Jeffrey Kipnis begins the eighth and final Fecundity of a Mossy Climate conversation by arguing that even though architecture has traditionally been focused on sobriety and rectitude, it can reflect other aspects of human experience. He discusses some projects by Hernan Diaz Alonso, stressing the use of animation as a design tool. Diaz Alonso and Kipnis discuss horror, ephemerality and impermanence as positive values, working within given problems, and digital versus filmic sensibilities. Diaz Alonso and Kipnis respond to comments from the audience, touching on temporality, nostaligia and working. They respond to Eric Owen Moss’s question about buildings that are virtual and buildings that exist in reality.
Jeffrey Kipnis begins the seventh of the Fecundity of a Mossy Climate conversations by reviewing Elena Manferdini’s work, arguing that even when the work seems graphic or pictorial, Manferdini is always thinking architecturally. Manferdini joins Kipnis to discuss her use of imagery from nature, and the kind of political role that architecture can play. They respond to questions from the audience about politics, audiences, and the problem of scaling-up.
Henry N. Cobb discusses with Eric Owen Moss his Hypostyle installation, stressing that the array of opaque vertical elements is meant to be very legible and experiential. When Moss wonders if the tabletop city of Loos’s Tribune Towers is meant ironically, Cobb distinguishes between the architectural proposition made of 3 by 8 foot doors, from the the Loos urban proposition. Cobb stresses the significance of scale and proportion, and the work’s experiential aspect. Cobb and Moss continue their conversation, touching on plan versus section, timelessness, and minimalism.
Henry N. Cobb frames his talk with the concept of memory as an emancipatory power, and proposes that a distinctive power of architecture is its capacity for embodying ambiguity. He presents his own thesis project from 1949, and discusses his first projects with I.M. Pei, including Place Ville Marie, Boston government center, the plan for Bunker Hill. The productive conflicts between autonomy and contextualism and public and private space guide Cobb’s discussions of projects from John Hancock Tower, and the Portland, Maine museum of art, the federal courthouse and Harborpark in Boston, to the Palazzo Lombardia in Milan (2013). He concludes by quoting Henry James: “A great building is the greatest conceivable work of art because it represents difficulties annulled, resources combined, labor, courage, and patience.”
Jeffrey Kipnis starts the sixth of the Fecundity of a Mossy Climate conversations by differentiating Devyn Weiser and Peter Testa’s research-based practice from the culturally-based practices of the previous Mossy Climate participants. In a survey of Testa and Weiser’s work, Kipnis stresses how of their research on carbon fiber and robots informs their design sensibility. Greg Lynn praises Testa and Weiser’s work for not being focused on optimizing the properties of new materials, but on architecture. Kipnis, Lynn, Weiser and Testa discuss the dialog between material research and design, different ways of being influenced by materials, and the interaction of materials and design.
Marcelyn Gow, after clarifying that her practice, Servo, has an office in Stockholm, consisting of Ulrika Karlsson, and another in Los Angeles, which she runs with William Mohline, discusses “precise inexactitude” and geometry versus the formless in her work. She proposes to review some projects in terms of six tropes:
- Abjection overruled
- Abjection sustained
- White paper
The projects range from installations (Lattice Archipelogics, Sporg, Aqueotrope), green roofs (for a science center outside Stockholm), exhibition designs (at the Bonniers Konsthall), lecture halls (at the Royal Institute of Technology/KTH), and mixed-used facilities (the Blockterräng).
Thesis proposal presentations by Garet Ammerman, Alex Blugerman, Leonora Bustamente, Eileen Won and Marilyn Hu, Mei Zhi Neoh, and Shawn Rassekh are followed by discussion by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Jeffrey Kipnis. Zaera-Polo surveys innovative building materials and technologies since World War II, noting a disconnect between sophisticated materials and pedestrian designs. Kipnis discusses different modes of the political as they relate to architecture. He argues that science and technology, far from being in opposition to the aesthetic, can actually work together to reinforce art’s original political project. Elena Manferdini joins Kipnis and Zaera-Polo to discuss practice, facades and envelopes, the engineering model and the art model, typologies, audiences and critics.