"Material Feedback" Brings Cornell architecture faculty to Storefront

August 15, 2009

Cornell architecture faculty members joined forces for “Material Feedback,” a conference hosted by Storefront for Art and Architecture on July 31, 2009. The event was to mark the close of Reef, an installation by Joshua Stein, who was a visiting critic in fall 2008, and his design partner, Rob Ley, principal of Urbana.

Assistant Professor Mike Silver and Visiting Lecturer Yanni Loukissas each presented their research alongside eight other practitioners and educators — including Mark Fornes and Skylar Tibits (THEVERYMANY), Peter Macapia (LabDORA), Dwayne Oyler (Oyler Wu Collective), Chris Lasch (Aranda/Lasch), and Axel Schmitzberger from SCI-Arc — to a packed gallery.

Projects focused on digital design, material logic, computational geometry, and fabrication. A panel discussion, moderated by Visiting Assistant Professor Mark Morris, examined the representational, educational, and social implications of such work.

Morris urged the panelists to define the Reef in a critical context beginning with definitions for a model versus a mock-up and offering the term “naturoid” as something crafted to imitate a natural object or process. Panelists discussed the project’s role as a pavilion representing a bundle of contemporary architectural interests including more traditional notions of craft.

Silver outlined the material opportunities such work promised in allied fields. Loukissas examined the sociological impact of emerging technologies in the office space. As beer was served, the event closed with a debate regarding the integration of computation within architecture curriculum.

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