Yale School of Architecture (savanna)

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    Spring Semester Starts

    By savanna
    Jan 10, '05 1:44 PM EST

    It's my first day back and I'm already messing up! I missed the studio lottery this morning. I had a doctor's appointment and assumed that the lottery would be at 2pm, when studio normally begins. I didn't check the Monday class list to see when things were actually happening. Ugh. Now I'm at the mercy of other people's choices. All the critics are good so I'm not that distressed. I'm only distressed about missing my first school obligation of the semester. Alas.

    I have three required classes this semester and two electives. Aside from studio, which has an urban planning theme, I'm enrolled in Contemporary Theory, and Systems Integration. As for the electives, there are many different seminars I'm interested in. The ones that look the best are Atmosphere and Effects, taught by our youngest lecturer Mark Gage, and Turner Brooks's drawing class. Turner is a force of nature and everyone loves him. He has a booming voice and never shies away from saying the obvious. I opted not to have him as my studio critic last semester, but I want very much to take a class with him, and a drawing class sounds great. Turner himself is known for stunning, stirring drawings of his own work—houses perched alone in the mist and such. Mist is pretty cool, isn't it? That leads me back to the first class I mentioned. It's about the shift away from architecture as space and form and towards architecture as a series of orchestrated visual effects. Here's the promo pic:

    All for now. Welcome back.


    • archetecton

      I dropped my application off yesterday, and I had hoped to see some serious studio action during my visit. I know now why it was so desolate. Welcome back.

      Jan 11, 05 4:00 pm

      Has that Yale lecturer ever noted that foggy windows are not the esoteric result and subjects of overwrought academic filler? That picture above is what happens to a rear windshield when 2 or more people get nasty in the back of a car. Its is also what happens as a cold soul painfully reaches a hand out as they are waken from sleeping in their car. It’s not about atmosphere, ephemerality, gradient effects, opalescence, luminescence, aggregate gradation, translucency...

      How low has YALE fallen? How much have they been reduced to grasping at fog blurred straws? Do they have no other REAL classes to offer? Does a foggy full moon lit night need these tortured academic gymnastics to explain why it is nice and compelling? Do Yale students have to pay $50,000/ year to understand that Issey Miyake used "Lumisty" film to make the storefront windows "blurry?"

      While you over privaledged Yale people are contemplating the 'mysterious architectural' high effects of...

      a steam covered glass door in the shower
      being able to see your breath on a cold day
      sandpaper taken to Plexiglas
      smoke blowing out of a car's ass/ muffler
      white clouds on a blue sky

      ...millions of people and families go homeless each night because they can’t afford reasonably priced housing. Ask them if their situation is about the "shift away from architecture as space and form and towards architecture as a series of orchestrated visual effects." Maybe those parents can teach their children to seek comfort in the diffuse lighting caused by the evening's atmospheric fog or in the cheap magical tricks of an architectural freakshow. Let them tell the kids that life is ephemeral.

      Meanwhile Yale architecture students learn about how to make their buildings even more hyper-trendy and magazine-ready by using all sort of fritted glass, mist, smoke and mirrors like Rem and Diller Scofidio. We can now all have high hopes that architecture can save itself from becoming an even more obsolete and insular profession. Who cares when you have a $100,000 Yale degree sewn into your garment tag? Let those poor bastard families freeze.

      If you can’t use your Yale degree to advance society, then I think you will be selfishly missing more than just your studio lottery. Please wake up!

      Jan 22, 05 3:52 pm

      Hey Suture, Your angriness speaks volumes.. Read the upper right hand corner of the page, Savanna was just doing what was asked of her..For you to take a potshot at her shows where your head is... Do you really think that there is an actual correlation betwwen socalled "millions of homeless families"[A statement and number that makes you lose all credibility with me] and the architect schools of the world. You ever try to buy a piece of dirt ?If there were a 1000 reasons for the causes of the homeless in society arch schools would bottom the list..I think you take yourself abit too seriously.. For the record Yale Arch is one of the few if not the only school with a design build program the end result of which is that a home is donated to a local community project and a local family is then able to buy a house they would be otherwise unable to afford..But hey what do you care, you have a flippant mouth that you want the world to know about and a forum to use it.. Otherwise without the internet Im sure the world would never know about you.. Cheers,

      Jan 23, 05 6:57 am

      I am relatively new to architectural discourse, but I've been to the 3rd world and I'd have to say that it is easy to believe that there are millions of homeless people. And a quick search at the shows that millions is a low guess. According to the UN, 1.3 billion people live in severe poverty, 800 million of whom are undernourished. Each year, over 5 million children under the age of 5 die from hunger-related cuases. In the industrial world alone, 5 million are homeless.

      Knowing this won't get you on the cover of Architecture, but solving it might. There was a time when architecture was much more about ideal, and less about fashion. It used to be that architecuture was seen as a social force, which is one of the reasons architecture schools were often the center of civil protests and riots. It has become ledgend that student riots were responsible for the June '69 torching of the Art and Architecture building at Yale. Would any Yale students now risk their future job at some signature architecture office for an ideal? Would they protest a studio by reading a poem as their final project, as happened in the 70's at Yale.

      I think sutures point is on target, if a little cruel. Corbu's housing was forceful because it was socially revolutionary. They were more than cool, novel forms. Architecture should never be an instrument of fashion. Her ideals should always remain higher.

      Jan 23, 05 1:03 pm

      To clarify my point, my commentary is not a criticism towards Yale blogger Savanna, for I in fact think her entries have been some of the most informative, well balanced and interesting around. Rather it is a critique piercingly targeted against some of the elective classes that seem to be offered at the school. Specifically class like "Atmosphere and Effects," "Critical Praxis," "Architectural Multiplications," and "Night Life" which seem, as the previous person's comment says, to be wholly disconnected from the historically socially revolutionary facet of Architecture. I too second that "her ideals should always remain higher." Are all these classes taught by "young" lectures who simply have not seen enough of the real world? Do they choose to be oblivious because it serves their positions at Yale? Do they not have the perspicacity of revolutionary Architects? Have they not built enough? Hide my head in the verdantly lush ivy and I can make cool forms and cover them with titanium regardless of the plebeians conditions around me? Not. What redeeming qualities may these classes offer beyond simply pacifying intellectual dilettantes?

      Courses aside, I think that Savanna and I are on a similar page when she says:

      Architecture should really be something larger than itself, aware of the developments in the world around it. I'm tired of the profession making architecture more esoteric and less enjoyable to laymen.

      ---continued below----

      Jan 23, 05 3:17 pm

      ---continued from above---

      Conceptually, with thousands, millions, or billions of people who could benefit from the services of socially conscious and talented ivy league architects, how can what people are learning in school contribute more than just a spring season’s worth of disposable fashion or more than fresh meat for the grinders of architecture magazines’ pornography? Being familiar with the SF/ Berkeley area myself, I would say that an amazing architect like David Baker (a true *starchitect*) and his work in housing would be more prescient to study than misty clouds in the sky, pedagogies and methodologies, cool book reports and techno bar hopping. How do you take 1 single house (congratulations) and turn it into a larger city/ state/ national/ global urban revitalization movement that goes beyond temporily assuaging the guilt of a rich institution?

      My comments are a call to challenge students to not be mere "documenters" or "just [do]" what they are asked for but instead to be active participants in shaping their education. It seams to me fair to request of Yale students, who should have some of the highest of standards, to ask for more than classes that simply teach superficial skin job architecture. Be bold and come down from the heights of the ivy covered towers so that others may benefit from the lofty visions you have been afforded. Don’t burn your school or read a poem at a final review, but do ask that your school serve you, the profession, and the community. This here is no flippant request without credibility.


      Jan 23, 05 3:30 pm

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