Columbia GSAP (Derek Lindner)



Jan '05 - Mar '06

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    a new semester

    By Derek Lindner
    Sep 29, '05 1:16 AM EST

    I've just finished the first three weeks of my second year.
    Here's the lineup: studio, Enclosures and Environments 2,
    History of Theory, and a fabrication lab based on using
    the school's new waterjet cutter.

    Studio is Columbia's infamous housing studio. Everyone works in
    pairs, so I have a studio partner--heretoafter referred to as
    KA--who I will in all likelyhood be spending more time with
    than my wife.

    E&E 2 is continuation of E&E 1. Fortunately, I received a waiver
    for that, having taken a roughly equivalent class as an
    undergraduate. The first few weeks of E&E 2 have so far been
    rudimentary--what could have been taught in E&E 1 that would
    qualify as more basic? I hear it gets tougher later, but for now,
    we're looking at the psychrometric chart. Not really grad-level

    History of Theory, my third course, reinforces my hunch that the
    school includes E&E in the curriculum only out of necessity to
    remain an accredited professional school. Dean Mark Wigley
    teaches this one, and in a way, the basis of his course is his
    oft-mentioned contention that architects' essential function is
    to produce discourse about buildings (rather than buildings), a
    stance that rather obviates the need for training in structures,
    HVAC, and the like. If you need further convincing consider that
    during his introduction to Keller Easterling's lecture last
    semester he made quite a lot of the fact that Easterling is
    actually licensed.

    But back to the class--it is really what it says, not a history
    of architecture, nor a theory course per se (although theory
    comes up) but rather a history of how, when, and by whom ideas
    about architecture have been shaped. This is therefore also a
    history of the architect: the architect's role and image,
    training and activities, allegiances, domains of action, areas of
    expertise, etc. Like Robin Evans, Wigley has an uncanny ability
    to find chinks in the edifices of theory that appear the most
    stable, and show how tenuously they are in fact constructed. In
    doing so, he reveals how much power the conventions of theory
    exert over us, as well as their origin and purpose.

    The fabrication workshop will just be fun. The school got two new
    toys, a waterjet and CNC mill, and this is the workshop for
    playing in the lab. Right now, I'm just getting a feel for how to
    control the waterjet and its software. The pieces I'm producing
    are a little clumsy so far.


    • Francisco David Boira

      Have fun this semester. E&E2 won't be much problem. Wigley's course (I was his TA for three years), gets better as the semester goes along. You will get a lot of neat info and stories. Keep an eye for the lecture on architecture schools, pretty nice. Anyways, good luck and if possible drop by Delanda's seminar on Tuesdays @ 6 if you have the time. (Housing studio tends to leave you with more time if both of you put about the same amount of energy into the project).
      Once again, good luck and keep the blogs coming!

      Sep 29, 05 8:34 am
      Derek Lindner

      Thanks David.

      Wigley gave a lecture on schools/pedagogy last week--fasincating, especially as an MIT alum, since he talks about Ware a lot.

      I really want to sit in on th delanda lectures--everyone raves about them--but sadly my digital classes always happen to be tuesday nights. I can at least drop in for the first hour this term.

      Sep 29, 05 12:55 pm
      Francisco David Boira

      Don't worry. plenty of time! But definately try to take advantage of those seminars...I might even drop by a tuesday night to refresh my notes ;)

      Oct 13, 05 2:38 am

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