GSAPP Conversations

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.
21 April 2017
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Episode #9
Momoyo Kaijima of Atelier Bow-Wow in Conversation with Amale Andraos

Dean Amale Andraos speaks with Momoyo Kaijima who co-founded Atelier Bow-Wow with Yoshiharu Tsukamoto in 1992. The Tokyo-based firm is well known for it’s light, multifunctional design aesthetic combining a focus on urban conditions with the relationship between space and its inhabitants. Kaijima and Tsukamoto are teaching an Advanced Studio at Columbia GSAPP during the Spring 2017 semester, and Kaijima delivered a public lecture at the School in April 2017.

In this 9th episode of GSAPP Conversations, Kaijima talks about the relationship between research and practice as it is made visible in the books they’ve published (including Made in Tokyo), the difficulty and rewards of working in the Fukushima area following the 2011 tsunami and nuclear accident, and her interest in working across generations to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between buildings and their inhabitants.

“Architecture itself is very static and hard, but it is changed and transformed to be more active by the surroundings. … How buildings are animated for the people and by the people – this kind of research is really, really important to making a kind of critique for today's method of architectural design.”
–Momoyo Kaijima

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14 April 2017
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Episode #8
vPPR in Conversation with James Brillon

Coinciding with their lecture at Columbia GSAPP on January 30, 2017, student James Brillon speaks with the founding members of vPPR: Tatiana von Preussen (M.Arch ‘07), Catherine Pease and Jessica Reynolds. Founded in 2009, vPPR works at a range of scales in the UK and US, with a particular focus on housing within the dense urban fabric. In this episode of GSAPP Conversations, they discuss the relationship between graphic design and architecture, the experience of designing in crowded cities such as London, and how being a small firm influences their design process. They offer the following advice to students about to enter the profession in a politically and socially turbulent time:

“It is very scary. I would say, exercise your democratic rights, protest, make your voices heard. Keep being idealistic because in the next few years you’ll be the people making these kinds of decisions. It’s really important that you don’t lose sight of the ideas that you have as a student.”

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7 April 2017
GSAPP Conversations: Hilary Sample

Episode #7
Hilary Sample of MOS Architects in Conversation with Amale Andraos

Dean Amale Andraos speaks with Professor Hilary Sample, who directs the Core Architecture Studios at Columbia GSAPP and is the co-founder of MOS Architects with her partner Michael Meredith. They discuss the lasting influence of Ordos 100 on the firm’s thinking, the role of representation, and how MOS Architects pursues an inclusive way of working and thinking while maintaining a purposefully small office. Sample directs GSAPP’s Housing Studio, which has a long tradition at the School and invites students to think across typologies and scales while considering a range of cultural, geographic, and environmental contexts. Sample speaks of the studio’s travel to Mexico, which coincided with the November 2016 Election, and the importance of considering New York City’s housing legacy in relation to global references.

“Students come here to look for a sense of being global citizens and being a part of a collective – even though we are in this incredible culture of individuals and individuality. At the heart of the Core, which is the primary thing I am teaching at the School, is that the students are thinking about how they are part of a collective, not just an individual. I think that’s been a big shift for the practice of architecture. It’s of course about finding your own identity within that, but also about how you really exist within a much broader realm – making architecture on one hand for yourself but also for others, and to think about that as a way forward.”
– Hilary Sample

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31 March 2017
GSAPP Conversations: Peter Cook

Episode #6
Peter Cook in Conversation with Jarrett Ley

Current Columbia GSAPP student Jarrett Ley speaks with Sir Peter Cook, one of the founders of the radical experimental group Archigram, who delivered a lecture at the School in the Spring 2017 Semester. They discuss architecture as a tool for shaping radical thought, the relationship of the current political climate in Britain, Europe, and the United States on architectural education and practice, and how the most interesting new architectural projects seem to come from unknown architects in smaller countries.

“I think architects ought to yell out more. I mean in the sense that we were not afraid to postulate certain ideas that were not fashionable, that were not discussed very much. … We felt that architecture was a hide-bound activity, that it was producing and living in this kind of straitjacket, a kind of gentlemanly straitjacket, a kind of comfortable, pleasant straitjacket. And we found that irritating."
– Sir Peter Cook on Archigram

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Read the transcript.

24 March 2017
GSAPP Conversations: Carlos Bayod Lucini and Adam Lowe

Episode #5
Carlos Bayod Lucini and Adam Lowe in Conversation with Jorge Otero-Pailos

Jorge Otero-Pailos, Director of Columbia GSAPP’s Historic Preservation Program, speaks with Carlos Bayod Lucini and Adam Lowe of Factum Arte. Based in Madrid, London and Milan, Factum Arte was founded by Lowe and has become internationally renowned for setting new standards in digital documentation and redefining the relationship between originality and authenticity. Lowe and Bayod Lucini jointly taught an advanced studio in Historic Preservation at Columbia GSAPP in the Fall of 2016, which involved the documentation of the medieval church of San Baudelio de Berlanga in Spain, as well as some of its paintings in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters.

They discuss the need for teaching students not only practical skills but also a conceptual understanding of how new technologies can be applied, the importance of recording of artefacts during times of peace, and Factum Arte’s work in creating of the first high resolution digital record of the Tomb of Seti I in Luxor, Egypt:
"...the Valley of the Kings was designed to last forever, but never to be visited..."
– Adam Lowe

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Read the transcript.

Upcoming Episodes

28 April 2017
GSAPP Conversations: Francine Houben

Episode #10
Francine Houben of Mecanoo in Conversation with Jorge Otero-Pailos

Jorge Otero-Pailos, director of Columbia GSAPP's Historic Preservation Program, speaks with Francine Houben of Mecanoo. Houben delivered the annual Paul S. Byard Memorial Lecture on April 17, 2017.
5 May 2017
GSAPP Conversations: Kate Orff

Episode #11
Kate Orff of SCAPE in Conversation with Amale Andraos

Dean Amale Andraos speaks with Kate Orff, who directs Columbia GSAPP's Urban Design Program and is founder of SCAPE studio.
GSAPP Conversations are produced by Columbia GSAPP’s Office of Communications and Events, in collaboration with ArchDaily.