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.
Sharon Egretta Sutton in Conversation with Mabel O. Wilson
In remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the student protests at Columbia University in May 1968, we are rebroadcasting our conversation from last March with architect and Columbia alumna Sharon Egretta Sutton (‘73 M.Arch). Sutton spoke with Columbia GSAPP Associate Professor Mabel O. Wilson ('91 M.Arch) about the publication of her book, When Ivory Towers Were Black, which tells the story of how an unparalleled cohort of ethnic minority students earned degrees from Columbia University’s School of Architecture in the aftermath of '68, and during a time of fierce struggles to open the ivory tower to ethnic minority students.
“Social justice in this case is occurring on two levels: the one is opening up the elite professions to historically marginalized students; the other is using institutional resources to improve historically marginalized populations. And that has been my life agenda.”
- Sharon Egretta Sutton
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 … architecture really shapes people’s lives, and people really do relate to architecture in every aspect of their being.”
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.