Architecture's 2018–19 Visiting Faculty Lead Internationally Recognized Practices and Critical Design Studios
"Each semester, we invite visiting faculty from around the world — all of whom lead critical practices — to the department to guide our students in rigorous inquiry so that what they make reflects their capacity to think deeply around a specific architectural problem or concept," says Andrea Simitch, professor and chair of the Department of Architecture.
Fall 2018 opportunities for architecture students to study with visiting faculty included vastly different studios led by jointly appointed Gensler visiting critics Maria Claudia Clemente and Francesco Isidori, the Robert J. Baird Visiting Critic Manuel Aires Mateus and Visiting Critic Rodolfo Dias, and the Strauch Visiting Critic in Sustainable Design Dorte Mandrup and Visiting Associate Professor Marianne Hansen, among others.
Clemente and Isidori are based in Rome where they founded Labics, an architectural and urban planning practice, in 2002. Labics has won several national and international architectural competitions, including the CDU campus in Milan (2003–04), the Mast in Bologna (2006–13), Città del Sole in Rome (2007–16), a series of residential buildings within the Cascina Merlata masterplan for Milan, and the extension of the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara. Recently, their projects Piazza Fontana in Rozzano, Mast, and Città del Sole have garnered awards including nominations for the Mies van der Rohe Award.
Clemente and Isidori's studio titled Nothing Stops Detroit centered primarily around the students' design of an "Urban Incubator" that addressed critical issues such as low density, low functionality, or low identity, all understood as models for scrutinizing alternative methods of urban regeneration.
"Our experience in the Department of Architecture was very nurturing for us in terms of our own knowledge — both didactic and experiential," said Clemente and Isidori. "One of the most exciting moments of the semester was the field trip to Detroit with the students. We were able to build a common knowledge in a short time as we explored the city, sharing its human richness, variety, and potentialities beyond its financial weakness. This knowledge was the background and research upon which the students' final projects were founded."
Mandrup, the Strauch Visiting Critic in Sustainable Design, was invited to the department from Copenhagen where she is founder and director of her office, Dorte Mandrup. With 25 years of professional experience, she has designed a number of internationally recognized iconic buildings including the Isfjord Center in Ilulissat, Greenland, a project that was also exhibited at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Mandrup is renowned for her artistic talent and expertise in solving complex problems — offering solutions that are playful, innovative, and poetic.
The Strauch Visiting Critic in Sustainable Design was established by Hans (B.Arch. '80) and Roger '78 Strauch to ensure that Cornell Department of Architecture students and faculty are supported in their efforts to advance research and innovative design solutions associated with consequences of global climate change. Mandrup and Hansen developed their studio, Conditions, Architectural Interventions, at a site located in the town of Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, that is positioned between the dynamic Greenland Ice Cap and the fjord of Søndre Strømfjord that connects to the Arctic Ocean. Students visited Kangerlussuaq where they conceived of environmentally sustainable, site-specific interventions that respond to the challenging realities of the Arctic.
Mateus, cofounder and coprincipal of Aires Mateus, a Lisbon-based architecture office that has won several Portuguese national and international awards, led a studio titled To Inhabit. Cotaught with Rodolfo Dias, the studio engaged aspects and atmospheric qualities of home and undertook an eight-day intensive workshop in Lisbon that extended their exploration of a program that Mateus and Dias describe as a question of habitation, or, "the definition of inhabiting, the value of the inhabited space, the ways and the relations with the inhabiting, the relationship between the body and the space, and the space as function and as absolute value."
In addition to maintaining a prolific practice that extends to several partnerships with local studios for international work, Mateus has also held teaching appointments at a number of institutions including Harvard GSD; the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio in Mendrisio, Switzerland; as well as several others in Portugal.
Other fall 2018 visiting critics included Ruben Alcolea, Sarosh Anklesaria, Alejandro Beals and Loreto Lyon, Umberto Ricci Bellardi, Stella Betts (AAP NYC), Dasha Khapalova, Kathrina Kral, Lina Malfona, Giorgio Martocchia (Cornell in Rome), Tom Phiffer and Gabriel Smith (AAP NYC), Danica Selem, and Andreas Tjeldflaat.
Spring 2019 option studio visiting faculty will include Gensler Visiting Critic Saša Begović, who will teach Split 3.0–Urban Editing with Visiting Critic Gesa Buettner. Visiting Critic Sam Chermayeff will explore the topic of universal basic income as it relates to a studio titled The Rural Dream and The New Domestic Landscape with Visiting Critic Danica Selem. Visiting professors Dagur Eggertsson and Sami Rintala will return to the department to teach a studio on the topic of site specificity within the context of large-scale natural landscapes. And, the 2019 Strauch Visiting Critic in Sustainable Design is Philippe Rahm, who will teach The Anthropocene Style with Visiting Critic Sarosh Anklesaria.
By Edith Fikes