, for Lima, “history is a conception of the present.”
As morning light warmly flooded the seventh floor pit, Professor Adjunct TURNER BROOKS and guest reviewer LEVNI SINANOGLU, MFA ’96, evaluated the drawings of twelve bleary-eyed students. Sinanoglu challenged the students to “transform the material–to create more possibilities for meaning.” He suggested that one student attempt to visually capture “the buzz” in the air like the oppressive “pulsing of cicadas” during summer. From the paintings of Henri Michaux and Clyford Still to Paul Auster’s detective novels, The New York Trilogy, Turner and Levni mentioned some 40 artists and authors as precedents in the span of two hours. Their enthusiasm and descriptors — “gauzy… shimmering… flesh-suitcase… Victorian… crackling… preciousness…footness of a foot”—brought a refreshing and uncommon character to the review.
Visiting Assistant Professor TODD REISZ’s seminar, a class divided into three research groups preparing articles on the Iraq Development Board, The Industrial Cities of Saudi Arabia, and The Rahad Irrigation Project in Sudan for publication in the next issue of Portal 9, went investigative over spring break. The Industrial Cities team went to Boston and interviewed a scholar on the topic. The Rahad team got in touch with one of the project’s most significant critics. The Iraq Development Board visited the National Archives in London and uncovered some confidential and secret correspondences between key characters in the narrative.
“You asked me what I like. Well I like places where there are 4 Starbucks within a block from my house, I like to go to the museums, and I can’t live somewhere that doesn’t have an opera. That’s my choice.”
A Tuesday evening panel in the fourth floor pit moderated by Lecturer RYAN SALVATORE with Professor Adjunct ALEX GARVIN, ALEX BARRETT, and BEN BISCHOFF focused on alternative modes of practice: well actually just residential development and real-estate. Acknowledging the difficulty of getting into the business as recent YSOA grads—finding investors, achieving trust with investors, and “doing everything wrong until you get it right”—they advised us to just jump in, even if we lose we have. What do they look for in hires? For Garvin: honesty. For Barrett and Bischoff: admitting what you know and don’t know. Asked about the value of an architectural license for the non practicing architect, Garvin replied: none.
Assistant Professor of Art History CRAIG BUCKLEY’s seminar began with the time-image relationship of Deleuze’s Cinema 2; the idea of the cinema of the brain suggests not one shot after another, but one shot plus another; and, the spectator becomes the “seer.”
QUILIAN RIANO, founder of DSGN AGNC based in Brooklyn, joined the M.E.D. Contemporary Architectural Discourse Colloquium to discuss his work in relation to the colloquium theme, “Minor Architecture.” In his presentation, “Negotiating Polis: Visualize, Organize, Act,” Riano highlighted the social, political, and economic conditions that informed his featured projects, which ranged from game design in Queens, New York, to collective housing experiments in Facatativa, Colombia. Commenting on the arc of his interdisciplinary work, Riano said, “I teach people to use design as an activist tool.” As such, he asserted, “To do political design work is to understand yourself as a precarious worker.” With this, Riano concluded his presentation with a discussion of labor, appealing to the advocacy of The Architecture Lobby. A spirited conversation followed, which prompted Riano to reflect on the role of architecture in social, political, and economic processes: “I don’t believe in utopia,” he said. “I believe in constant revolution.”
“Anything’s possible when you have nothing,” said Graham Foundation Director SARAH HERDA in her Thursday evening lecture. Entitled “A Different Kind of Architect,” Herda’s lecture explained the virtues of scrappy organizations such as Storefront in New York versus the decidedly better endowed, if sometimes less limber, Graham Foundation. The talk culminated with a pitch for this fall’s Chicago Biennial, like Venice’s but free of the theme: “We are taking the stance that everyone is a decision maker.”
Following the lecture, Herda took flak for the Graham’s small, but numerous, grants. Dean ROBERT A.M. STERN commented, “Sarah’s great, but there’s a zero missing,” and Professor Adjunct DEBORAH BERKE asked, “Do you really think that a $10,000 grant is meaningful in 2015?” Herda launched an energetic defense, citing Graham Foundation support lent to audience member and YSOA Director of Exhibitions ALFIE KOETTER’s journal PROJECT.
IRMA BOOM, a prolific Dutch designer and Rem Koolhaas’s long time collaborator and —in his words, “bookmaker”—presented a sample of her work at the Arts Library Special Collections, including a 704-page book measuring 1.5 x 2 x 1 inches, and discussed a range of historic works at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, including Giovanni Balbi’s Catholicon from 1460. Organized by PhD candidate KYLE DUGDALE, advertised around the school with flyers that read “Boom,” and sponsored by Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography and the PhD Dialogue Series, the “Architecture of the Book” workshop invited students to discuss books as design objects and storehouses of information. Among Boom’s many reflections on the importance of books, she agrees with Koolhaas that “a book is a container that tells a story about a building.”
“If I told Richard it was a diptych, he would say it is a diptych” PETER EISENMAN told his seminar after recounting that a fellow member of his New York quintych insisted he had never designed such a thing.
“He did it in 10 seconds, it took us years to get there,” said guest lecturer KEVIN SCHORN of his boss Renzo Piano, as he walked the second year Systems Integration class through the 16,000-odd shop drawings for the new Whitney Museum. The detailing constituted the meat of facade consultant Gartner’s $30 million contract, helped the building hit its $450 million price tag, and will leave the southern end of the Highline with a building akin to a finely crafted – if somewhat oddly proportioned – yacht.
TIM NEWTON, Critic and Shop Manager, told his class THE CHAIR to “provide a daily work plan for the next four weeks,” but once in class the work plans are cast aside. Newton’s exclamations incite terror about the status of certain projects. Materials are discussed. Details are reviewed. Some mockups are tested. AMIR KARIMPOUR (MArch II ‘15) is half finished and worried about the depth of his seat. MEGHAN McALLISTER (MArch I ‘15) tests out some new canvas webbing. STANLEY CHO (MArch I ‘15) reviews the process required to build up layers of fiberglass. Instructor EVAN SABATELLI gives out directions to the best lumber yard around. The clock is ticking…
Under the leadership of Assistant Dean and Professor PEGGY DEAMER and ELAINA BERKOWITZ (MArch I ‘17), the ARCHITECTURE LOBBY gathered to pledge to uphold the integrity and value of architectural work by committing to: 1) Refuse unpaid internships, 2) Negotiate employment contract based on cost of living standards, and 3) Be ready to walk away.
“There is no new spirit, spirit transcends novelty” said LEON KRIER in his Monday night lecture “LE CORBUSIER AFTER LE CORBUSIER.” At the same time an ode to his “first chosen master” and a sustained, assertive, and almost heretical attack on Corbusier’s oeuvre, Krier’s drawings carried the day. Asked by KYLE DUGDALE as to the role of humor? “There is no humor in this – it is dead serious”
If Krier’s critique of Le Corbusier is dead serious then we are left wondering is Krier not revealing also a self critique. On one level his reverence for Corb is evident, the modern heart of each building is untouched, only reclad with a new door location or window treatment. Are we to accept that Krier reveres Corb and makes sensible improvements thus validating classicism? Or is there another level where Krier is the humble decorator making classicism into a surface treatment? Or maybe modern and classical are both on the surface, subordinate to architecture’s anonymous and timeless heart.
Meanwhile in Berlin, as part of the a conference for the Renaissance Society of America, professor DANIEL SHERER lectured on Pirro Ligorio’s Critique of Michelangelo – or more specifically epideictic rhetoric – at Humboldt University.
TYCO copy company was deluged with portfolios printed at the last moment as students prepared to network over wine and martinis with representatives from the 32 firms who came to participate in this spring’s On Campus Recruiting event, organized by Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor Adjunct BIMAL MENDIS and Senior Administrative Assistant ROSALIE BERNARDI.
“You can put any book through a table saw” said LUKE ANDERSON
NOTES from the UNDERGRAD
The sophomores “just came back a little chilled and possibly with frostbite from making sketches for the Berkeley College master’s house portal, and are ready to “learn how to draft in a week,” in Victor’s words” (from Amra).
The juniors were greeted back from Spring Break on Monday with a 1/4″ section model of a precedent study on performance spaces due Wednesday, and the 7th floor pit became a performance space for the 12-hour “play” documenting the production of these performance spaces (spoiler alert: a cloud of chipboard and foam core debris takes over the stage, swallowing actors and audience alike).
The seniors continued working on their cemeteries, delving into their site strategy for the spoil island they are constructing in Biscayne Bay, Florida, to house the cemetery. Important design questions such as, “How hard is it for Grandma to carry Grandpa’s urn across the deck of this boat, and swing it over the stern and into the sea?” and “Do you need bathrooms in a graveyard? What if the priest has an emergency?” were called into consideration.
The sophomores learned how to draft; the juniors drew an enormous collaborative Nolli Map of the New Haven nine square grid; the seniors continued working on their cemeteries, delving into their site strategy for the spoil island they’re constructing in Biscayne Bay, Florida, to house the dead. Important design questions such as, “How hard is it for Grandma to carry Grandpa’s urn across the deck of this boat, swing it over the stern and into the sea?” and “Do you need bathrooms in a graveyard? What if the priest has an emergency?” were called into consideration.