New Events Series Take Architecture Out of the Classroom

A group of people in a large, open indoor space listening to a presenter
Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular speaks with Visiting Critic Leslie Lok during a session of The Living Room. William Staffeld / AAP
Two men seated in front of a small audience reflected in a mirrored surface
On The Steps: The Making of Practice presented architect Chad Oppenheim (B.Arch. '94), at right, in conversation with Associate Professor Val Warke. William Staffeld / AAP
Two men giving a talk, seated in front of two LCD projectors
In "Darlings in the Living Room" Clark Thenhaus, right, discussed disciplinary "obsessions" with Associate Professor Sasa Zivkovic, left. William Staffeld / AAP
Two mean seated in front of a mirrored wall
in the On the Steps series, Associate Professor Sasa Zivkovic, left, and Visiting Associate Professor Saša Begović, right, discuss "The Making of Practice." William Staffeld / AAP
January 29, 2018

The Living Room and On the Steps, two new series initiated in the fall semester, expanded on concepts in architecture and professional development with guest speakers and lively debate.

The Living Room

The Living Room, an AAP student-led organization, hosted three separate sessions intended to prompt critical discussion about architecture today. During each of the informal sessions, invited guests and a member of the Cornell community discussed the state of the discipline, offering counter perspectives on a particular subject.

The three sessions featured Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular and Visiting Critic Leslie Lok, who discussed the design of architecture, computational technology, digital fabrication, and data visualization; Clark Thenhaus, founding director of the design and research office Endemic, and Associate Professor Sasa Zivkovic, who explored the difference between disciplinary "obsessions" and material, as well as technological experimentation in 3D printing; and Peggy Deamer of Deamer Architects, with Assistant Professor Aleksandr Mergold, who debated what it means to be a "professional" architect today. The events were held on the L. P. Kwee Studios' wood floor, which was set up as a "living room" where the guests had their discussion and mingled with students afterward.

On the Steps

In the new series On the Steps, the Department of Architecture and AAP Connect hosted four separate events on the topics "The Making of Practice" and "The Making of Discourse." The events were held in the Stepped Auditorium in the L. P. Kwee Studios.

The Making of Practice events hosted by AAP Connect featured Assistant Professor Sasa Zivkovic and Visiting Associate Professor Saša Begović, founding partner and principal architect of 3LHD architects; Richard Meier Assistant Professor of Architecture Luben Dimcheff and Fernando Tabuenca, cofounder of Tabuenca & Leache, Arquitectos of Pamplona, Spain; and Associate Professor Val Warke with Chad Oppenheim (B.Arch. '94), founder of Oppenheim Architecture + Design. The talks focused on going beyond finding jobs and internships to building a practice.

The "Making of Discourse" session featured Ph.D. in history of architecture and urban development student Athanasiou Geolas, who spoke about his reinterpretation of Robin Evans's essay, "Translations from Drawing to Building."

In addition to the guest sessions, an exhibition of work from The Living Room was displayed in the East Sibley Exhibition Hallway in October.

Spring Semester

Both The Living Room and On the Steps series will continue in the spring. Planned guests for On the Steps include Débora Mesa of Ensamble Studio with Edgar A. Tafel Associate Professor Caroline O'Donnell, architecture; Toshiko Mori of Toshiko Mori Architect and Dasha Khapalova, visiting critic in architecture; and Amanda Williams (B.Arch. '97) of aw|studio with Andrea Simitch, Richard Meier Chair of the Department of Architecture.