Merrill Elam or Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects from Atlanta, presents a selection of projects, from houses and libraries to a series of cultural facilities. Elam stresses attentiveness to the needs of the clients, and to the character of the surroundings.
Videos | Yearly Archives1992 (10)
Christian Hubert introduces the lecture. Brian Boigon presents his work in collaboration with students at the University of Toronto. He reviews some of the influences on his work, including animation, video games, and martial arts. Boigon then documents his current project, “The Cartoon Regulators.” Finally, he discusses cyberspace and media theorists, including Marshall McLuhan.
Ann Hamilton shows photographs of the work and talks about her influences, creative process, and materials. Hamilton talks about the origins of her sense of gesture and movement, and the interiority and exteriority of the body. She describes in detail her experiences in creating different installations, including her Still Life, 1988, which she states is her first “site responsive” piece, “informed by the time and place” She also talks about Privation and Excess, 1989, an installation which included 750,000 pennies, honey, sheep, and other materials. Hamilton also talks about architect Peter Eisenman and how she came to appreciate his work.
Greil Marcus discusses ways of thinking about utopian architecture. Marcus characterizes the 1949 movie based on Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainheadas tapping into a seductive image of architecture, in which the architect is a Nietzschian superhero and architecture itself is a form of power. The architect is depicted as a master of time and space, and everyone else is an ant. In contrast Marcus discusses the ideas of the Letterist International, and Guy Debord, in the early 1950s. Marcus contrasts their open-ended and public ideas with the object-oriented and private emphasis of the surrealists. Talking with the audience, Greil Marcus contrasts what he perceives as the blankness of Los Angeles with a city like Memphis which is at first glance ugly, but exudes obsession, fetishism and eccentricity. Driving through Memphis reveals countless signs of craziness; it is full of crazy people and proud of it. He also points out that the Letterists were one of many parallel movements in the United States and elsewhere. The difference being the 2oth century French mode of tireless publication, scandal and publicity.
The first part of this film features fourth grade students from Utah Elementary School collaborating on a giant physical model of an imaginary city. The student presentations of their projects are followed by SCI-Arc alumni event on November 29, 1995 to support the Kappe Library. Michael Rotondi speaks to the audience via video projection, reminding them that the school can only continue to grow with the support of an alumni organization. Glen Small follows by reminding everyone that Michael Rotondi fired him, and remembers SCI-Arc as a place that challenged students to dream. Ray and Shelly Kappe then thank everyone involved in setting up the event and Ray introduces a slide presentation by Jerry Compton and his fellow former SCI-Arc student, Tony Spencer.
Solomon talk about the changes in perception about the landscape in terms of cultural, political and social expectations. She discusses her two books, Good Mourning California, and Green Architecture and the Agrarian Garden. Showing various projects, Solomon talks about the symbolic and literal meanings, and the uses of green rectangles. She cites the formal grandeur of French gardens as an influence, and prefers simple design over “tricky” landscapes. Solomon talks about issues with water shortage and green lawns and how the aesthetic needs to change for the sake of the environment.
Wolf Prix presents an array of projects by his office, Coop Himmelb(l)au, that define a style and attitude toward Deconstructivism, theory, and future architectural discourse. In boasting a non-theoretical approach to design, Prix outlines his beliefs and methods of converting sketches into a strategy of building. However, as the lecture progresses, he divulges the biases of the office that hints at an alluring narrative in the work.
Sanford Kwinter presents a lecture titled “Soft Systems.” He defines the soft system as a new type of biological space, citing recent research into thermodynamics, molecular biology, and planetary dynamics as influences to support his hypothesis. He draws comparisons between natural systems and computational systems to further support this theory. Finally, he offers his speculations into how these models can influence the field of architecture while imagining a material world in a state of constant flux.