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Renzo Piano's Columbia University Science Center to Open Next Year

The first phase of Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Renzo Piano Building Workshop's (RPBW) expansive Manhattanville Campus plan for Columbia University is making significant progress; completion is nearing on a highly-anticipated portion of the project - RPBW's LEED platinum Jerome L. Greene Science Center, which is scheduled to open in Fall of 2016 just six miles North of the practice's soon-to-open Whitney Museum

More on the mixed-use structure after the break.

South facade. Image © Field Condition Southeast corner. Image © Field Condition Exterior Rendering. Image Courtesy of RPBW Exterior Rendering. Image Courtesy of RPBW

The Interface of the Afterlife: Examining Cemeteries and Mausoleums in the 21st Century

The relationship between immortality and architecture is ancient one. Writing in The New Yorker, Alexandra Lange discusses the past and future of cemetery design in relation to a new exhibition on display in New York. Featuring a selection of 1300 individual mausoleum designs stored in Columbia University's archives, Lange notes how "patrons weren’t picky about originality. In the late nineteenth century, memorial companies might just bring back a shipment of angels from Carrara to be distributed among future clients." These "rural estates in miniature" eventually gave way to more contemporary designs which dabbled in Realism and Cubism. What will the people of today house their remains in? For Lange, "the design we take personal pleasure from everyday is now less likely to be architecture and more likely to be an interface." Read the article in full here.

And the Best US Architecture Schools for 2015 Are…

DesignIntelligence has released their 2015 rankings of the Best US Architecture Schools for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Over 1,400 professional practice organizations were surveyed and asked to respond to the question: “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which of the following schools are best preparing students for success in the profession?” In addition, more than 3,800 architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design students were also surveyed about their education, in data presented separately from the rankings.

However, perhaps more enlightening than the ranking itself are the firms' responses to several additional issues raised in the report.  For example, 54.6% of the firms surveyed selected sustainability and climate change as the professions’ biggest concern, while maintaining design quality was a close second.  Firms also provided insights on the most important qualities of new graduates entering the workplace, with an overwhelming 70.1% selecting attitude/personality as the most important attribute. 

Read on after the break for the Top 10 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Event: "House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate"

House Housing is the first public presentation of a multi-year research project conducted by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. Situated in the Casa Muraro in Venice and staged as an open house, the exhibition responds unsolicited to the proposal by Rem Koolhaas, curator of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, that architecture focus on its "fundamentals."

Are Ivy League Schools Really Offering the Best Architectural Education?

In Design Intelligence's annual rankings of US Architecture Schools, released earlier this month, there is certainly a lot to talk about. Of course, plenty will be said about what is shown immediately by the statistics, and rightly so - but just as interesting is what is revealed between the lines of this report, about the schools themselves and the culture they exist within. By taking the opinions of professional architects, teachers and students, the Design Intelligence report exposes a complex network which, when examined closely enough, reveals what some might see as a worrying trend within architectural education.

From STEM To STEAM: The Value of Art

In a recent article for the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Barney Mansavage champions the idea of transforming STEM into STEAM (Science, Technology, ART, and Mathematics). He argues that overlapping science and art helps launch cross-disciplinary conversations and relationships, and in turn, promote experimentation; he thus suggests that educational spaces be designed to bring these fields together. Check out the article here, and more about the TED talk that inspired it, here.

Mark Wigley Steps Down as Dean of Columbia University's GSAPP

Mark Wigley announced Monday that he will be stepping down as dean of Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at the end of the academic year in 2014. 

A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America

Last monday, Columbia University's Avery Hall was buzzing. 

The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) hosted a highly attended event that welcomed respected academics and professionals from architecture and real estate to what the dean, Mark Wigley, warned might take the form a a celebrity roast. Vishaan Chakrabarti, a partner at SHoP Architects and director of the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia, was on deck to deliver an abridged, more "urban version" of a longer lecture on his new book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America. Proceeding the twenty minute lecture, an "A-list" panel of architects and historians -  that included Kenneth Frampton, Gwendolyn Wright, Bernard Tschumi, Laurie Hawkinson and Reinhold Martin - lined up to discuss Chakrabarti's work.

AD Interviews: Saskia Sassen

Sociologist Saskia Sassen's researches and writes about the social, economic and political dimensions of globalization, immigration, and networked technologies in cities around the globe. Her books and writings—published in over sixteen languages—have sustained the interests of architects and planners who seek to better understand the city via the systemic conditions that find expression in the reality of urban space.

Now actively involved in teaching Columbia University, we caught up with Sassen at the Arquine Congress in Mexico City, where she shared some interesting views on the role of architects, her contemplations on the future of the city, and her thoughts on the impact of the internet on the city.

Check out a full transcript of our interview with Sassen after the break.

Video: Steven Holl on Columbia University's Campbell Sports Center

Legendary American architect Steven Holl has collaborated again with Spirit of Space to produce two short videos on the recently completed Campbell Sports Center in New York City. While always compelling to hear an architect discuss a project, these videos integrate the architect's narration with different dynamic shots of the building's detail and context, thus truly immersing the viewer in the project. 

The first video (above) features Steven Holl and senior partner Chris McVoy explaining the project's inspiration, design concept and program; simultaneously, the filmmakers take us into the space and show how the new athletic facility is being used by the student athletes. The second, shorter, video (after the break) shows the building in the city, revealing the fascinatingly complex relationship between the passing subway cars, the field hockey players, the movement of shadows and the building itself.

See the second video, after the break...

A:LOG : A Notebook Designed Just for Architects

Three graduate architecture students at Columbia University have developed a revolutionary notebook designed specifically for architects. "A:LOG is not just a nifty architect’s notebook," they say. "It is a thoughtful collection of design and architectural standards packaged into a minimal soft-cover notebook with beautiful dotted paper for drawing. It’s an architectural reference guide that you can bring with you on the go, in the office, or at meetings."

Learn more about A:LOG after the break!

Assess: Who Cares for Chilean Cities?

“Assess: Chile at Columbia” is an initiative led by the Latin Lab at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation’s (GSAPP) of Columbia University that discusses, in several formats, the state of contemporary cities in the southern country by addressing the question: who cares for Chilean cities?

This project aims to raise questions and skip external, often patronizing understandings of Chilean practices. To do so, “Assess: Chile at Columbia” invites Chilean scholars who— closely in touch with both national practices and international debates in the fields of architecture, public space, and urban projects—are uniquely positioned to initiate a critical conversation.

Distinguished Chilean scholars Luis Eduardo Bresciani, Romy Hecht, and Rodrigo Pérez de Arce selected three projects to represent each of the aforementioned categories in the exhibition Answers form Architecture, Public Space and Urban Projects, to be held on the 100 Level of Avery Hall. This show will inform the Conference “Who cares for Chilean cities?,” at which renowned US-based scholars Saskia Sassen, Stan Allen, and Iñaki Ábalos will assess the topics and works presented by their Chilean peers, opening up a further discussion moderated by GSAPP faculty Clara Irazábal, Galia Solomonoff, and Enrique Walker.

Event: Buell Center at Columbia University presents “Comments on Comments”

How do we talk about architecture? Housing? Cities? Culture? Politics? And, equally important, how don’t we talk about them? Comments on Foreclosed, a forthcoming book and online archive of public reactions to Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, a 2012 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that was co-curated by the Buell Center, has been produced to document just this kind of public discussion and the various platforms that shape it. On February 18th, The Buell Center will mark the completion of the book and website, www.commentsonforeclosed.com, with a public event, “Comments on Comments”.  A performance of excerpts from the archive will open a multimedia panel discussion and Q&A.  In so doing, certain gaps in the public conversation on American housing and urbanism will be identified, and systemic deficiencies called out.

Frank Lloyd Wright Archives relocate to New York

Frank Lloyd Wright by JOHN AMARANTIDES, 1955.  ”The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)”
Frank Lloyd Wright by JOHN AMARANTIDES, 1955. ”The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)”

The Museum of Modern Art, Columbia University and The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have announced that the vast archives of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) have been jointly acquired by the University and the Museum and will become part of their permanent collections. The archive, which includes some 23,000 architectural drawings, 44,000 historical photographs, large-scale models, manuscripts, extensive correspondence and other documents, has remained in storage at Wright’s former headquarters – Taliesin (Spring Green, WI) and Taliesin West (Scottsdale, AZ) – since his death. Moving the archives to New York will maximize the visibility and research value of the collection for generations of scholars, students and the public. “The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation takes seriously its responsibility to serve the public good by ensuring the best possible conservation, accessibility, and impact of one of the most important and meaningful archives in the world,” said Sean Malone, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “Given the individual strengths, resources and abilities of the Foundation, MoMA and Columbia, it became clear that this collaborative stewardship is far and away the best way to guarantee the deepest impact, the highest level of conservation and the best public access.” Continue after the break for more images and an informative video. 

We Are Here Now / Spatial Information Design Lab / Columbia University

New York © Spatial Information Design Lab
New York © Spatial Information Design Lab

Addicted to checking your favorite site, like ArchDaily, for constant updates, or checking in with Facebook or Foursquare? Don’t worry – you’re not alone, and Columbia’s Spatial Information Design Lab can prove it.  In addition to sharing your whereabouts with friends, your geographic mark provides valuable insight in examining the psycho-geography and economic terrain of the city. More about the study after the break.

'Interpretations: Promiscuous Encounters' Symposium

The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University will be holding the Interpretations: Promiscuous Encounters Syposium taking place Friday, March 23rd from 12:00pm – 8:30pm. Promiscuous Encounters, which is free and open to the public, has two main ambitions: first, to examine the fascinating blurriness and productive interplay between the critical, curatorial and conceptual capacities of architecture, including how and where they intersect and overlap and, second, to expand the definitions of what these terms mean in relation to theory and practice by reexamining the sites of criticality and their modes of operation. More information on the event after the break.