Wolf Prix begins by speaking of Raimund Abraham as a friend and founding father for a generation of Viennese architectural rebels. He identifies in Viennese architecture from the Baroque to now a concern with spatial sequences. He surveys many works by Abraham from the 1950s and 1960s, relating them to his own work, and work by Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler, and Günther Domenig. Prix discusses the importance of drawing in his own work, and in the work of Abraham. He concludes by discussing recent projects, including the Dalian International Conference Center (2012); the Open Parliament of Albania project (designed 2011); the House of Music II, Aalborg, Denmark (2014); a small church in Hainburg, Austria (2011); and the European Central Bank, Frankfurt (2014).
Gregor Eichinger discusses his focus on what he calls the “user interface,” the way in which architecture interacts with people intimately and individually, stressing the corporeal and acoustic over the visual. Eichinger presents images of his interiors and buildings without comment, followed by a series of musical sequences from a range of movies.
Peter Kogler surveys his early work, and describes the impact of first using computers to design patters that were silk-screened directly onto walls. He describes his work’s evolution from the late Nineties, employing synchronized projectors to animate spaces inside and outside, in galleries and public spaces throughout Europe.
Andrew Zago surveys the recent history of graduate thesis at SCI-Arc, discussing the recession, dissatisfaction with the state of the profession, and the energy and critical acumen of Jeffrey Kipnis, among other factors. He discusses quotations from Eliot, Kubler, and Rothko to define a way for students embarking on thesis to understand themselves and their relation to history and craft. Zago encourages the students to think of thesis not as their last project as students but their first as members of the discipline, and argues that what matters is maturity of thought and execution. He challenges students to “calibrate the real-ness” of their projects carefully, to maximize impact.
Kevin Ratner stresses Forest City West’s long-term commitment to the communities it works in, not only building, but owning and operating its properties. He outlines the principles of their Open City concept, stressing connection, access, surprise, customization, taking risks, and “Don’t make everything rational.” He discusses the 5M and Pier 70 projects in San Francisco, and Blossom Plaza in Chinatown, Los Angeles. Ratner challenges the audience with a series of questions and responds to audience comments on the role of the architect, the public, financing, the isolating effects of technology, and infrastructure.
Antoni Vives argues that city-building and city-transforming today is essentially a political, i.e. ideological task. He sees Barcelona’s future being based on revival of the polis, a healthier, more affordable, more efficient civic life. Vives outlines the history of Barcelona from the Roman colony, stressing the defining interventions of Ildefons Cerda in the 19th century. He reviews some of the principles guiding planning and development in Barcelona, stressing productivity, mobility, inclusiveness, connectivity, self-sufficiency, and collaboration with existing communities. He describes efforts to bring high-tech industries to Barcelona as generators of fabrication, transforming a hardware city into a software city.
Todd Gannon proposes general guidelines to graduate students embarking on their thesis project:
- 1. Privilege Difference Over Similarity
- 2. Avoid Cliché-Making
- 3. Privilege How Over What
- 4. Develop New Vocabularies
- 5. Enfranchise New Constituencies
Barry Bergdoll begins by surveying the popularity and ubiquity of architecture exhibitions, noting the rise to prominence of the curator’s voice. He proposes understanding architecture exhibitions as part of the invention of a self-conscious modernism that has repeatedly changed architecture for the last 250 years. Bergdoll stresses the promotional exhibitions of the 1760s, such as the Society of Arts in London, and the Academy in Paris, where architects exhibited drawings, prints or paintings of unrealized buildings. The first curator in the modern sense of the term, according to Bergdoll, was Alexandre Lenoir, who as first director of the revolutionary Musée des monuments français, worked not only to preserve culturally significant structures, but to change their cultural meaning from monuments of tyranny to cultural patrimony. Bergdoll surveys some of the decisive architectural exhibitions of early modernism, which presented a spatial experience rather than a narrative. Bergdoll concludes with discussions of two of his projects at MOMA, Rising Currents (2010) and Foreclosed (2012), as part of a long tradition of architectural exhibitions that are not passive mirrors of current trends, but actively creating possibilities.
Lars Müller argues for the primacy of the analog over the digital, stressing analog experience as the ground of reality, individuality and creativity. The experience of reading a printed book is an especially important analog experience, prompting the cognitive effort that embeds knowledge in a nexus of associations. Müller discusses different strategies of presenting drawings by Louis I. Kahn, Sou Fujimoto, Wang Shu, and Steven Holl in book form. He outlines his publication process, stressing the widening circle of participants over each book’s long gestation period, and describes collaborative projects with other designers, including Stephen Phillips’s just-released L.A. [Ten]. Müller concludes by discussing several of his “visual readers” series, which attempt to communicate information on important social and political issues visually.