Skoglund Releases Short Films on Cornell M.Arch. Program

March 7, 2017

A pair of newly released films by well-known Swedish photographer and filmmaker Vincent Skoglund provide a view into two of the core studios that are part of AAP's professional Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) curriculum.

From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary

From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary features Jenny Sabin and Martin Miller's fall 2016 Core Design Studio III, titled Bike + Station: A State-of-the-Art Bicycle Station, Recreation Center, Playing Fields, and Café Bar. The studio focused on relational and ecological design thinking through interpretive, analytical, programmatic, and generative uses of digital media. Students explored the dynamics of form through the program of a bicycle station sited in the historic Navy Yard in Philadelphia. Also featured in the film is work by HANNAH, the firm of Visiting Critic Leslie Lok and Associate Professor Sasa Zivkovic with Cornell Robotic Construction Laboratory; as well as work from Zivkovic's 2016 option studio Villa Additiva and thesis work by Christopher Battaglia (M.Arch. '16).

A Different Way of Thinking

The subject of A Different Way of Thinking is the fall 2016 Core Design Studio V: Expanded Practices Studio titled Bogotá's los Cerros Orientales: Constructing a Sustainable Relationship Between City and Nature, led by Jeremy Foster and Julian Palacio. Expanded practices studios utilize on-site design research and speculation to situate projects within larger social, political, and environmental systems. In the studio featured in the film, students were tasked with developing strategic visions for site interventions along the eastern mountains of Bogotá. Project proposals ranged from looking at the informal communities linked with the university neighborhoods, to surgical interventions in the landscape.

Stockholm-based Skoglund is known for individual works such as The Waste Management Series (2014) and Lightyears (2008), as well as his inspired work for commercial clients such as Urbanears, Nixon, WESC, Burton Snowboards, and Nike.

"Skoglund accepted and approached the project with genuine curiosity," says Caroline O'Donnell, the M.Arch. program director and Edgar A. Tafel assistant professor of architecture "Upon arrival he noted that the studio environment reflected a way of working that would be important, yet not particularly simple, to convey."

"To tell a compelling story about computational design and expanded practices in just a few minutes is a little tricky, but I really like that sort of challenge," Skoglund said. "Diving into the minds of the professors and students is fun and helps me try to distill what is crucial to tell the story."

O'Donnell worked with a small committee at length to decide on both a medium and a filmmaker. "We searched long and hard for more than 18 months to find the perfect person to make these films. We were looking for someone who could properly capture the unique energy and quality of this place," says O'Donnell. "Skoglund has not only accomplished the task satisfactorily, but has exceeded hopes and expectations."

About the M.Arch. Program

The professional master of architecture (M.Arch.) curriculum is underpinned by a sequence of rigorous core design studios which address design fundamentals while allowing each student flexibility to forge an individual path. The design sequence begins with one year of conceptual design at a range of scales from the body to the city. The second year begins with the Computational Design studio, followed by a semester in the AAP NYC space during which the integrative studio engages with New York City-based practices, consultants, and institutions. The third year, back in Ithaca, begins with the Expanded Practices studio which sets the conceptual thinking and making of previous studios next to global issues and non-standard practices. In the second to last semester of the program, students may choose from a robust array of option studios which allows each student to hone his/her own trajectory before entering the final semester, an independent research/design thesis supported by a renowned and committed faculty. In support of the design studios, the M.Arch. curriculum comprises a rich offering of required and elective classes in visual representation, history and theory of architecture, building technology, and professional practice.

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