Lecture date: 2006-02-01
As a response to the conversation between Peter Eisenman and Rem Koolhaas at the AA two days earlier, Jeff Kipnis and Robert Somol present their own statements regarding the critical practices of Eisenman and Koolhaas.
Mark Cousins moderates a conversation between them on the issues raised by their presentations. Both Kipnis and Somol have written extensively on the work of Eisenman and Koolhaas.
Jeff Kipnis is a critic, theorist, curator, filmmaker, and a Professor at the Knowlton School of Architecture, Ohio State University, and was the founder and first Director of the AA Graduate Design Group, the forerunner of the AADRL.
Robert Somol is Baumer Visiting Professor at the Knowlton School of Architecture and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California. He has also taught design and theory in the architecture programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Somol edited Autonomy and Ideology: Positioning an Avant-Garde in America (1997) which includes contributions by Eisenman and Koolhaas.
Lecture date: 2005-11-09
'As an alternative to a critical mode of disciplinarity, current efforts have come to fetishise technique under the various rubrics including 'research', 'expertise' and 'design intelligence'. A fully projective practice, however, will have to move off the faith in social or techno-sciences that an exotic site or a new technology appear to provide. Architecture isn't rocket (or any other) science. It's just politics.'
Robert Somol is Baumer Visiting Professor at Ohio State University. His publications include Autonomy and Ideology: Positioning an Avant-Garde in America and Diagram Diaries with Peter Eisenman.
Lecture given in G.01 Morwell Street.
A converstation on graphic architecture and plastic politics. Featuring: Neil Denari, Principal of NMDA and Chair of UCLA A.UD Robert Somol, Director of the School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago Moderated by Andrew Holder
Hosted by GSD 1202 Architecture Core IV Studio
Robert Somol characterizes his topic as the realignment of words and things, or more precisely books and buildings from the 1960s through the mid-1990s. He argues that two modes of engagement with language: indexical (words to read) and speech acts (words to look at) generated two different streams of architectural discourse. One stemming from Colin Rowe, and includes Hedjuk, Rossi, and Eisenman. The other from Reyner Banham, and includes Cedric Price, Venturi, and Koolhaas. Somol proposes Herzog and De Meuron as a hybrid of the two streams, and continues the discussion of words as language and words as things, illustrating his points with projects by Herzog and De Meuron with Rémy Zaugg. Somol contrasts the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennale with the State of Art of Architecture symposium held in Chicago 38 years earlier. Where earlier the goal was debating positions, the current emphasis is on presenting results. Somol argues that one symptom is a disconnect between the discourse of architects and their forms.
In five minutes each speaker delivers their argument for what they see as the key issue(s) in teaching architecture today. Theory, Social Concerns, Building Perfomance+Sustainablity, Parametrics, or Entrepreneurship? Should these be the drivers of architectural pedagogy?
Moderator: Alan Balfour, Georgia Tech
Participants: Daniel Friedman, University of Washington
William Braham, University of Pennsylvania
Darren Petrucci, Arizona State University
Kim Tanzer, University of Virginia
Dagmar Richter, Pratt Institute
Hernan Diaz Alonso, Southern California Institute of Arch.
Robert Somol, University of Illinois, Chicago
Robert Somol discusses the neo-avant garde in architecture, and on the importance of the diagram for introducing new models of reality. Somol documents what he refers to as a version of the history of architecture as a way to interrogate the pendulum swing between interest in reality and interest in representation. This version frames architecture as a continual solicitation and subversion of diagrams and promotes this method, employed by the second generation of the neo-avant garde, as the future of architecture.
UCLA A.UD Lecture Series 2014-2015: April 13, 2015
Director, School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago
Robert Somol is Director and Professor of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago. Somol, an architectural theorist focuses his research on modernism and its modes of repetition, the emergence of the diagram in postwar architecture, interior urbanism, and the development of graphic or cartoon protocols within contemporary architectural practices.