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rAADio is an investigation by Advanced Architectural Design students in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. As a cohort from a plurality of diverse backgrounds, we aim to observe the many polycentric entanglements of architecture. We explore the questions of how we expand the traditional role and associations of architecture between assemblages, interrelationships, bodies, and technologies; beyond simple scalar translations. For more information follow us on Instagram @gsapp_raadio.
Season 1
Season 1: 101 Dematerialization of the Body: Jorge Otero-Pailos

In this season’s first episode, death is posed as a question through the dematerialization of the body. Pabla Amigo (‘21 AAD) and Gabriela Junqueira Franco ('21 AAD) try to understand the implications of the dematerialization of bodies with our final resting places. Does the state of being alive only relate to the physical body? Can our bodies metamorphose into other forms? The praxis of understanding physical and digital space is complemented by an interview with Jorge Otero-Pailos, conducted by Ali El-Sinbawy ('21 AAD).

Jorge Otero-Pailos is Professor and Director of Historic Preservation at GSAPP. Otero-Pailos works on the intersection of art, architecture and preservation and as an artist he has been exploring the temporality of dust, pollution and their relationship to life, human activity and architectural legacy.

Season 1: 102 Materialization of Death: David Benjamin

Have you ever asked Mycelium what it wants to be? In Episode 002, Devansh Mehta (‘21 AAD) and Benjamin Akhavan ('21 AAD) question the materialization of death through the demonstration of humans exercising control over their own deaths. The materiality and deaths of other species to manipulate our death is complemented by the analysis of understanding the systems required to support the externalized material processes of bodies which humans use to avoid death. Marie-Christine Dimitri ('21 AAD) interviews David Benjamin to understand the ethical implications of using other species in our architecture.

David Benjamin is founding Principal of The Living and Associate Professor at Columbia GSAPP. Benjamin’s work combines research and practice, and focuses on the intersection of biology, computation, and design. His MoMA PS1 pavilion “Hy-Fi” changed the way architects think of organic matter (particularly mycelium) as a building material.

Season 1: 103 Death Environments: Karla Rothstein

Cultural perspectives of death have changed over time. This week, Michelle Clara (‘21 AAD) and Joel McCullough ('21 AAD) investigate how built environments have intersected with last rites ritual and the cultural associations. Philosophical notions of death and global views are explored across Benares, Copenhagen, and Pittsburgh. Michelle Clara interviews Karla Rothstein to understand new ways of understanding and experiencing cemeteries.

Karla Rothstein is an architect and an educator. Teaching graduate design studios at Columbia GSAPP for over eighteen years, Rothstein is Founder and Director of DeathLAB, a trans-disciplinary research and design initiative focused on reconceiving how we live with death in the city. Her areas of inquiry span the intimate spaces of urban life, death and memory, to intersections of social justice and infrastructure.

Season 2
Season 2: 201 Dissecting Conformity in Architectural Practice

In this second season of rAADio, we want to open the conversation about the expectations of architectural practice in academia and the workplace to show that a non conforming practice has many faces, and can be enacted in many ways. We centered the season around 3 questions:

Do we need to be sleep deprived to produce good architecture?,
Do we really need to accept precariousness to be a good architect?
Do we need to build at all to be an architect?

Our best hope is to begin to expose how we play a part in the networks that exploit our bodies, our labor, and our resources in order to fulfill the expectations of an increasingly demanding world.

Season 2: 202 Sleepless in Practice Part 1

“Sleepless in Practice” revolves around the question: Do we really need to be sleep deprived to produce good architecture?

In Part 1, we talk about the historic relationship between inspiration and sleeplessness, from the Greeks to the utopia of the sleepless soldier, and how these different ideas about sleep deprivation eventually get interwoven with issues of individuality and the consumer society we live in today.

Season 2: 203 Sleepless in Practice Part 2

“Sleepless in Practice” revolves around the question: Do we really need to be sleep deprived to produce good architecture?

In Part 2, we touch upon the polemics of the so-called 24/7 society and its relationship with architecture, remote work, digital and physical economies, and the relationship between productivity and happiness.

Season 2: 204 Resistance in Practice Part 1

In “Resistance in Practice” we circle around the question: Do we really need to accept precariousness to produce good architecture? This episode explores the many faces and consequences of the well established dichotomy between passion and profit in architecture.

Part 1 focuses in the realm of academia, where we usually first encounter the idea that architecture is not work if you are passionate enough. We also recollect the most recent attempts by student workers to achieve better labor conditions at universities.

Season 2: 205 Resistance in Practice Part 2

In “Resistance in Practice” we circle around the question: Do we really need to accept precariousness to produce good architecture? This episode explores the many faces and consequences of the well established dichotomy between passion and profit in architecture.

In Part 2, we shift our attention towards the work place. We talk about transitioning from academia to “the real world,” recent controversies in architecture offices, and unionizing as a crucial mode of resistance in an increasingly exploitive industry.

Season 2: 206 Misfits in Practice Part 1

What makes an architect an architect? What are architects without buildings? The third episode of this season, “Misfits in Practice,” is conceived around the question: Do we really need to build to be an architect?

In Part 1, we talk about the “paper architects” that left a mark in the field, images as tools, and the long lasting debate about architects being generalists or specialists.

Season 2: 207 Misfits in Practice Part 2

What makes an architect an architect? What are architects without buildings? The third episode of this season, “Misfits in Practice,” is conceived around the question: Do we really need to build to be an architect?

In Part 2, we discuss what might be role of the architect beyond the building. We explore some examples of architects rising above conventional architectural practice and finding success in other fields while using the skills developed in architecture as a crucial edge.

Season 2: 208 Bonus Episode: Dank Lloyd Wright

As an extension of Episodes 006 and 007, “Resistance in Practice,” we speak with two admins of Dank Lloyd Wright (DLLW), one of the most well-known architecture pages of the digital realm. They have been relentlessly exposing issues of labor exploitation and unionization in architecture through a language that connects a multigenerational crowd: memes. We ask them why they think it is so difficult to unionize in architecture, their thoughts on the dichotomy between teaching and office work, and how they see DLLW’s role within the current climate of crisis and change.

Season 3
Season 3: 301 Opener

“The Opener” episode of rAADio sets the stage for the third season’s exploration of ethics in architecture. The hosts discuss the significance of biennales and their themes, expressing a desire for these events to be more in touch with current politics and ethics. We reflect on the 2000 biennale’s theme of “Less Aesthetic, More Ethics” and emphasize the need to revisit and redefine ethics in architecture. Throughout the season, we aim to uncover ethics in various aspects such as labor, technology, and disciplines, addressing topics like the Biennales and their pomp and show, gap between academia and practice, the unethical side of AI, the invisibility of labor, and the struggles of unions. We invite listeners to join them in exploring the meaning of ethics in architectural practice, profession, and academia.

Season 3: 302 White Noise

In “White Noise”, Zhuofei Tang and Alejandro Marin discuss the relationship between ethics and architecture beyond the physical buildings. They explore the implications of architects taking on roles as curators, artists, and exhibitioners, and the changing dynamics of ethics in contemporary society compared to two decades ago. They are joined by guest Emanuel Admasu, a professor at GSAPP and a member of the Black Reconstruction Collective. Admasu discusses the concepts of architecture’s content and container, and how his work reframes ethics by addressing political and cultural dynamics within art and architecture. They delve into Admasu’s project “Immeasurability” and its exploration of architecture, blackness, and activism. They also discuss the role of activism in their work and the ethical implications of collaboration in a global context. The conversation raises questions about the balance between activism and raising consciousness through design and the potential for transformative impact in the world.

Season 3: 303 The Gap

In “The Gap”, Maria Candelaria Ryberg and Armita Peirovani discuss the ethical gap between academia and practice in architecture. They explore the implications of this gap and question whether it is the answer to solving ethical dilemmas in the field. They examine the historical context of the gap and how the role of architects has evolved over time. The hosts highlight the tension between theoretical knowledge taught in academia and the practical application of that knowledge in the real world. They delve into the licensing process and the expectations placed on recent graduates, as well as the challenges of bridging the gap between theory and practice.

Season 3: 304 Let’s ask ChatGPT

In “Let’s ask ChatGPT”, Andy El Set and Maria Candelaria Ryberg discuss the role of technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), in architecture and its ethical implications. They explore the use of AI in architectural design, simulation, and generative tools like Chat GPT and Midjourney. The hosts raise questions about the ethical response to new technology and how it can mediate ethics in architecture. They discuss the risks and limitations of AI, including biases, opacity, and unpredictable outcomes. The episode touches on the Blueprint - AI Bill of Rights and the importance of anchoring AI principles over time. The hosts also delve into the challenges of AI policy consultation, increasing public awareness, and ensuring the safety and effectiveness of automated systems, as well as addressing the issue of authorship in generative AI and the potential biases embedded in AI systems.

Season 3: 305 Labour in Limbo

In “Labour in Limbo”, Francisca Alliende and Simran Raswant delve into the topic of labor practices, rights, and ethics in the field of architecture. They start by discussing the labor conditions surrounding the construction of stadiums for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, highlighting the challenges faced by migrant workers and the exploitative Kafala system. The hosts question the ethical implications of prioritizing iconic projects over basic human rights and explore the responsibility of architects and architecture firms in addressing labor issues. They also reflect on the disconnect between architectural education and the labor force, emphasizing the need for better integration and collaboration with workers.

Season 3: 306 Material World

In “Material World”, Simran Raswant and Francisca Alliende Covarrubias explore the ethical implications of the materials used in architecture and the supply chains that produce them. They discuss the invisibility and lack of transparency surrounding global supply chains, which often involve unethical labor practices and forced labor. The hosts highlight the need for architects to challenge preconceptions and expand their scope of action in addressing these issues. They reference the Design For Freedom report, which exposes forced labor in building material supply chains, and discuss the role of architects in avoiding the subsidization of unethical practices. The episode emphasizes the importance of awareness, certifications, and design thinking in promoting ethical practices, as well as the need to revisit and redefine the codes of conduct that guide the architectural profession.

Season 3: 307 To Be or Not to Be

In this episode of rAADio, Armita Peirovani, and Alejandro Marin discuss the ethics surrounding fair compensation and the question of whether architects should unionize or not. They highlight the recent conversations and movements around unions in the architectural profession, referencing the unionization efforts at Bernheimer Architects and the New York Times article on architects confronting their bosses. The hosts draw parallels between the struggles of architects and other professions, such as Hollywood screenwriters, who have used unions to demand better pay and working conditions. They explore the complex dynamics of compensation, authorship, and work-life balance in the field of architecture. The episode delves into the distinction between white-collar and blue-collar jobs, challenging the outdated categorization and advocating for the recognition of all workers’ needs. The hosts emphasize the importance of solidarity and collective action in achieving better pay and benefits for architects.

Season 3: 308 Round Table

In the final episode of rAADio “Round Table”, we all engage in a reflective and lively discussion about the topics covered throughout the season. The episode explores the themes of labor, technology, and disciplines in relation to ethics in architecture.

We emphasize the need for the architectural practice to question and evolve in a way that aligns with collective values. We reflect on the struggles and challenges faced in addressing ethics in architecture, both within the profession and in relation to external factors such as biennales and issues of labor and migration. We share our own personal perspectives on what an ethical architectural practice means to us, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity, equality, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

rAADio is brought to you by the guidance of Dean Andres Jaque, former dean Dean Weiping Wu, AAD Assistant Director Xiaoxi Chen, Director & Producer Max Lauter, and Composer & Lead Audio Engineer Alex Hamadey.

rAADio is developed, directed, and produced by:

Season 1 (founders): Benjamin Akhavan, Pabla Amigo, Angel Castillo, Michelle Clara, Marie Christine Dimitri, Ali ElSinbawy, Gabriela Junqueira Franco, Joel McCullough, and Devansh Mehta.

Season 2: Aahana Banker, Daniela Beraun, Rocio Crosetto Brizzio, Leon Duval, Dhruva Viswaraj Lakshminarayanan, Malavika Madhuraj, and Hyuein Song.

Season 3: Francisca Alliende,Alejandro Marin, Armita Peirovani, Simran Raswant, Maria Candelaria Ryberg, Andy El Set, and Zhoufei Tang.

Thanks to Recording Engineers Timothy Jacob Kwasny (Season 1), Anthony Sertel Dean (Season 2), and Alana de Vito (Season 3).