RUSSELL THOMSEN AND ERIC KAHN // DRIVEN BY DILEMMA
December 5, 2012 at 7 p.m. - NewSchool Auditorium
About Russell and Eric: Eric A. Kahn and Russell N. Thomsen established their architectural firm in Los Angeles, California in 1988 with a series of theoretical projects and texts about urban and architectural speculations. They worked in parallel on a series of realized architectural projects including the Brix Restaurant in Marina Del Rey, a series of private residences in Los Angeles and New York, and the award winning Y-House in Tokyo, Japan. In 2008, the office began working on a wider spectrum of projects, including gallery installations in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
About the Lecture: Our interest seems to be in the intersection between what came out of twenty years of talking primarily to each other, to ourselves and to architecture, and being confronted with the circumstances of a particular moment. That’s how the dilemma becomes productive; it places the architect in a space where (almost) irreconcilable forces compete for attention. There’s a productive friction where our internal logics, formal interests and expertise intersect with the circumstances of an irrational, contradictory and nuanced world.
CLIVE WILKENSON // THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE LARGE ORGANIZATION
November 14, 2012 at 7 p.m. - NewSchool Auditorium
About Clive: Clive Wilkinson is an architect, designer and strategist; and founder of Clive Wilkinson Architects, based in Los Angeles. Established in 1991, the practice has built up an international reputation with projects for clients such as Google, Nokia, Disney, Macquarie and TBWA/Chiat/Day. While dramatic in its architecture, his design process is primarily focused on the social agenda of buildings, and how people connect with each other.
His work is recognized for its creative adaptation of urbanism concepts into the interior complexity of buildings. Clive Wilkinson was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 2005, honored as a ‘Master of Design’ by Fast Company magazine in 2006, and a ‘Pioneer of Design’ by the IIDA in 2011. The practice has been recognized for its radical workplace and education projects with over 75 design awards and is the recipient of the 2012 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Excellence in Interior Design.
About the Lecture: For large corporations and institutions, the act of building is an opportunity to transition from one organizational form to another. Social and cultural influences on the workplace are pressing for massive change. The lecture will address emerging paradigms, and the sociological forces at play, with examples of how these are interpreted within the architecture and design work of our firm, Clive Wilkinson Architects.
October 24, 2012 at 7 p.m. - NewSchool Auditorium
About Paolo: Paolo Giachi designs retail projects for luxury brands at locations throughout the world, and he teaches interior design and retail design courses at the Domus Academy in Milan.
Giachi has worked with some of the most esteemed brands in the fashion world. His work is described as a mix of architectural risk, innovation and elements of measured balance. Prior to entering the retail design field, Giachi earned a Masters in Architecture at the University of Florence, where he also taught after his graduation. In 1996 he took a position overseeing the design of new retail projects for the Prada Group. He developed 100 new projects for these brands over four years in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, China, Korea and Taiwan. He returned to Italy in 2000 and collaborated with Diego Della Valle on the creation and design of Tod’s and Hogan boutiques around the world. In 2002, Paolo Giachi opened his own independent studio of Architecture in Milan. Giachi also has designed luxury homes.
JOSHUA PRINCE-RAMUS // SLOW ARCHITECTURE
March 2, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. - Hilton San Diego Bayfront
About Joshua: Prince-Ramus is principal of REX, an architecture and design firm based in New York City. He has been described as the “savior of American architecture” by Esquire magazine, has been credited as being one of the five greatest architects under 50 by The Huffington Post and named one of the 20 most influential players in design by Fast Company magazine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with distinction from Yale University in 1991 and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University in 1996.
REX has received numerous accolades, including second prize in the international competition for the new Edvard Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, and has been named finalist in the international competitions for both the new Victoria & Albert Museum in Dundee, Scotland, and the Sitra, Finnish Innovation Fund’s Low2No sustainable development in Helsinki, Finland. The Seattle Central Library, which was completed when the firm was under a different name, was awarded in 2005 the highest honors bestowed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the American Library Association (ALA). In 2010, the Wyly Theatre project also won the top awards conferred by the AIA and ACEC.
About the Lecture: During the lecture at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Prince-Ramus explained the meaning of “slow architecture” and shared examples of projects that reflect this philosophy. “We are at a time when architecture should slow down and let ideas gestate and that means that architecture can actually be doing things,” he said. “It’s not so much about form vs. functionality. Rather, it’s about doing both and doing them a lot and doing them well—and that’s how we should be talking about architecture.” Prince-Ramus said this means “putting the agenda back into architecture.”
He described the process of designing the Seattle Central Library. On that project, his team identified competing notions of what a library should represent: a place of media or social responsibility. They developed a design that didn’t exclude one or the other but took into account the library’s need to evolve over the years according to changing priorities in the media and digital space and its role as a community center.
Prince-Ramus also talked about using this approach in designing the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas. The process resulted in a versatile space that allows the theater to offer a variety of staging options including sections that can merge with and incorporate the outdoor space. “We moved things around that are normally constrained so that the audience could engage with different parts of the building and even the real world during the performance,” he said. “The result is that the theater and its audience have many different opportunities for interaction.”
February 7, 2012 at 7 p.m. - NewSchool Auditorium
About Richard: Louv, a widely acclaimed author of books about the connections between family, nature and community, has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Audubon Medal. Louv’s best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods, resulted in an international movement to reconnect children with nature. The Nature Principle develops another call to action, but aimed at adults.
About the Lecture: Louv, author of The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder, addressed NewSchool of Architecture and Design students and faculty members during a lecture about the importance of designing cities that connect people with nature.
Louv noted that restoring a creek or river is one way to reconnect with nature, and he encouraged the audience to think about other ways to reconnect through architecture and design. “As we restore nature, we restore ourselves,” he said. “We need to start creating nature through the design.”
He also spoke about the importance of designers and architects connecting with the communities they work in and to be more cognizant of the connections between landscape architecture and building-based architecture. Louv commented that designers can benefit from integrating the feedback of community members, such as educators, health workers and parents. While observing that more people worldwide are living in cities, Louv said this provides an opportunity to build a new kind of city where people are connected with nature.
Louv’s lecture also marked the official start of activities leading to a campus-wide initiative scheduled for April 27 called Day of Service in which students and faculty will undertake a community outreach effort.
Photo: Joshua Prince-Ramus