GSAPP Conversations offer a window onto the expanding field of contemporary architectural practice through discussions on the current projects, research, and obsessions of a diverse group of invited guests from emerging and well-established practices. Hosted by Columbia GSAPP’s Dean Amale Andraos, the conversations also feature the School’s influential faculty and alumni, and give students the opportunity to engage architects on issues of concern to the next generation.
Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly in Conversation with Jorge Otero-Pailos
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Professor and Director of the Historic Preservation program at Columbia GSAPP, speaks with Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly, artists who use their performances as a form of inquiry and preservation, in advance of their lecture on March 22, 2018.
They discuss the architecture of intimacy and its intersection with queer identity, explored in their project Modern Living . They also touch on whether the ‘dream house’ ever really exists – or if it’s an invention of real estate agents.
“It is about a time spent, intimately, listening, passing time, noticing, observing, the different ways the environment affects the space. Trying really, I guess, feel what it felt like, to live in the space.” –Ryan Kelly
Keller Easterling in Conversation with Jarrett Ley
Jarrett Ley, a dual degree graduate student in the Architecture and Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices program at GSAPP speaks with Keller Easterling on the occasion of her lecture on April 4, 2018.
They discuss her work investigating infrastructure space, which Easterling describes as “a set of rules and relationships in which buildings and activities are suspended”, and how it’s shifted since the 2016 election. They also touch on whether architects have to be right—and if not, what else should they strive for?
“Maybe space itself is the underexploited medium of contemporary innovation? One that allows for mixtures of information systems and really lumpy, really rich mixtures. That’s the thing I’m advocating for.”
Juergen Mayer H. in conversation with Luiza Furia
They discuss Mayer’s work in Georgia, and how the pace of development in cities such as Berlin can affect the character of a city. Mayer also touches on his examination of the interaction between the digital world and the physical world, including the XXX in Times Square – as well as his interest in the color beige.
“I think [architecture] is the tool or the language I can use best to express something. It’s a tool that allows me to express certain aspects that are related to how we live together, how we see our society, how we find the moment of our time, right now.”
—Juergen Mayer H.
Giovanni Piovene and Ambra Fabi in Conversation with James Brillon
They discuss how objects play into architecture and how they attempt to use local materials in their projects to see cities in different ways. They also touch on how teaching has shaped not only the creation of their practice but also how they now design.
“The reason we started this office is because we were each really thinking about process in a completely different way… almost opposite from one another.”
Bonus Episode: Minsuk Cho
Korean architect Minsuk Cho speaks in advance of his keynote lecture taking place during GSAPP Alumni Weekend on June 2, 2018. After graduating from the M. Arch program in 1992, he established Cho Slade Architecture in 1998, with fellow GSAPP alumnus James Slade. In 2003, Cho returned to Korea to open his own firm, Mass Studies, to great success - winning the Golden Lion for Best National Participation at the 2015 Venice Biennial.
In this GSAPP Conversations Bonus Episode, Cho discusses how his time at GSAPP and in New York changed his perspective and career and how contemporary Korean architecture differs from American equivalent. He also touches on some of his latest projects, including a publicly funded film and arts space.
“I actually looked back at my portfolio of six semesters worth of work and I was completely shocked at how each project has related to what I’ve been doing as a practicing architect. It’s really like a preview of my career” –Minsuk Cho
Bonus Episode: Ayala Levin
Ayala Levin speaks in advance of her lecture on April 16, given as part of the Detlef Mertins annual series. Having completed her Ph.D. at GSAPP in 2015, Levin is now an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University’s Art History department. Her research focuses on architectural knowledge exchange, with an emphasis on urban planning projects in post-independence African states.
In this GSAPP Conversations Bonus Episode, Levin discusses how she came to research architecture and her introduction to the field at GSAPP. She touches on her Ph.D. research on construction projects by Israeli architects during the mid-20th century in postcolonial Africa, as well current research on American construction in contemporary Africa.
In a sense, I needed to be grounded in an art discipline that has a public weight - much more than literature and the arts… That architecture really shapes people’s lives, people really do relate to architecture in every aspect of their being.