I apologize for not updating as I promised on Peter Pran's decanal candidacy lecture. Yesterday we heard from Dana Cuff, the second out of four. The two are a fascinating contrast. My handwriting is too loopy and illegible to actually scan my notes as I'd planned, so here are the basic summaries:
Peter Pran's lecture in Harris 101 was packed, with more than a few late students standing in the back and in the cold-floored antechamber. His presentation focused on the history and future of the school--it's too easy to forget that USC has had so many famous alumni and faculty. He proposed expanding the school's context to be more global, perhaps becoming the center of architectural education for the Pacific Rim. He mentioned strengthening our graduate program, building a higher profile for the school, and emphasizing student publications Ã la SCI-Arc and Columbia (and I suppose Yale and Cooper Union). He showed quite a bit of his own work, which is remarkable. He also showed us secret images that I can't mention here. I think everyone was quite impressed.
Dana Cuff's lecture was worryingly unattended, but I supposed the other four years are still in the throes of charrette, and Ms Cuff of course realized this. Interestingly, she never addressed her vision for our school directly, instead giving a short intellectual biography of herself in which she traced her interest in architecture to being a child on an orange farm when the sprawl of suburban Southern California invaded. Later she discussed her current work, including a project on the history of Chavez Ravine and Westchester, California, and a deep interest in the "lessons of the suburb." What's interesting is that while she isn't a practicing architect, Prof Ghirardo told us this morning that she's written the most important book on practice in the last twenty-five years. What's clear is that Ms. Cuff has the intellectual clout and contacts to be a very good dean in a very different way than Mr. Pran. She certainly has a very real interest in all aspects of Los Angeles (especially housing), which is certainly an important and relevant point.
I look forward to the lectures by Qingyun Ma and Margaret Crawford. I'll post my notes on those lectures as they come. Eventually I'll post pictures and scans of my final project, which was reviewed yesterday (it went well!).