Columbia GSAP (Derek Lindner)



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    KVA rocks

    By Derek Lindner
    Feb 17, '05 1:17 AM EST

    Wednesday night is lecture night at Columbia. Wood auditorium fills with local architects (famous and otherwise), Wigley spins one of his nigh-unbearably-witty intros, the lights dim, and we get a 90-minute show. Afterwards, cheap wine flows.

    There are always one or two rock stars on the roster (last semester, it was Koolhaas and Gehry), but I often learn more and am more inspired by the less well known speakers. Last semester, it was Jurgen Mayer H. How can you not like a guy with an obsession for envelope security panel patterns? And who knew that versions were made in lead in the early 1900s?

    Tonight's lecture was Sheila Kennedy of KVA and MATx. I must still be a geek at heart, electroluminescent plywood makes my heart beat faster. Their approach to technology is closer to what I'm accustomed to from working in tech for years--optimistic, pragmatic, inventive. A little more intellectual property, a little less intellectualism. Is it architecture? Who cares? It's nice work.


    • MADianito

      yeah Sheila K. and her husband, came around barcelona a couple of months ago to give a lecture here at IAAC, they totally rock, and also their "teaching" aproach to lectures, interesting work with the head down to earth, they're cool n easy to talk glad to hear u also liked them

      Feb 17, 05 8:26 am

      Derek either a brazilian architect got possesion of Kennedy's website or you are pointing the link to somewhere else.

      Feb 17, 05 11:08 am
      Derek Lindner

      that'll teach me to type it in from memory. try this link instead. sorry.

      Feb 17, 05 11:20 am

      KVA is all hot air!! Sheila lectured at my school in 03 and presented her "glowing" textile design, which at the time they had not quite been able to make work correctly, so that people could, ya know, read in bed??? Let me think.........lightbulb? anyone? anyone? pathetic....

      They attempt to be unique and tech savvy with their materiality when really, they should focus more on the hopelessly banal architecture they spit out. KVA is second class.

      Feb 17, 05 1:06 pm
      Derek Lindner

      They certainly don't lack technical credentials--KVA demonstrated some degree of expertise in circuit board fabrication, remote sensing and control systems, industrial textile manufacture, and use of new materials (EL fibers, acrylic polymers). And since I know of no other firms actively evaluating and exploring the architectural potential of these technologies, I think that qualifies them as unique. The best other firms seem to do is just make a catalog, like NBBJ's Transmaterial--which isn't nearly so interesting without the R+D aspect.

      KVA is already focusing on architecture, but from an uncommon starting point. Since architects value--even obsess over--intangible qualities like light in architecture, doesn't it make sense to work actively and directly with basic lighting technology, instead of doing the banal thing and relying on the same dumb, inefficient lightbulb as everyone else? It's a totally valid approach as far as I'm concerned, and one with a lot more potential than a lot of other ideas that get exercised with far greater frequency.

      Oh, and you'll be happy to hear that Kennedy no longer promotes reading in bed as the killer app for the EL fiber. Don't get hung up on the application of new technologies--sometimes it takes time to find the right one.

      Feb 17, 05 2:19 pm

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