The Department of Architecture at Portland State University proudly announces its inaugural lecture series, titled ‘Firsts.’ The series spans the 2011-2012 academic year, beginning October 6, with presentations by six notable academics, artists and professionals in architectural practice worldwide: Petra Kempf, John Ochsendorf, Gilles Saucier, Jeremy Till, Sarah Wigglesworth and Paul Pfeiffer. The concepts of origins and beginnings, long a subject of interest among architects, will be explored throughout the series of lectures. As the Greek word Arche (meaning ‘first cause’) is at the root of the word architecture, the guest lecturers will discuss their own ‘first causes’—the spark that led them to follow their career path—as part of their presentations. The lectures in the series begin at 7pm in the Shattuck Hall Annex at Portland State University (at SW Broadway and Hall Streets) and are free to the public. More information on the lecture series after the break.
Thursday, October 6, 2011 Petra Kempf, Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University, New York Petra Kempf, Ph.D., is a practicing architect and urban designer based in New York. She is the founder of URBANTRANSITS, an interdisciplinary research initiative focusing on the transient nature of cities. She has worked with the Department of City Planning in New York City, the Project for Public Spaces and Richard Meier and Partners. She currently teaches at Columbia University and has taught at Cornell University, Parsons School of Design and the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany. She is the author of You Are the City (2009) and (K)ein Ort Nirgends—Der Transitraum im urbanen Netzwerk (2010). Thursday, October 20, 2011 John Ochsendorf, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts John Ochsendorf is an engineer and educator specializing in the history and technology of historic structures. He has studied a variety of alternative engineering traditions, induding Guastavino thin tile vaulting and the hand-woven, fiber suspension bridges of the Inca Empire. He is the first engineer to be awarded a Rome Prize (2007) and the first structural engineer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (2008). He currently teaches architecture and civil and environmental engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thursday, February 23, 2012 Gilles Saucier, Principal, Saucier + Perrotte Architects, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Gilles Saucier is Design Partner of Saucier + Perrotte Architects and an invited professor and critic at a number of Canadian and American universities, most recently at MIT in 2011. Saucier + Perrotte Architects, founded in 1988, is an internationally renowned multidisciplinary design practice that has been honored with numerous awards and published worldwide. From the beginning, Saucier + Perrotte Architects has integrally linked its architecture to geology and the landscape, stressing the physical and symbolic importance of site. The firm represented Canada at the Architecture Biennale of Venice in 2004, and in 2009 it received the RAIC Award of Excellence for Best Architectural Firm in Canada. Thursday, April 19, 2012 Jeremy Till, Dean of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster, London, UK Jeremy Till has pursued a dual life as an architect and an educator. Till curated the British Pavilion at the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale and is the only person to be twice awarded the RIBA President’s Award for Research. He is the author of Architecture Depends (2009), a series of polemics and reflections that call attention to the gap between what architecture actually is—contingent on many outside forces—and what architects seem to want it to be—autonomous and pure. As Till succinctly puts it: “Architecture, in all its dependency, has to remain open.” Friday, April 20, 2012 Sarah Wigglesworth, Director, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, London, UK Sarah Wigglesworth founded Sarah Wigglesworth Architects in London in 1994. As an architect, Wigglesworth strives to amplify the representation of women—as clients, users and architects—in the shaping of the built environment. Her work has been published and exhibited internationally, and she has lectured worldwide. Wigglesworth’s work is acknowledged as a rising influence in British architecture: in 2004 she was awarded an MBE for services to architecture, the same year that the firm’s “Straw House” at 9 Stock Orchard Street in London won two RIBA awards for its innovative sustainability technologies—many of which were being used in an urban context for the first time. She is Professor of Architecture at the University of Sheffield. Thursday, May 17, 2012 Paul Pfeiffer, Paul Pfeiffer Studio, New York Paul Pfeiffer is a New York–based artist whose groundbreaking work in video, sculpture and photography uses recent computer technologies to examine the role that the mass media plays in shaping consciousness. Pfeiffer prompts audiences to reconsider attitudes about the body, race, identity, faith and architectural space in contemporary society. His work has been exhibited internationally at renowned museums and galleries and is in private and public collections worldwide. He is the recipient of numerous awards and, notably, he is the inaugural recipient of the Bucksbaum Award, given by the Whitney Museum of American Art (2000).