Leading designers and educators will discuss a wide variety of completed and ongoing projects at the Texas A&M Department of Architecture’s Fall 2016 Architecture Lecture Series. The public lectures are scheduled at 5:45 p.m. in Preston Geren Auditorium, located in Building B of the Langford Architecture Center on the Texas A&M campus.
Nick Srnicek, a theorist who co-authored “Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work” and is a visiting lecturer at two London universities, said in an Archinect interview that architects, academics and other professionals might have shorter workdays in a future, post-capitalist world.
Architects and academics, he said, are two groups of professionals whose long days at the office are rooted in their enjoyment of the work they do.
“In both industries, that feeling of being privileged is used by employers as an excuse to extract all sorts of unpaid labor,” Srnicek said. “We feel almost guilty having decent and enjoyable jobs, and as penance, we must sacrifice ourselves when asked.”
“The problem is not hard work — the problem is the work ethic, the demand to work hard … I think many architects and academics gladly work hard at their projects, and there is a lot of pleasure to be found in that,” he said. “But when the pressures of a job start taking their mental and physical toll on people’s lives, and they feel unable to escape those pressures, we clearly see there is a problem.”
A future economic system that fully embraces new technology and that includes a universal basic income —non work-related, regular income everyone receives — will help undo the grip of this dilemma, he said.
Solving the dilemma, he added, will also reduce “the association of ‘work ethic’ with such concepts as ‘creativity’, ‘entrepreneurship’, ‘innovation’, and ‘conscientiousness.’”
Brad Bell is a principal at TOPOCAST, a hub of the Dallas-Fort Worth region’s digital fabrication and pre-cast concrete networks, that provides design and production services for a wide range of products. He will present ""Digital Thinking — Digital Making Prototyping, Simulation, and Material Science.”
Bell, also an associate professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington, has for 12 years taught the integration of digital fabrication technologies into the architectural design process and lectured as an invited critic at architecture schools throughout the U.S.
He is also a founding director of TEX-FAB, a collaborative network of Texas designers that provides a platform for parametric design and digital fabrication ideas and practices.
Bell earned a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University in 1998 and a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from Texas A&M in 1993.
Zhu Jingxiang, an associate professor of architecture at Chinese University of Hong Kong, joined the CUHK faculty in 2004 to concentrate on teaching and research after designing numerous schools, youth centers and hospitals in China.
He returned to building design when he saw television images depicting the devastation of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Jingxiang, interested in replacing rural schools destroyed by the tremor, designed a school building with a light-steel skeleton and lightweight materials for walls, instead of concrete or wood, that will withstand future quakes.
His innovative, modular design, far cheaper to build than a traditional steel and concrete structure, was rejected by a charity funding the construction of a new school in rural Sichuan but was eventually funded by a Hong Kong antique dealer.
The school was built in two weeks by Jingxiang and CUHK students after the building’s parts were delivered to the site. Three additional schools and a building in a Sichuan nature reserve were soon built using Jingxiang’s concept.
Chris McVoy, senior partner of Steven Holl Architects, has co-designed numerous, internationally recognized, award-winning projects including the Bloch Building at The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, which a New York Times critic called “a breathtaking … work of haunting power,” The University of Iowa School of Art and Art History, and Columbia University’s Campbell Sports Center.
In addition to galleries, museums and educational facilities, the firm’s projects include retail, offices, public facilities, and master planning.
McVoy, who earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Virginia and a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University, also cofounded O’Neill McVoy architects, where he collaborates with architect Beth O’Neill.
The firm’s designs include the Bronx Children’s Museum, a conversion of a 1920s Manhattan building into an open, collaborative office space, and the renovation of a 140-year old row house.
Perry Kulper, architect and associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan, is an expert in architectural representation — structures represented in drawings, photographs and digital renderings.
“I think that architectural representation has a range of things it can discuss, both internal and external to the discipline,” he said in an Archinect magazine interview. “We should position and support a broad range of ways in which architectural representation works, including its capacity to work as a design accomplice, to enabling musings without known outcomes, to speculating on alternative agendas for architecture. I don’t think architectural representation should always be judged solely as an architectural exercise.”
Kulper has created numerous architectural drawings that Archinect calls “a cosmos of information and possibilities. Series after series, his drawings display objects as background, and background as object in a constant visual journey of an architecture that doesn't settle and always evolves: an architecture of ideas.”
Georgeen Theodore, a co-founding principal of Interboro Partners, a New York-based architecture, urban design and planning office and an associate professor of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, will present "Common Goods."
She also directs the institute’s Master of Infrastructure Planning program, which trains students to transform cities into more equitable, sustainable, and beautiful places through planning and design.
Since its founding in 2002, Interboro has earned many awards for its innovative projects for public, private, and not-for-profit clients, including the Museum of Modern Art PS1’s Young Architects Program, the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices Award, and the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ New Practices Award.
The firm’s recent work includes “Holding Pattern,” a series of MoMA temporary environments that strengthen the museum’s relationship with its surroundings, and a neighborhood redevelopment plan in Newark, New Jersey.