A symposium to mark the publication of Eric Goldemberg's book, Pulsation in Architecture, brought together the book's contributors with Columbia University GSAPP faculty in order to discuss the evolution of the digital design culture, originally spawned at Columbia's GSAPP program in the early 90s.
Panelists included Bernard Tschumi, Hernan Diaz Alonso, David Benjamin, Ali Rahim, David Ruy, Ferda Kolatan, Matias del Campo, and Mark Gage. Moderated by Galia Solomonoff and Eric Goldemberg.
This book release/symposium was organized into two main suites: the first half was focused on a kind of generational self-reflection, looking back at the school throughout the 1990s and into the present. The second half looked at formal continuities (and discontinuities) between today and the GSAPP of the 1990s.
Recorded: March 23, 2011
The New York-based office of David Ruy and Karel Klein, Ruy Klein, examines contemporary design problems “at the intersection of architecture, nature, and technology.” In this excerpt from their lecture they discuss “Knot Garden,” a proposal for PS1 Queens, NY; and “Klex,” their ongoing experiments with developing ornamentation through digital modeling. The office describes its investigations within this context: “The devastating technological changes of the last century have marked unusual territories of material production where artificial and natural systems share vague, overlapping boundaries. As architecture grapples with new synthetic regimes, the uncertainties of contemporary material practices unexpectedly opens unexplored possibilities for aesthetic experience and a renegotiation of architecture’s meaning structures.” Ruy Klein’s work includes “Klex,” “Biaxial Bouquet,” and “Knot Garden,” a proposal for PS1. In 2009, Surface Magazine honored the office with the Avant Guardian Award. The office has been a finalist for both the Young Architects Program at MoMA/PS1 and for the Iakov Chernikov Prize.
The Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices Award spotlights North American individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The work of each Emerging Voice represents the best of its kind, and addresses larger issues within architecture, landscape, and the built environment.
Ferda Kolatan [Founding Director su11/Associate Professor of Practice – PennDesign] joins Erik Ghenoiu [Research + Learning Assessment Coordinator – SCI-Arc] and David Ruy [Director Ruy Klein/Postgraduate Programs Chair – SCI-Arc] to discuss the relationship between concept and form in architecture and the future of architectural pedagogy.
David Ruy traces a tradition of discontinuous collage from the first synthetic cubist works of Picasso and Braque, through classic examples such as Richard Hamilton’s “Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?” (1956) and David Hockney’s Polaroid composite “Still Life Blue Guitar, 4th April 1982”. Ruy presents Nancy Burson’s 1983 “Warhead I,” as an example of an alternative tradition of continuous collage. Ruy argues that the approach to images in this tradition is ubiquitous, found in tools like Google Image Search. Ruy offers a passage from Walter Benjamin’s “Work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction” as a preface to some contemporary photographers whose work demonstrates different modes of continuous collage, including Andreas Gursky, James Dive, Heide Hatry, Cedric Delsaux, Clay Lipsky, Filip Dujardin, Philipp Schaerer. Ruy concludes with a passage from Jacques Rancière’s Aesthetics and its Discontents, on the vicious circle of critical art, from which collage might offer a constructive alternative.
Peter Trummer begins by asking what would the real political content of collage today? He explores the question by surveying the most significant theoretical approaches to urbanism that engage collage. Rowe and Koetter’s Collage City (1979) explores the pre-modern, modernist and post-modern city in a formalist approach, where content lies in form: specifically as different versions of figure/ground problem. Peter Eisenman’s Rebstockpark (1990-1) project and Rem Koolhaas’ Delirious New York (1978) are based on the premise that any content can be put into any form. Both content and form are free-floating signifiers in Bernard Tschumi Manhattan Transcripts (1976-81). Tschumi proposes that objects (architecture), movements, and events are all interchangeable.
David Ruy of the firm Ruy Klein discusses their unrealized 2007 Knot Garden project for P.S. 1 in terms of the new terrain of the technological sublime. The application of macramé and nautical knotting required Ruy and his partner Karel Klein to devise novel means of modeling, rendering and scripting.
Ruy critiques the ubiquitous discourse of networks and fields in architecture as a rejection of the object. Ruy characterizes this as a position that weakens architecture, that relies on ill-founded attitudes about nature, the environment and human interaction. He opposes this kind of systems thinking with the philosopher Graham Harmon, who argues that things are more than the sum of their relationships.
Ruy discusses his Rorschach-influenced projects, and Klex 1 and 4 for the 2008 Matters of Sensation exhibit in terms of an impersonal methodology generating forms that prompt diverse responses. He frames a discussion of the Bioprinting synthentic skin experiments, collaborating with biologists at Gen Space in Brooklyn, with the story of Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose donated tumor cells after her death in 1951 remain in use in labs throughout the world.
Hernan Diaz Alonso introduces the event as a new format of review for the post-grad programs that addresses the full complexity of the issues.
David Ruy identifies machine vision and artificial intelligence as the main issues of this session of Architectural Technologies. What does it mean for a machine to see? To think? What is the role of the designer, working with mechanized collaborators?
Marcelo Spina and Casey Rehm outline the 2016-7 session of Architectural Technology, “Distortions and alterations of the real: the attraction of unexpected machines”. To avoid operating in a vacuum, they grounded the investigation into machine vision and artificial intelligence with a real site, the 1931 Lincoln Heights Jail, closed since 1965. Students explored the site in a 2D machine vision exercise, followed by a point cloud scan of the site, scripted manipulations of the data, and recomposited images back into the site.
Spina and Rehm present student projects:
•José David Mejias & Daniel Horowitz, “Crypto-Architecture”
•Moheb Hezkial & Shabnam Moravveji, “Resurgence”
•Zihua Chen, “Half Half”
•Burcin Nalinci & Sanhita Vartak, “Biophlia”
•Soham Doshi, “Robotic Assembly”
•Arsenios Zachariadis & Hsiao-Chiao Peng, “Fug They”
David Ruy, Marcelyn Gow, Marcelo Spina, Casey Rehm, Robert Stuart-Smith, Ferda Kolatan discuss issues raised by the presentation, including the case of machine vision and artificial intelligence as demonstrated in automated cars, the agency of the designer, ethics, automation, machine collaboration, internet of things, programming, and originality.
Hernan Diaz Alonso and David Ruy introduce the event. Ruy characterizes Fiction & Entertainment as the Edge program devoted to developing an entirely new kind of architectural discourse.
Liam Young describes the program as an experiment based on the premise that the way we perceive the spaces around us is largely determined by media, and that architects should work in this shared language of films, games, literature, and VR to document existing conditions, project trends, and prototype new worlds.
Young screens the final film projects by Pierce Myers, Tim Wei, Ami Mi, Khevna Shah, Devin Gharakhanian, and Jiansen Huang.
After the screening, the students are joined by Laura Cabo, Ruthie Doyle, Peter Frankfurt, Alexandra Holcomb, Geoff Manaugh, Alex McDowell, Matthew Shaw, Jesse Warfield, and Holly Willis. Their discussion covers issues including place-making, narrative, dystopia, optimism, the technological generational divide, technological solutionism, audiences, future media, visions of the future, and modeling.
Hernan Diaz Alonso introduces the event as a new format of review for each of the four post-grad programs. Rather than focus on individual works, the goal is to address the full complexity of the issues.
David Ruy describes the format, in which Design of Cities instructor Peter Trummer will present the problem and issues, and describe students’ projects. This will be followed by a panel discussion
Peter Trummer describes the 2016-7 Design of Cities program as an investigation into what cities might be in the age of the hyper-object. He argues that cities are already developing forms in response to non-human needs—not only finance, but robots, environmental and other phenomena.
Trummer characterizes their method as a departure from three historical approaches to the city. The Empiricism of Ildefons Cerdà orchestrated infrastructure, and approached functions and citizens as statistical phenomena. The Essentialism of Aldo Rossi (and Oswald Mathias Ungers) argued that cities had already created artifacts (typologies) that embodied the essence of a place, and which could be abstracted into new forms. The Surrealism of Rem Koolhaas also appropriated already existing artifacts, but with the goal of creating something unprecedented. Trummer describes their approach as Realism, in which cities were examined for already-existing new models of urbanism.
Based on this research, each of the five students created a design of a different proposition about the city:
• The Machinic City (Yen-Ting Lin)
• The Mountain City (Siva Sepehry Nejad)
• The Fake City (Yagmur Kaptan)
• The Desert City (Marco Tadros)
• The Biomorphic City (Adrianne Ott)
After Trummer’s presentation, the panel (Hernan Diaz Alonso, David Ruy, Peter Trummer, John Enright, Erik Ghenoiu, Eric Owen Moss, Matthew Soules, Marrikka Trotter) responds with a discussion of post-humanism vs post-humanist, goals, finance capital, and the role of design.
Hernan Diaz Alonso talks with David Ruy and Karel Klein about their exhibition Apophenia, on view in the SCI-Arc Gallery November 17 to December 17, 2017. David Ruy begins by acknowledging the help of students, former students, fabricators, and others who made the exhibit possible.
Diaz Alonso asks if Apophenia is an exhibit or an installation, prompting a discussion of how Ruy and Klein’s ideas developed over time through different technologies and media, the contrast between the conventional presentation and the uncanny objects, the contrast between the images and the models, and the contrast between the work produced by manipulating GIS software and 3D digital painting and sculpting software and the work produced by AI.
The conversation touches on issues of the uncanny, defamiliarization, fiction versus reality, appropriation, models and miniatures as platforms for proposed new reality, and – as signaled by the project’s title – the construction of meaning.
Klein and Ruy respond to comments from the audience concerning authenticity, here-ness, image resolution, and the ambition to find a way out of media satiation toward re-enchantment.
David Ruy, Pratt Institute & Lola Sheppard, U. of Waterloo
John May, U. of Toronto
Caroline O’Donnell, Cornell U.
Maya Przybylski, U. of Waterloo
Matthew Soules, U. of British Columbia
Rob Stuart-Smith, Architectural Association School of Architecture
The session invites a group of conference participants to assess recent experiments at the periphery of that which can be called architecture. Why is it important for institutions to support these experiments? Does it remain necessary to distinguish these experiments from what's understood as the core curriculum? If so, how should we understand the relationships between the centers and the peripheries? Can we point ahead to experiments that have not yet been conducted?
David Ruy, Pratt Institute
Lola Sheppard, University of Waterloo
Lydia Kallipoliti, Syracuse U. Michael Osman, UCLA
Rhett Russo, NJIT
Clark Thenhaus, U. of Michigan
The session invites a selection of moderators, paper presenters, and project authors from the conference to have a speculative discussion about the state of the core curriculum today.