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Elements Of Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News

Alejandro Zaera-Polo is Suing Princeton. Here’s Why That Matters for Architecture.

10:30 - 26 May, 2016
Alejandro Zaera-Polo is Suing Princeton. Here’s Why That Matters for Architecture., The Facade exhibit at the 2014 Venice Biennale's "Elements of Architecture" Exhibition. Image © Nico Saieh
The Facade exhibit at the 2014 Venice Biennale's "Elements of Architecture" Exhibition. Image © Nico Saieh

With the 2016 Venice Biennale opening this week, it seems oddly appropriate that a dispute originating in the 2014 Biennale is finally hitting the courts. On Tuesday evening, a New Jersey court document was anonymously leaked to ArchDaily and a variety of other architecture publications. It showed that Alejandro Zaera-Polo, founder of AZPML and former Dean of Princeton University’s School of Architecture, was suing his employer over the events surrounding his own abrupt resignation as Dean last year.

The resignation itself was demanded* by Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber after Zaera-Polo was accused of plagiarizing parts of a text he produced for the “Elements of Architecture” exhibition curated by Rem Koolhaas at the 2014 Venice Biennale. From the start, Zaera-Polo has denied that his texts violate Princeton’s academic code of conduct, but nevertheless agreed to Eisgruber’s demand. In the documents leaked Tuesday, Zaera-Polo criticizes the actions taken by Princeton both before and since his resignation, arguing that they have damaged his reputation. He is thus suing them on four charges: “breach of contract,” “breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” “tortious interference with contract and prospective economic advantage,” and finally “trade libel.”

The story will undoubtedly receive a lot of attention, given that it involves a controversial dispute between an internationally renowned architect and a university with an international stature. But the real story behind the dispute is not about Alejandro Zaera-Polo’s academic conduct or Princeton’s handling of its staff contracts; instead, it has everything to do with our expected standards for architectural research.

Light Matters: The Missing Element At the Venice Biennale

00:00 - 22 July, 2014
Light Matters: The Missing Element At the Venice Biennale, Toilets, at "Elements of Architecture" at the Venice Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh
Toilets, at "Elements of Architecture" at the Venice Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh

“Elements of Architecture,” the Rem Koolhaas-curated exhibition at the 2014 Venice Biennale, delved into several remarkable structural as well as technical components of architecture, including floors, walls, doors, stairs and toilets. But why was light missing? 

My manifesto for the inclusion of light as a fundamental element of architecture — after the break. 

Rem Koolhaas' "Elements": Uncovering Architecture's Origins, Assuring Its Future

01:00 - 15 July, 2014
Rem Koolhaas' "Elements": Uncovering Architecture's Origins, Assuring Its Future, Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh
Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh

ArchDaily has been asking architects "What is Architecture?" for over 6 years. It's a question that few interviewees answer without hesitation or bristling. But after asking over 200 architects, we've noticed a pattern: even though many people start very similarly, the answers soon diverge in a way that demonstrates the promise of the profession. And no matter how architecture is defined, the strong majority of architects hold an underlying belief in its ability to influence.

When the ArchDaily team visited the Venice Biennale and entered the Central Pavilion of the Giardini, home to the Elements exhibition, we saw it as a dynamic, immersive, exhaustive response to the question "What is Architecture?" Visitors to the Biennale are introduced to architecture through its elements--the pieces, parts and fundamentals that comprise built structures around the globe.

When Koolhaas chose to focus on Elements, he produced a text (in both book and exhibition format) that gives us the tools to understand what architecture is and how is it has evolved (or stagnated). Even though he didn't invite people to show projects in the traditional sense, the AD editors saw a hopeful undertone to Elements -- it is a resource that can be revisited over and over again, one that will arm the current and future designers of our built world with the knowledge they'll need to address the issues they have yet to even confront.

After the break, see images of the exhibition and read Koolhaas' curatorial statement. 

Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Library of Historial Elemental Studies of Architecture. Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh + 58