Race is a painfully awkward topic in architecture, while culture remains the go-to book for, uh, copying. David Adjaye, the Ghanian architect born in Tanzania, said in an interview with New York Magazine in 2007, “If a Japanese architect talks about Shintoism, everyone goes, ‘Wow.’ If an African architect talks about an African village, it is somehow weird in the Western context. I find that hilarious. What’s the difference?” Adjaye, a prodigiously talented architect who last week won the Smithsonian commission to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture, is unfortunately a good example of how uncomfortable the architectural discourse is with race.
“It’s not like any other conference you’ve been to,” promised Prof. Lisa Patti, film, speaking of the film conference held at Cornell this past Friday and Saturday. Indeed, the unique structure of the conference was readily apparent after merely a brief glance at the program of events — unlike other conferences that focus on a keynote speech and subsequent panel discussions, this conference had no keynote speech and was structured around a series of film viewings and group discussions which — though led by a discussion chair and series of panelists — included heavy audience participation.
There is a question that plagues architects: “Is the building in the drawing or the built work?” Since much of architecture happens on paper and in scale models, architects have had to confront the issue of scale again and again. Architecture students rarely build their assignments in life-scale, rather opting for more wieldy sizes. A handful of professional architects are as famous for their works on paper as they are for their built works — Lebbeus Woods, notably, as well as L.A.-based firm Morphosis.
An elegant woman takes the seat in front of me to talk to a man. She is sharply dressed, the dark combination of her clothing offset by a perfectly coiled blonde bun, red lipstick, light skin and the sharpness of her cheekbones.
“Why are you sitting all the way back here?” the man asks her.
“I am just here until I dance,” she answers.
The dragon lives on, as this year’s annual celebration of Dragon Day culminated in the burning of a symbolic nest, instead of the usual destruction of the first-year architects’ creation. Endowed with moving wings, claws and heads, this year’s dragon was instead able to escape the fire, finding refuge in Rand Hall instead.
In honor of the 108-year old tradition, the dragon journeyed across Central Campus on Friday, just as Spring Break began. Starting at Rand Hall, the dragon traveled up University Ave, down East Ave, and then made a right onto Campus Rd. As the fiery red dragon passed the Engineering Quad, the engineers unveiled their creation, a bright yellow phoenix. Finally, the dragon made its way to the Arts Quad.
As the architecture students prepare to emerge from Rand Hall, possibly for the first time since January, they will be bringing with them a large unwieldy beast. Dragon Day, the historic day when first year architects parade a mystical creature of their creation around campus, will commence as most students prepare to depart for the break.
You may have seen the publicity around campus — silver eggs being handed out on Ho Plaza, mysterious semi-naked individuals running through your classes covered in green paint and a line of butts up against the Fish Bowl earlier this week. That’s right, this year’s crop of first year architects, body parts and all, have run wild with the recent and historic traditions associated with Dragon Day.
Eyes of the Flaneuse: Women Photographers of New York City
Johnson Museum of Art
Thursday Mar. 12, 5:15 p.m.
In conclusion of the Johnson’s exhibit “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History,” Prof. Mary Woods, a professor from the College of Architecture, Art and Planning will be speaking about a series of female photographers from the early 20th century. Woods’ brings a critical eye towards the stereotypical understanding of architecture and urbanism through her interest in photography, film and other representations of American culture. Give this timely union of art and feminism a spin; it’s Women’s History Month, after all. — A.L.
Ithaca Ink Shop
Mar. 6 – Mar. 27
A self-confessed “music nerd”, Adrianne Ngam ’13 loves to find humor in every little thing she does, be it playing doo-wop beats on the cello or designing a soaring skyscraper, and considers music more personal than professional. Sitting across a table in The Green Dragon, every architect’s favorite hangout spot, this winner of the fifth annual Cornell Concerto Competition and guest performer at the Cornell Symphony Orchestra’s recent concert talks about her passion, her profession and their confluence.
Sun: What was it about the cello that attracted you?
After students protested earlier this week over the lack of transparency within the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, students, faculty and administrators gathered yesterday in Sibley Hall to discuss concerns regarding the future path of the college.
Issues raised included the selection process of a new architecture department chair, the lack of tenured faculty, the relationship between permanent and visiting faculty, the transparency of the administration and the morale of the college.
The meeting came just several days after architecture students plastered signs inside and outside Sibley Hall criticizing the College for insufficient communication.
On Wednesday, Feb 19, The Sun sat down with Peter Eisenman ’55, who was in town for a week as the Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of ’58 Professor. The perenially hard-to-define architect spoke about everything from football in Arizona to why the media loves him.
The Sun: Your work has sometimes been criticized for being hostile to its viewers, while other people see your work breaking open new spaces of possibility. I was wondering: do you design buildings for people?