Posts tagged with "Yale School of Architecture":

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Ten thoughts on the future of practice

In February of this year, I gave a short talk to our Yale students about the economy and their employment prospects, suggesting that while all indicators remained strong and jobs were plentiful, it had been quite some time since our last downturn. Having seen several during my career I suggested that they would likely see a recession sometime in theirs, but cast doubt on whether we’d ever see anything as serious as 2008. If only… It’s too early to be making nuanced arguments about the future, as we face down what is undoubtedly going to be a much more serious situation in the second half of 2020. So, here are ten first thoughts about how our profession may be impacted, and potentially transformed, as a result. Choose two or three as prompts to consider the future once the crisis has passed. 1. Economics: While there are mixed reports of how hard a recession might hit the industry, it’s already clear that certain building types, particularly retail and commercial office, will fall off the profession’s radar for several years while overall the AEC sector contracts across the board. Another wave of fierce fee competition, as surviving firms fight for contracts, will ensue. Can some firms fight above the fray? 2. Demographics: If the downturn lasts more than a year, another “lost generation” of students, taking their considerable design and thinking talents into an environment that values “design thinking,” will leave the profession never to return. If the 2008 recession eliminated some of the older Baby Boomers who were unable to grasp technology and keep their firms alive, the last of the Boomers may find themselves with the same fate. But with retirement portfolios largely destroyed, will there be hangers-on? 3. Jobs: New jobs, not many. Firms will trim their excesses and dead weight, and may do some strategic replacement, meaning when the upturn comes there’s a shortage of talent, as firms don’t have the reserves to keep staff despite the very high costs of replacement. Will the talent be there to be hired? Remote work may be a desirable option to improve work-life balance. 4. Technology: The last recession saw the profession’s transition from CAD to BIM. Eleven years later there is a much larger array of tools available: big data, analytics, reality capture, computational design, machine learning (to name a few) and lots of “BuildTech” development. Some practices will embrace these tools to redefine their capabilities; others, like many in 2008, will use new technologies (like BIM) toward very old ends (making better drawings). 5. Practice methods: As the entirety of practice has demonstrated an ability to work digitally and remotely, talent networks for firms will widen beyond locale, and intensified data-based processes and deliverable will (for firms willing to experiment further) open opportunities to create new value through digital service like analytics, digital fabrication, and augmented reality/experience. 6. Practice structure: Most practices moved their work seamlessly out of the office and to their respective homes, showing that a physical office may not be essential to running a firm. A new generation of younger, digitally-facile practices, with workers and talent distributed globally, will emerge to compete with traditional incumbents. They’ll be lithe, flexible, less subject to economic dynamics, and won’t know each other as well. The design version of the “gig” economy may emerge, focused less on full projects, and more on discrete tasks. 7. Construction: Between health concerns, immigration, supply stream instability and pricing pressures, builders will turn strongly to automation on the site and prefabrication off it. The necessary tools and processes require digital infrastructure unsuited to traditional drawing and builders will find it, either from their architects or elsewhere. Government funding of projects may drive digital protocols as a requirement, and the industry would be forced toward standards, finally, as a result. 8. Talent: “Survival of the fittest” suggests that some of the best firms of this decade will emerge from the crucible of the crisis, and today’s students will watch carefully from the academic sidelines, preparing themselves for the new realities of the recovery and demanding from their educators what they think is important to prepare them for the workplace. The survivors will define that talent agenda, which is likely to be a heady mix of technological prowess, ability to collaborate directly and remotely, and flexible work style and technique. 9. Space: Some of the ineffable priorities of design will give way to more epidemiological considerations: how does this space perform in a pandemic? Are occupants more or less healthy? Can it be cleaned? Can it perform, technically, spatially, and aesthetically under new rules of interaction and social distance? 10. The City: Cities have been hardest by COVID-19, calling into question the challenges of proximity and density. If social distancing and “home stay” are regular strategies to manage pandemic, the changing nature of urban space—and the potential revival of the more spacious suburbs—are opportunities for architects to rethink and redefine fundamentals of living. There’s little doubt the post-COVID-19 world will look different—politically, economically and architecturally—than it looked in February. The duration and depth of the downturn will determine the potency of the ideas suggested above. Firm leaders are best prepared when they spend some of their current efforts managing through turbulent times toward that future, whatever it might be. Phil Bernstein, FAIA, is an associate dean and senior lecturer at the Yale School of Architecture and a former vice president at Autodesk. He spent most of his practice career at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. His book Architecture Design Data: Practice Competency in the Era of Computation, was published by Birkhauser in 2018. This article was originally published at the request of the AIA Connecticut.
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New Models: Report on recent student organizing at YSoA

Among students at the Yale School of Architecture (YSoA), associate dean Phil Bernstein is casually referred to as the Prophet, a tribute to his early work on BIM and his general prescience about the state of the industry. In a recent talk about the effect of COVID-19 on the architecture profession, he claimed that moments of crisis in architecture have historically to led “generational shifts,” suggesting the current crisis could “end the reign of the baby boomers” and lead to the establishment of a new normal. In this crisis, there are competing ideas of what this new normal will be. Two dominant visions exist—the business-as-usual perspective, where these events are a hiccup in an otherwise continuous sequence, and the technological positivist perspective, where moving everything online represents a leap forward in the discipline’s evolution. In our response to the present crisis and its effect on our education, YSoA students have organized around another vision: A collective organizing model based on participatory decision-making. Our advocacy for our needs as students is based in mutual support and collaboration with an insistence on equity. If Phil Bernstein is right, and this crisis will affect a generational shift, our collective process is the model for our new normal. Stretching back to the 1960s, YSoA has been regarded as the pluralist architecture school where competing ideas are invited to co-exist. Our initial student survey about the transition to online education and the administration’s handling of COVID-19 exemplified the productive messiness of pluralism. In just a few days, the survey garnered responses from around 70 percent of the student body and provided an essential place for people to reflect on their current condition. At first glance, it seemed like no one agreed on much. Even though almost all respondents said that teleworking would have a negative effect on their education, there was significant divergence as to why, or what the redress might be. Some of the respondents argued for financial compensation:
I will leave school being far more impacted by the knowledge gained by stumbling into unprompted side conversations/debates amongst classmates than I will from listening to a lecture. These invaluable assets have been robbed from us for the second half of the semester. We should receive some type of compensation for an extremely negatively altered semester.
Others were concerned about mental health:
General mental health has been compromised as all the things we seek out to help us maintain a healthy work life have been taken away. In conjunction with sustained high expectations for the rest of the semester, this will no doubt have an extremely negative affect on some students, if it hasn’t already.
Some urged patience:
This situation is not a personal attack on anyone. Our faculty is likely losing work outside of Yale; people are literally dying. We will endure hardship, but most likely not the worst of it; please maintain perspective.
And a few of the responses kept it simple:
I know you tried.
The richness of the survey responses stood in contrast to the paucity of the administration’s response thus far. From the tangle of the 150 student submissions, some general patterns emerged: A concern for the declining quality of education, a call for additional financial or physical resources, and for additional career guidance. These reflections were synthesized into a collaboratively written letter which, together with the unedited survey responses, was sent to all of YSoA on the first day of online instruction. Instead of reducing the survey responses to a lowest common denominator, our process embraced the difficult whole. Beyond sharing and framing the survey results, the letter insisted on equity and empathy:
“This letter contains many voices, but we are all unified by a single ethic—that resources be generously allocated to those most in need and most affected by the crisis in order to ensure that our education continues in an equitable way. Some of us have personal or family resources to put towards our transition to online education while other of us do not. But one thing, oft-repeated at 3 a.m. in Rudolph Hall, is doubly true in this crisis—all of us are in this together.”
The administration’s response came a little over a week later. Dean Deborah Berke’s letter restated previous commitments while rejecting proposals for equitable financial redress, health care extensions, and future facility access. YSoA offered additional lectures on professional development and the economy. Earlier on, the school had distributed laptops to some students without a computer at home. The feeling of many students, though, was expressed by a meme on a YSoA-adjacent Instagram account that summarized the administration letter as “1. Sorry 2.We 3. Can’t 4. Help 5. You.
 
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more like: Dear Students,

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To continue the conversation started by the survey, dean Berke offered to meet with an elected committee of four student representatives. There was little interest in this proposal because the wider collaborative process, though rough around the edges, had proved effective in getting the breadth of student concerns heard. Sensing that the initiative to move forward would have to come from below, a group of first-year students decided to hold a ‘Zoom-Out’ to gain a wider perspective. Half sit-in and half town hall, this meeting (held over Zoom) was scheduled during studio the next day. By holding this meeting during class time, students sought to demonstrate that their response to this crisis was integral to their education. The student response put forward an alternative to top-down models of architectural pedagogy by practicing horizontal forms of consensus and solidarity. A few days after the first-year town hall, sensing that their call for representatives had missed the point, the administration asked to hold a series of discussions with students. These talks have taken place over the last few days and student participation has stayed widely collaborative, with students volunteering to voice a specific concern or to relay questions from questioners. These processes are ongoing and, like the crisis, they don’t seem to be abating soon. While this collaborative organizing happens in universities, parallel efforts are underway in the profession. The symmetry between the academic and professional settings is apparent now more than ever. Students at YSoA with partners or spouses who are practicing architects are now working side-by-side in the same home office. The move to telework in academic settings exactly follows the same move in the professional practice of architecture. The response to the crisis by Yale University, as well as many architecture firms, shifts costs onto students and workers while abdicating responsibility for these changes. In the working world, this response amplifies the precarity of the architectural worker, whose at-will employment now takes place in their own home, often on their own computer, and often with their own software. In academic settings, where students from diverse backgrounds engage in shared education, the response threatens to increase the inequity that education claims to combat, as students of means can complete projects that those without sufficient resources cannot. These situations are structural conditions and not only individual miseries. Accordingly, they deserve a collective response. The work of The Architecture Lobby, which has strong associations with YSoA, has done important work in formulating what this response may be within the profession of architecture. Our current work at YSoA puts forward a similar vision of solidarity and collective action. The previous generation at YSoA advocated for a pluralism of style and critical modes; we seek a polyphony of voices within a collective approach to organizing and architectural practice. A generational shift can’t happen soon enough. This letter, and our organizing, is animated by our remembrance of Michael Sorkin. “Don’t mourn, organize!”
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Yale and Architecture Office explore the building codes of a Swiss-themed Wisconsin town

Interested in the architectural transformations that occur in towns founded by European immigrants in the United States, Swissness Applied, curated by Swiss-born architect Nicole McIntosh, cofounder of the Texas and Zurich-based firm Architecture Office, focuses on one in particular—New Glarus, Wisconsin, the self-proclaimed “Little Switzerland” of America. With similarly themed towns in Michigan and California, the exhibition, currently on view at the Yale Architecture Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, investigates the appropriation of imagery and translation of architectural styles into mutant cultural heritage sites.  Through models, drawings, and photographs, Swissness Applied describes the codification of cultural heritage into building law. Founded by Swiss immigrants in the late 19th century, New Glarus capitalized on its Nordic connection by converting the town's storefronts into the classic “Swiss Chalet '' style. The drive to preserve a traditional national architectural style in New Glarus, ironically, has simplified and combined many varied forms of Swiss architecture in a completely novel and artificial architectural style. Rather than critiquing the appropriation of Swiss architectural styles, the exhibition instead uses the building codes as a generative tool to imagine and design new forms of Swiss architecture.  The exhibition is split into three sections that each document New Glarus’s unique style. In Tell no Cabbage, 10 intricate wooden models show the construction style of New Glarus’s buildings. Folding paper models document the facades of 14 existing buildings in John what Henry. The section subtitled It has as long as it has is comprised of 18 fictional New Glarus buildings, all designed by Architecture Office, that offer a new interpretation of the town’s building codes.  This is the third presentation of the exhibition, having previously shown at SARUP Gallery at the ­Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning and at Kunsthaus Glarus Güterschuppen in Switzerland. Swissness Applied is on view at Yale until February 15. The exhibition will also take part in a gallery talk and panel discussion on February 13th.
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A new house in Atlanta raises the potential for roof-oriented design

A new exhibit at the Yale School of ArchitectureAdjacencies uses a multi-media approach to tell the story of various strange and tactile projects from 14 emerging firms around the country, and the show highlights a one-of-a-kind, ground-up residential project that’s set to open in Atlanta later this fallHaus Gables, designed by Jennifer Bonner of MALL, is a single-family home under construction along the Atlanta Beltline and a playful and surprising reinvestigation of the architectural zeitgeist using an exaggerated roof plan. The house is broken down in detail at Yale through a series of bright models, drawings, and ephemera that unveil her design philosophy for this inspired and irregular building. According to the architect, the project was influenced by Le Corbusier’s free plan and Adolf Loos’s raumplan—both residential design methods that called for unconventional interior spacing. Bonner’s aim was to “rework the spatial paradigms of the past” by organizing her architecture solely around the roof. She designed Haus Gables, a 2,100-square-foot structure, with six gable roofs that form one elongated canopy. The unique shapes of the resulting ceilings produced an interior filled with oddly-sized rooms, catwalks, and double-height spaces that are confined to the steep ridges of the pitched roofs. The idea for Haus Gables formed out of a 2014 course she taught at Georgia Tech School of Architecture, according to an interview with Curbed Atlanta. Bonner worked with students to imagine designs centered around individual architecture components. This exercise led Bonner to create her massive Domestic Hats exhibition for Atlanta's Goat Farm Arts Center, for which she studied Atlanta’s various roof typologies and created 16 models with alternative roof forms that challenged traditional domestic design. While Adjacencies provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Bonner specifically conceived the Haus Gables project, the real-life version is nearly complete on an 18 foot-wide plot of land in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. Not only is the design itself unusual, but so are the materials specified for the project. Most notably, it features a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, the second of its kind in the United States, and prefabricated components that were quickly put together on site over the last year.   Haus Gables, once complete, will also include extensive faux finishes on the exterior and interior. From the black terrazzo to the marble and brick, nothing will be real, but everything will be cost-efficient. Bonner even plans to conceal the CLT in an effort to mimic, yet bring a contemporary twist, to the Southern architectural tradition of DIY and “faking it.” An inside look at the production of Haus Gables will be on view in Adjacencies, curated by Nate Hume, at the Yale Architecture Gallery through November 15. Bonner will give a gallery talk alongside the other featured designers this Thursday, September 13, at 6:30 p.m.
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MJ Long, beloved Yale architecture instructor and alumna, passes away

Yale University’s esteemed, long-time architecture faculty member and alumna Mary Jane “MJ” Long passed away last Sunday at her home in Sussex, England. She was 79. Born in the United States in 1939, Long moved to England after finishing her master’s degree at the Yale School of Architecture in 1964. She then worked for Colin St John Wilson & Partners, eventually becoming director of the firm and marrying principal Colin “Sandy” St John Wilson. With Wilson she designed many major projects in Great Britain including the British Library at St Pancras, which took 15 years to complete—one of her most famous works. From 1974 to 1996, she also ran a separate practice designing artists’ studios. Alongside her Wilson colleague Rolfe Kentish, Long established a new practice in 1994, Long & Kentish. Together they designed the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, the Jewish Museum in Camden, and an extension to the British Museum in London. Over the last few years, Long taught part of the third-semester core studio at Yale, teaching students how to build detailed daylight models to simulate direct sunlight and interior illumination. “MJ always stayed close to Yale, returning to teach an advanced studio with Colin St John Wilson and then several times as a studio critic,” said Dean Deborah Berke in a statement. “MJ’s legacy will continue through the pedagogy at the school, the generations of students she inspired, and the many pioneering buildings she designed.” Long is survived by her daughter Sal and her son Harry as well as three grandchildren. Her partner, Colin St John Wilson, died in 2007 at age 85.
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Two Sides of the Border to tackle the shared architecture of the U.S. and Mexico

During the spring of 2018, 13 architecture studios in Mexico and the U.S. undertook an ambitious shared project to examine Mexican-American topics in architecture. The studios investigated the many ways that the two countries perform as a region with shared economies, infrastructures, languages, and histories. A new exhibition at the Yale School of Architecture Gallery presents student work from the 13 studios along with photographic documentation of the studios’ sites by Iwan Baan divided into five topic areas: territorial economies, migration, housing and cities, tourism, and creative industries and production. Conceived by Tatiana Bilbao and designed by NILE, the exhibition provides an opportunity to spatially redefine a region so often distorted by politics. Two Sides of the Border will be on view at the Yale School of Architecture Gallery from November 29, 2018–February 9, 2019.

#border #bordercrossing #mexico🇲🇽 #USA

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#cemetery at the #ASARCO #copper smelting site.

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Bilbao and Baan have become frequent collaborators as of late, having released Landscape of Faith: Interventions Along the Mexican Pilgrimage Route, a photographic journey along La Ruta del Peregrino in Mexico earlier this year. The pair also worked together for The House and the City: Two Collages, an exhibition on display through August 5 at the Steven Holl-design T Space in Rhinebeck, New York. That show uses collages to juxtapose different ideas at urban and personal scales and to create new spatial interventions by reusing tried-and-true typologies in new contexts.
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Yale University and UN Environment design self-sufficient tiny home

Yale University and Gray Organschi Architecture have designed and built a self-sufficient tiny house for UN Environment and UN Habitat, and the building is on display in UN Plaza in Midtown Manhattan until August 11. The Ecological Living Module contains 215 square feet of occupiable interior space and carves out another 16 square feet for a rear mechanical closet. The unit uses passive lighting and moisture collection, structural cross-laminated timber (CLT), food-growing green walls, and sun-tracking solar panels to shrink both the building’s embodied energy and resource needs. According to UN Environment, housing construction worldwide uses 40 percent of all resources produced every year and accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions (not to mention the conflicts being fought over rapidly dwindling materials like sand). The module was commissioned just in time for the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, to illustrate the idea that sustainable urbanization can only be accomplished if buildings minimize their contribution to climate change. The Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture and Gray Organschi worked together to design and install the module in only four weeks. The building was fabricated partially in New Haven and partially in Brooklyn and assembled on the UN campus amidst heavy security and tight construction restrictions. In order to balance maximum sun exposure with thermal comfort, the module was designed with New York’s specific micro-climate in mind. The dramatically-sloped building is clad in dark cedar planks and is home to two cascading “farm walls”, one on either side, and Gray Organschi claims that in New York the home can produce over 260 servings of vegetables. Plants were used inside as well in the loft area, and a living wall in the upper loft area purifies air for the inhabitants. “Structure was used as finish,” explains Gray Organschi founding principle Alan Organschi. The same pale CLT used to support the building was left exposed inside to create all of the finished surfaces, from countertops to stairs. The timber was sourced from the northeastern U.S. and sequestered more carbon than the effort used to harvest it. The team optimized daylighting in the building by carving strategic cuts into the back and roof. An Integrated Concentrating Solar Facade was installed to both reduce the amount of incoming sunlight and harvest solar power; an array of tiny panels track the sun’s movement and focus light on the minimally-sized solar receivers. The team wanted to build a system that could be assembled with the least amount of effort, and that would use the minimal amount of toxic materials to create. After August 11, the Ecological Living Module will be partially disassembled and brought to San Francisco; the structure was built narrow enough to be towed by truck. After that, the module will be flown out for demonstration in Quito, Ecuador, and then Nairobi, Kenya.
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BIG, James Corner, SCAPE and Bionic unveil final proposals for Bay Area resiliency challenge

The year-long Resilient By Design | Bay Area Challenge ideas competition has sought to utilize community-led ecological design to “develop innovative solutions that will strengthen [the Bay Area’s] resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, and earthquakes.” Last week, the nine teams working with local communities and organizations on the competition unveiled final proposals for a collection of sites scattered around the San Francisco Bay.  The nine sites represent a collection of some of the most ecologically fragile areas in the region, places that may see dramatic change in coming decades as climate change takes hold. The initiative seeks to begin to reposition these areas—some are densely-populated while others host vital regional infrastructure—for a climate change-addled future. For the competition, design teams led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), Tom Leader Studio (TLS) and others pursue efforts to restore regional wetlands and riparian floodplains while reorienting infrastructural investments and development to suit these new landscapes. The proposals were developed with an eye toward being implementable strategies. Next, communities and designers will work together with regional, state, and federal agencies to fully implement their plans. All nine proposals are broken down below: The Grand Bayway The Common Ground team led by TLS Landscape Architecture proposes to extend Highway 37 across San Pablo Bay by designing an elevated scenic causeway that would allow riparian landscapes to flow beneath the new multi-modal artery. The team proposes to deploy the causeway with flair by breaking out various lanes of travel into whispy overpasses that thread through the landscape including a grand, “mobility loop” encircling rich recreational areas.  The design team is made up of Exploratorium, Guy Nordenson & Assoc., Michael Maltzan Architecture, HR&A Advisors, Sitelab Urban Studio, Lotus Water, Rana Creek, Dr. John Oliver, Richard Hindle, UC Berkeley, and Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants. ouR-HOME The ouR-HOME project proposes to deploy a package of land-use reforms to incentivize small lot housing, community land trusts, social impact bonds, and new community infrastructure to prepare the community of North Richmond for climate change. The proposal calls for the construction of a new “horizontal levee” around the city that will protect it from potentially toxic runoff that could emanate from a nearby gasoline refinery during a flood. The vision also calls for planting 20,000 new trees to help “bring the marsh to Main Street,” an effort that aims to preserve and build upon existing community wealth in the majority African American and Latino enclave.  The team is led by San Francisco-based architecture firm Mithun and includes the Chinatown Community Development Center, ISEEED/Streetwyze, BioHabitats, Integral Group, HR&A Advisors, Moffat & Nichol, ALTA Planning, Urban Biofilter, and Resilient Design Institute. Estuary Commons The Estuary Commons plan creates a new network of ecologically-focused public spaces along areas surrounding the estuaries of San Leandro Bay in Alameda County. The proposal calls for investments in bicycle greenways, secondary housing units, and inclusionary zoning reforms in order to “build resiliency within the community.” The social and environmental justice-focused bid also calls for burying a stretch of Interstate-880 running through Downtown Oakland in order to remedy past planning errors.  The All Bay Collective—made up of AECOM, CMG Landscape Architecture, University of California, Berkeley- College of Environmental Design, Berkeley Center for New Media, The Terner Center, California College of the Arts, IDEO, Silvestrum, SKEO, modem, and David Baker Architects— is behind the scheme. Public Sediment for Alameda Creek The Public Sediment for Alameda Creek plan calls for reconnecting sediment flows between Alameda Creek and the bay’s wetlands in order to create a natural and ecologically-rich defense against floodwaters. The scheme revisions the currently-static flood control channels that criss-cross the southwestern edge of the Bay into redesigned estuaries, sediment traps, and berms that facilitate the build up of sediment while still allowing for public use and natural habitats.  The team is led by SCAPE Landscape Architecture and also includes Arcadis, Dredge Research Collaborative, TS Studio, UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, and Buoyant Ecologies Lab. South Bay Sponge The South Bay Sponge proposal aims to use a mix of cut-and-fill excavations and zoning swaps to build densely on high ground along the southern edge of the Bay in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The plan would create networks of “sponge” landscapes that absorb tidal flows and run off, efforts that would involve reorganizing urban fabric in these areas into dense nodes of habitation surrounded by water-friendly landscapes.  The design team behind the proposal includes JCFO, Moffatt & Nichol, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, SF BAY National Estuarine Research Reserve, Romberg-Tiburon Center, SFSF, Andrea Baker Consulting, James Lima Planning + Development, The Bay Institute, SeArc / ECOncrete, HT Harvey and Associates, Playhou.se, and Adventure Pictures. Resilient South City The Hassell+ team proposes to create additional public green space and a continuous public access route along South San Francisco’s Colma Creek that would double as storm surge-absorbing infrastructure. The plan aims to reduce the impacts of flooding by utilizing a network of greenways and municipal parks to restore native ecologies. These areas would manage runoff from existing neighborhoods, creating new public open spaces along the way. The plan would revamp the city’s urban waterfront and make restorative alterations to Orange Memorial Park.  The project team includes Lotus Water, Civic Edge, HATCH, Brown & Caldwell, Idyllist, and Page & Turnbull. Islais Hyper Creek The BIG, ONE, and Sherwood have teamed up for the Islais Hyper Creek  Vision, a plan that aims to restore native landscapes around the creek while creating new nodes of waterborne urbanism. The team envisions transforming vast swaths along the creek into natural habitats and parks, with new clustered technology and industrial hubs scattered around the city. The proposal is dubbed as “an opportunity to bring the existing industrial ecosystem into the next economy.” The design team also includes Moffat & Nichol, Nelson Nygaard, Strategic Economics, The Dutra Group, and Stanford University. Designing our Own Solutions The Permaculture and Social Equity Team is proposing to utilize social design as a way of building a vision for Marin City, a diverse working class enclave located just north of San Francisco. The team’s social design project involved extensive community engagement and is focused on equity, placemaking, and public ownership.  The team is made up of Pandora Thomas, Antonio Roman-Alcala , the Urban Permaculture Institute, Ross Martin Design, Alexander J. Felson, and Yale School of Architecture. Elevate San Rafael The Elevate San Rafael plan put forth by the Bionic team that proposes to reorganize the small city of San Rafael, pulling in its edges from flood-prone shorelines while building up higher elevations with dense housing and public infrastructure. The proposal would repurpose underutilized lots into flood planes flanked with housing, add floating recreational islands within the bay, and build up artificial reefs along the bay floor.  The plan proposes to pair “time-tested approaches to coastal adaptation with a moral, financial, and infrastructural agenda” as a way of adequately planning for the city’s future. The team is made up of landscape architects Bionic, WXY, PennDesign, Michael Yarne, Enterprise, Moffatt & Nichol, WRA, RMA, SF State, Baycat, Studio for Urban Projects, RAD Urban, and KMA. For more information on the proposals, see the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge website. 
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The role of projection in architectural drawings is explored at Austrian Cultural Forum

Don’t call it a comeback. It appears that drawing is now everywhere. Drawings’ Conclusions just closed at Anyspace, New York; Drawing Codes: Experimental Protocols of Architectural Representation is in the Taubman Gallery at the University of Michigan; The Drawing Show opened recently at the Yale School of Architecture Gallery; Drawbot is at the AA[n+1] Gallery in Paris; and there is the current exhibition at the Austrian Cultural Forum titled The Projective Drawing.1  It might seem obvious that to exhibit architecture is to exhibit drawings, but for the past twenty years, it has been infrequent to focus an exhibition of contemporary architectural work around the question of drawing. The quick reaction would be to attribute this to the pinging pain of nostalgia in the midst of our image-saturated world. But this would be a mistake, for at their best, these shows revolve around not a return, but a provocation concerning how to define drawing and image in contemporary aesthetic discourse. The curator of The Projective Drawing exhibition, Brett Littman, has explicitly tied the show to a collection of essays written by Robin Evans and published posthumously in 1995 as The Projective Cast. An exhibition squarely in the realm of art that is developed from a piece of architectural theory is quite rare, which is what immediately excited me about the prospects of this show. The drawings exhibited here often reference architecture, and several pieces use techniques more commonly associated with architectural drawing, (the axonometric being the prime example), but these pieces are clearly art, not architectural drawings. Specifically, the difference is that none of the drawings in this exhibition work through projection as practiced by architects and explicated in the texts of Robin Evans. This may initially sound like a critique of the premise of the exhibition, but I assure you it is not, for the problem of projection in relation to drawing is what is at stake. In the essays compiled for Evans’s The Projective Cast and in the influential earlier essay “Translations from Drawing to Building” (1986), Evans observes that a significant amount of architectural representation does not consist of iconic plane geometry or the pictorial under-drawing used to structure composition in painting. Instead, it is focused around translations of formal and spatial notations toward construction. Projective geometry is engaged in order to control these transformations. The shadows cast by projection are controlled distortions, traces registering movements of graphic information, and residues that elude symbolic interpretations associated with the pictorial. For many architects, orthographic projections (which are very different than orthographic drawings), perspectives, or obliques are what differentiate architectural from other types of drawing practices. These are the techniques that discipline an architect toward thinking three-dimensionally through two-dimensions. In other words, projection is the background operating system of architectural drawing. Over the last 25 years, the digital model has replaced the architectural drawing. If drawings are produced from a digital model, they are no longer the graphic traces of constructed projections, they are images, rendered to follow the visual conventions of drawing.2 Although this output may be an image, projective geometry is fundamental for digital modeling software. This is evident not just through the real-time updating of views, or the unfolding/sectioning of surfaces, but also, projection is at the root of calculating texture maps and indices of light reflection; commonly called “rendering.” Evans was prescient about this aspect of projection, for it is much more concerned with the optic than the haptic. Interestingly, architecture has typically considered projection as having more to do with drawing than rendering. The history of drawing is so entwined with projection that the graphic lines constructing projections were literally called “pencils” in early descriptive geometry textbooks. Furthermore, many architects view digital software with suspicion, precisely because of its affiliation with images as opposed to drawings. Evans may not have written much about digital representation per se, but in many ways his arguments accurately articulate the background of contemporary digital modeling software. As it stands, architects today are continuously engaged with the transformations of projective geometry through digital modeling, even if these projections no longer leave a visual residue, and most often operate hidden within the commands of the software. And it is here that we have the problem. If the visible trace of projection was crucial for defining an architectural drawing, and if digital software removes these traces in the production of images, we are left with a curious predicament. When looking at digitally produced drawings, either we are not looking at architectural drawings or, we are not looking at drawings at all. One of these is a disciplinary problem, the other aesthetic. The digital is not a new paradigm in itself. But, it does require revaluations regarding the conventions of different mediums, and it is in these transformations that we may formulate new sets of concerns. The Projective Drawing exhibition offers some fascinating insights on this issue for architectural representation. The drawings in this show mix mediums continuously. At the same time, this is not a post-medium mush where drawing is fused with painting, graphic design, architecture, etc. The questions this work raises have more to do with the tensions between abstraction and realism, and the manners through which drawing can question the ways in which we image the world. In a series entitled transmissions: a more radical elsewhere (2005-2012), William Cordova creates mixed media collages of drawings that build worlds suggesting telecommunication transmissions to places “out-of-field”—potentially even out-of-time. Brigitte Mahlknecht has produced a series of drawings of unfolding axonometric boxes titled Fast Architektur (2017), that use wavering stumbling lines ghostly layered to suggest the impossibility of ever folding these objects back up. The large oblique drawing titled Flatlands (corner) (2016) and created by Seher Shah is clearly indebted to the precision of architectural line drawings and the techniques of axonometry. But in this case, the line work shifts over edges that should define corners calling attention to the flickering instability of optical depth. In a series of small-framed untitled pieces, Leopold Strobl draws on top of color manipulated newsprint clips. Into these landscapes and cities he intervenes with dark blank masses. These hover between object-like figures and void-like removals, establishing a tension with the realism of the mechanically reproduced images in the background. In the most provocative instances, the viewer finds their attention drifting into these backgrounds, wondering what world(s) could contain these things. The works in The Projective Drawing are projective as speculations, not as medium-dependent techniques. Architects have placed too much emphasis on drawing versus imaging as a disciplinary conflict. What matters are paradigms, the concepts made intelligible beside (para) aesthetic provocations. The Projective Drawing exhibition is in many ways an exploration of exactly this; the mediums appropriated within the aesthetics of the works provoke allusions that extend outward. These are relations between aesthetics and politics, between what can be seen and said, and what actions we project into the world. I would much rather have architects arguing about these issues than if their images looked more like drawings or photos.
  1. Drawings’ Conclusions at Anyspace curated by Jeffrey Kipnis and Andrew Zago brought to New York by Cynthia Davidson; The Drawing Show at the Yale School of Architecture Gallery, originally at A+D Museum Los Angeles curated by Dora Epstein Jones, Drawing Codes curated by Adam Marcus and Andrew Kudless on view at the Taubman Gallery at the University of Michigan, originally at the CCA in San Franciso, Drawbot 2 is on display at the AA[n+1] gallery Paris, France curated by Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou and Leslie Ware, and The Projective Drawing at the Austrian Cultural Forum curated by Brett Littman.
  2. A fascinating discussion of this condition was recently put forward by John May in the article “Everything is Already an Image” published in Log 40 (MIT Press, 2017)

The Drawing Show

The practice of architectural drawing has changed dramatically over the past twenty-five years. The traditional pro forma of the sketch (or parti) that would eventually lead to a plan, section, and elevation has given way to exploratory forms of representation. Similar to many postmodern visual arts, architectural drawing has sought to challenge or engage existing paradigms. It often obfuscates or blurs the norms of didactic drawings through inversions, transgressions, and multiplicities of scale, thickness, clarity, measure, shading, and composition. Unlike studio art, however, architectural drawing is defined through its conventions. It conforms to certain rules of presentation—in particular, the use of the line as delineation (a boundary); the preference for flatness, even when drawing in advanced computer-aided programs; the labeling of elements; and the use of representational syntax such as directional arrows, alpha-numerical call-outs, and highly developed decorative and or applied textures. The drawings in the show are not very alike, similar only in that they are situated between the conventions of architectural drawing and the terms of engagement in the arts. While many students of architecture are familiar with this kind of creative exploration, it is less common within an architect’s practice. The works shown here are all from architects who employ exploratory drawing as part of their practice, identifying and furthering their work through these media. This exhibition is only a small sampling of the many works that fall into this relatively new category of exploratory drawing, and because few of these drawings result in “buildings,” these works are often not seen. The concern over the perceived divide between drawings produced by hand and those rendered by computer can be effectively subsumed by the much larger problem of representation in drawing. While the newer tools have been instructive (for example, in turning the line into more of a spline), the computer ultimately does not kill the ambitions of the continuing drawing project. Instead both traditional and digital methods contribute to larger issues: plan-ness instead of plans, sectioning as a dynamic activity, thickening the dimensions of the plane, modeling as a form of drawing, and lightness and shadowing as techniques to produce new fictions rather than techniques of truth-telling. —Dora Epstein Jones
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How mass timber can help architects rethink "basic services"

This is the fifth column of “Practice Values,” a bi-monthly series by architect and technologist Phil Bernstein. The column focuses on the evolving role of the architect at the intersection of design and construction, including subjects such as alternative delivery systems and value generation. Bernstein was formerly vice president at Autodesk and now teaches at the Yale School of Architecture. The topic this week in my practice class is “Scope of Services,” where we examine the architect’s relationship to the client’s work, to wit: What, exactly, does she have to do to deliver the project? The idea of “Basic Services” is central to explaining traditional practice, in that it’s the way we routinize our efforts through standard stages of effort (schematic design, design development, and so forth), structure decision-making, and, almost as important, create a basis for protecting our limited fees and invoicing the client. The idea of basic services or even “phases of design” has been under pressure for some time, mostly under the delaminating influence of technology. Long gone are the hand-drawn, single-line diagrams that once comprised the end product of schematics, just as transferring design intent to a builder may include BIM data or digital geometry in addition to traditional two-dimensional construction documents. The fluidity of digital data, and the purported insight that accompanies it, has blurred and expanded the system boundaries of services themselves. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the latest thinking about the use of mass timber as a fundamental building material for cities, work pioneered by my faculty colleague Alan Organschi of Gray Organschi Architecture. Alan argues persuasively that there is an opportunity to rethink the systems of carbon, energy, material production, design, and construction by the thoughtful and systematic use of engineered lumber—a renewable resource—in urban construction, where the forest is not just another source of raw material but also a place to store carbon. His thinking is not unlike Kiel Moe’s at Harvard, who posits that buildings aren’t independent objects that merely coexist with the systems that produce and sustain them, but rather are integral parts of those systems. Architects should ignore the resulting system boundaries created by constructs like, for example, the idea that our work be something called “Basic Services.” Both Organschi and Moe believe that architects must change the scale of their influence beyond the materialization of form by understanding, incorporating, and (dare I say it) controlling the flows of capital, energy, materials, and production. We need to replace our understanding of the supply chain with an overt ability to create and optimize it. This idea is immediately appealing, harkening back to the original assertions of modernism and its putative benefits for production and society, but equally daunting and intractable. This is precisely why Organschi’s claims about mass timber are so important: They represent a clear “through-line” from the means of making to the creation of form that is at the heart of the architect’s design proposition. Architects have always been part of a systems-design problem, and today’s digital tools that allow the representation, analysis, and optimization of systems fit perfectly into these new responsibilities. The digitization of design has blurred the traditional boundaries of our “systems of service,” but there are new opportunities emerging as design is informed by new technologies like systems engineering, big data analysis, and optimization, machine learning, and integrated network design. These tools will wend their way into innovative practices like Organschi’s, necessary to increase the architect’s understanding of and span of control over the supply chain. Organschi’s work thus challenges the entire idea of “Basic Services” as it currently drives practice—calling into question the roles of technology, research, professional certification, even the compensation to the architect for taking on such responsibilities. A “net zero” building means nothing if the systems that delivered it generates huge amounts of unaccounted carbon. We’ll need to reconsider and remediate all the systems boundaries of design—our internal protocols and processes and our relationship to the supply chain—to have true influence on the implications of our buildings. The efforts around mass timber described in this issue are some of the best thinking on this front so far.
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Catching up with Bob Stern on life after Yale

In an exit interview with the Yale University School of Architecture student newspaper Paprika!, former dean Robert A.M. Stern said, “Once I became the dean, I stopped going on any kind of a regular basis to live theater in New York, which I used to be quite an habitué of… I was usually so exhausted that at the end of the day I would go and sit in my one hundred dollar seat and have the most expensive snooze ever known to man… I’m looking forward to catching a few plays after June 30.” AN Senior Editor Matt Shaw caught up with Mr. Stern to talk about his life after deanship, his new office, and what else he has been up to in his newfound free time. Matt Shaw: This is my first visit to the new office. It has a similar feeling to the old one. Robert A.M. Stern: Well I don’t like too much change. The new office here on One Park Avenue is a reflection of the previous office on West 34th Street, which was a reflection of its predecessor on West 61st. Also, after being in an office for roughly 20 years, people forgot to throw things away, so the cleansing experience of coming over here—archiving things and so forth—has been great. But we kept the library. I remember that drawing. When we moved here, we just moved the drawing. The clients in Aspen have been friends of mine for a long time, and so I keep it there. I have a sentimental side, which people don’t actually know. They think I’m a man of steel and I’m really Clark Kent at heart. Well, congratulations on the move. So, what are you up to now that you are finished being dean at Yale? You must have lots of free time. Well, that’s not true. To begin with, I’m on sabbatical. I am preparing a new seminar that I will give this coming academic year. For a long time at Yale, I’ve given one seminar called “Parallel Moderns,” which says that what is commonly called “modern architecture”—in cocktail party chatter—is really only the International Style of the modern movement. However, there were many different kinds of modern architecture that ran parallel in the 20th century. I’m also working with Jake Tilove and David Fishman on my New York 2020 book, which I swore I would never do, but here I am. I was hoping to talk about what you do outside the office. What do you enjoy doing in the city? Do have more time to see shows at the theater now that you aren’t back and forth from New Haven? I had a kind of orgy of shows. The last one I saw was the one with Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, War Paint. I saw Dear Evan Hansen—I actually saw that before it opened. I knew it was going to be amazing and it was amazing. I saw Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, and the Kevin Kline thing, Present Laughter. I love musicals, as you can tell. There is a series at the City Center where they revive old shows. I saw The Golden Apple and it went in one ear and out the other. What are some of your favorite restaurants? Oh, you sound like a client who’s come in from Oshkosh. I used to love going to the Four Seasons and now… I don’t know, it’s not the same. They kind of sexed it up in a way. We’ll see what happens when it reopens in the fall. But, for me, the Four Seasons was very special. I had many lunches with Philip Johnson in the Grill Room and I kept going there afterward, once or twice a year. I still think it’s a beautiful experience to be there. What about public spaces? Where do you like to take a walk? Obviously from my books, I’m a complete enthusiast for New York. There’s no greater enclosed space in New York—or maybe the world—than the great hall of Grand Central. Central Park is another of the great rooms—and it is a room. There’s a difference between Central Park and Prospect Park. Prospect Park is not a room. You go in there and you get lost, whereas Central Park is a completely defined rectangle with walls of buildings on all four sides, so it’s a great room and I love that. I find Times Square amazing. They’re all kind of clichés because they’re so great. Everybody will say, ‘Oh, doesn’t he know some surprising place?’ No.