Jan '05 - Mar '06
The GSAPP is housed nearly entirely in Avery Hall, a building far too small to contain all the activity that comprises the daily life of the department. The school is short on resources and high on density, one result of which is that the department is still highly flyer- or poster-oriented, and the building itself is used as the primary means of intra-departmental communication. If ever a message needs to be disseminated to the masses (or even, in some cases, to specific individuals), it appears taped up in a stairwell or elevator, or on a door or wall. Usually it's fairly mundane stuff--job postings ('work in the slide library!'), lost eyeglasses, info on today's reviews or lectures.
Its rather ironic that the same department that is pushing for architects to increase their technology and media savvy haven't figured out how to use e-mail yet.
This week it got a little more interesting. During the Ben van Berkel lecture, unknown operatives plastered the building with anti-Volume screeds. (I'll try to get some better pictures up later, if the flyers are still around after break.)
Volume is a new Koolhaas-Wigley magazine launched here a couple of weeks ago. I didn't catch enough of the launch event to get more than a vague outline of Volume's true purpose, but there are some good summaries elsewhere on archinect). From what others have said, Volume's mission isn't crystal clear yet, but so far, most everyone has seemed pretty excited about Volume.
As an act of public disagreement, the flyers are a healthy development, since I know that there's a great deal more diversity of views in the school than Wigley and Koolhaas alone embody, but the flyers, while mildly amusing, are rather pathetic. Anonymous authors, take note: no one can read four or five paragraphs of 8-point type while riding up an elevator packed full of architects. And people wouldn't want to even if they could. Also, leave Martha Stewart out of it. It only hurts your cause.
I peeled one flyer--the one with some actual text, rather than just a silly parody--off the wall and took a minute to read it. It honestly has no coherent argument, just some cheap shots at the big guys and a general sense that architects should be happy to toil in obscurity and poverty. It was more than a little wanting.
Wigley's favorite format of discourse seems to be the debate. He regularly hosts events where he assembles panels and lets them loose on some topic. The anonymity of the flyers precludes any intelligent conversation on the subject of Volume's merits.
For all the time spent producing flyers, the authors could have written a more intelligent rejoinder to Volume's claims here on Archinect (and still retain anonymity). If they do a decent job of it, Wigley ought to register and respond here.