Organizing Institutions & Acknowledgements

Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University (GSAPP) offers six master’s degree programs: Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design, Architecture and Urban Design, Urban Planning, Historic Preservation and Real Estate Development. With an enrollment of 650 students from some 55 countries, the School serves as a leading laboratory for testing new ideas about the environmental designer’s role in a global society. It cultivates an atmosphere in which all of the disciplines devoted to the built environment are invited to think differently, to move beyond the highest level of professional training, opening a creative space within which the disciplines can rethink themselves in order to find new settings and new forms of professional, scholarly, technical and ethical practice. www.arch.columbia.edu

Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics is one of nine departments in The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. Offering undergraduate programs in civil engineering and engineering mechanics, it provides students with a firm technical basis while nurturing decision-making and leadership potential. The civil engineering program, accredited by ABET, has four concentrations: structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, construction engineering and management and water resources and environmental engineering. On the graduate level, the department offers programs leading to the M.S. degree, the professional degrees of Civil Engineer or Mechanics Engineer and the Doctor of Engineering Science (EngScD) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. These programs are flexible and allow for concentrations in structures, construction engineering, reliability and random processes, soil mechanics, fluid mechanics, hydrogeology, continuum mechanics, finite element methods, computational mechanics, experimental mechanics, acoustics, vibrations and dynamics and earthquake engineering, or any combination thereof, such as fluid-structure interaction. www.civil.columbia.edu

The Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK)

Both in its research and teaching, the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) at the University of Stuttgart unites the aspect of design with a focus on analysis and construction usually associated with structural engineering and the materials sciences. On the basis of a goal-oriented and interdisciplinary approach, the Institute is concerned with the conceptual development of all types of construction and load-bearing structures, using all types of materials. The areas of focus span construction with textiles and glass all the way to new structures in reinforced and pre-stressed concrete. From the individual details to the whole structure, the approach focuses on the optimization of form and construction with respect to material and energy use, durability and reliability, recyclability and environmental sustainability. The results of this work are published in the bilingual (German/English) serial from the Institute or published individually in special research reports on particular topics. The ILEK offers undergraduate and postgraduate classes to students in Architecture and Civil Engineering. Students from the two sectors work jointly on common projects, thus enabling them to overcome traditional barriers between the disciplines. www.uni-stuttgart.de/ilek

The Vinyl Institute

The Vinyl Institute (VI), founded in 1982, is a U.S. trade association representing the leading manufacturers of vinyl, vinyl chloride monomer, vinyl additives and modifiers and vinyl packaging materials. Working to ensure vinyl is the global plastic of choice for infrastructure and diverse applications, the mission of the VI is to advocate the responsible manufacture of vinyl resins, the life cycle management of vinyl products and the promotion of the value of vinyl to society. Specifically, the VI is committed to working with architects and engineers to demonstrate the range of solutions vinyl provides for the design challenges of today and tomorrow. For information about vinyl—its benefits, uses, and issues—visit www.vinylinfo.org or www.vinylindesign.com.


Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering is the fourth installment of the Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials. The series of conferences originated with the goal of reinvigorating the academic and professional collaborations between the Schools of Engineering and Architecture. In the fall of 2007, Mark Wigley, Dean, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP); Christian Meyer, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics; and Michael Bell, Professor of Architecture, organized the initial conference as a new model of exchange. The first conference in the series, Engineered Transparency, on glass, established a focus on materials as a shared substrate of design, academic research, scholarship and industry, and included a wide group of participants in the professional and academic fields of structural and mechanical engineering as well as architecture, materials science and industry. The second conference, Solid States, focused on a renewed potential for concrete and was held at GSAPP in fall 2008. The third conference, on metals, was held at GSAPP in fall 2009.

Permanent Change represents an ongoing collaboration between GSAPP and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Christian Meyer, professor; and Raimundo Betti, Chair, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, have each sustained this partnership during the past year. Dean Feniosky Peña-Mora has generously endorsed our shared work and plans for the next stages.

This conference adds the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK), University of Stuttgart, Germany, as a collaborating academic partner. Directed by Werner Sobek, ILEK has contributed to bringing a new scope of research to the conference. Special thanks go to Heiko Trumpf, of Werner Sobek Engineering and Design.

Permanent Change and the entire Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials series has benefited from the critical insight and ongoing support of Mark Wigley. At GSAPP the context of openness and experimentation has allowed our team to reach out to new colleagues in academia and industry with creative energy that has both grounded our work and offered a chance for new momentum.

Gregory Bocchi, President of The Vinyl Institute as well as George Middleton, Sylvia Moore and Kevin Mulvaney, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, provided direction at every stage of planning. William F. Carroll, Vice President, Industry Issues, Occidental Chemical Corporation, generously helped to establish new relations with the field of chemical engineering. Judith Nordgren, former Vice President of Marketing and Communications, initiated our collaboration with the Vinyl Institute, whose generous support as our Exclusive Sponsor made this event possible. The Institute’s engagement with GSAPP provides a critical bridge to industry and was undertaken with a deep regard for the traditions of scholarship and practice in our speakers’ work.

Permanent Change would not have been possible without the energy, goodwill and intellectual rigor of our advisers and collaborators, including Johan Bettum, Felicity Scott and Craig Buckley. Steven Holl, Sanford Kwinter, Matthias Schuler and Laurie Hawkinson have all been instrumental in expanding the scope and context of the conference. David Hinkle, Associate Dean, GSAPP, has provided broad support for the entire series of conferences and related books. Stephanie Salomon has been an invaluable editor for all program text. Benjamin Prosky, Director of Special Events and External Affairs at GSAPP, has guided all logistics with his team—Lucia Haladjian and Tong Tong—and also is central to the fundraising and overall direction of the conference. Stefana Simic assisted Benjamin Prosky and Michael Bell on coordination and editorial goals. William Menking, editor; Diana Darling, publisher; and Lynne Rowan of The Architect’s Newspaper, our Exclusive Media Sponsor, have supported the conference series since its inception.

Mary Kate Murray of Michael Graves Design coordinated introducing our goals to Michael Graves. Luke Bulman and Jessica Young of Thumb have again provided the complete visual identity of the conference. Frank Heinlein and Andrea Scheufler coordinated ILEK and Werner Sobek’s contributions. Special thanks go to the architect Eunjeong Seong, who has been an influential critic, researcher and editor on each of the four installments of the Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials.

Greg Lynn provided tremendous energy in working with us to build the conference roster. Sylvia Lavin offered encouragement in taking on the topic of plastics and lent her time and critical and editorial skills to our planning.

We are grateful to Rosana Rubio Hernández, who has conceived inventive exhibits for each of the four conferences, assisted this year by Mara Sánchez Llorens and Carlos Fernández Piñar. Our thanks also go to Yoshiko Sato for creating an installation this year interrogating conference goals, assisted by Shuning Zhao and John Hooper. We thank Stretch Marquees and Fabric Structures as well AZEK for in-kind materials and fabrication support of Sato's installation, and Mark Wasiuta, Director, GSAPP galleries, and his team members, Greg Bugel and Brittany Drapac.

The following additional members of the GSAPP community have provided wide-ranging assistance and talent for this conference:

Development: DevonErcolano Provan, Director, and Julia Fishkin, Associate Director, who assisted in fundraising on the entire conference series; and Danielle Smoller, who worked to secure the optimal facilities for the event.

Audiovisual assistance: John Ramahlo, Executive Director of Information Technology; Lou Fernandez, Kevin Allen, Audio Visual Office; and Student Assistants Brendan Sullivan, Michael Christopher Georgopoulos and Kooho Jung. Web design: Gabriel Bach, Director, GSAPP Online. Woodshop: Mark A. Taylor, Director of Operations, and Nathan Carter, Building/Model Shop Manager. Fabrication Lab: Phillip Anzalone, Director, and Brigette Borders, Manager. For printing and mailing, we thank Sal Bernardino, Manager, Columbia University Print Services; and Sarah Riegelmann of Highroad Press.

Finally and foremost, without the vision, curiosity, rigor and goodwill of the Conference Chair, Michael Bell, Permanent Change and the ongoing Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials series would not have achieved its remarkable momentum in challenging assumptions and asking the most penetrating questions of our shared future.

Convened by:
The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation,
Columbia University in the City of New York
Mark Wigley, Dean

In Collaboration with:
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Fenioski Peña-Mora, Dean

Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK), University of Stuttgart, Germany
Werner Sobek, Founder

Permanent Change has been generously underwritten by the exclusive sponsor:
The Vinyl Institute

Exclusive media sponsor:
The Architect’s Newspaper

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