Harvard University - GSD (Quilian)



Sep '06 - Dec '09

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    Catching Up

    Quilian Riano
    Oct 18, '07 10:38 PM EST

    So it has been a while since I updated this. I can see how easy it is to get behind on your blogging... one idea passes by, you want to write about something but you get busy, and next thing you know midterm is around the corner. So in order to catch up, this will be an OMNIBUS blog entry to give a general update with things I have been meaning to say over the last couple of weeks.

    I got my site and I am working on Talavera de la Reina. There are three of us working on the site plan, focusing on development of green spaces and developing program around the river. The idea is that if we bring people to the river we may be able to bring back the traditional relationship of the river and the city (we have pictures of people swimming in what now is little more than a sewer) and create political support to save the river. Individually, I am designing the athletic field, baths, and pieces of other buildings... updates to come.

    If anyone knows Carl Steinitz, he is an old school teacher, so much so that our area is the only one without the GSD's 'buttmate' system. We have a long table where most of the life of the studio happens and the just one individual desk. It is like an experiment where all the desks in this huge design factory and this is the control space where the grid breaks down. As an individual living in the experiment I can say that I feel that this lay out creates a different way of learning. Here we talk and it feels like we are a small community rather than a lose association of individual designers sitting close to each other. I am enjoying it.

    Talavera Diagram


    The name of the course hardly matters (Current Architecture as Cultural Discourse) because in all reality we all call it Kipnis' course. He is a character and makes class lively. In case you want to see (almost) the entire class condensed into 55 minutes (he timed it) GO HERE.
    What makes the class different is his style, Kipnis points at people and makes them uncomfortable by asking them questions and (usually making fun of them). At first it seems kind of weird and people seem a little nervous but we have slowly gotten accustomed to it. If nothing else it makes for interesting discussions. He also adds a lot of other information mostly about 'matter theory', pop culture, and other info.

    A New Framework for Practice
    This seminar is with practice consultant Paul Nakazawa, and is to find new frameworks for design practices. This is a research intensive class, my group and I are looking into the pressures that slums and population growth are placing upon the profession, and possible new systems and methods for practices to work there.

    Building Tech
    This is the culmination of the technology, structure, and material classes. Not extremely exciting but it has turned out to be more fun than it sounds.


    1- I finally ventured out of the GSD and went over to the Law School for a Berkman Center for Internet and Society event. Basically we were watching youtube videos with law professors and students who discussed the legality of using movie images - audio track. The discussion turned to when does a piece of pop culture become the property of culture as a whole. It was fun and I hope to get out there more often.

    I will be at the NOMA conference in Orlando in a couple of days, anyone going? I will blog about it when I come back.


    • dlb

      thanks for the Kipnis video. great to see. as Hays notes, the Kip is a great source of architectural thought and speculation.

      Oct 20, 07 4:06 am  · 

      i'm intrigued how slums put pressure on the profession. don't 99.999% of us just ignore the situation?

      Oct 20, 07 2:04 pm  · 

      good point

      But when a projected 2 billion people (a fourth of the earth's population) live there I am sure it will begin to pressure the fields (I am sure Koolhaas is in Lagos for a reason). That's the premise anyway. More about the research as we go through the process...

      Oct 20, 07 3:09 pm  · 

      you don't have to put up with kipnis' bullshit and sadism. call him a 'fat slob', a 'criminal', or just a 'hack' if he gets to over-the-top to put him back in his place.

      the practice in the slums sounds great. maybe we need to bring back the megacity thread.

      Oct 22, 07 5:13 pm  · 

      yeah, that was the same argument cameron sinclair ran as well.

      i mean i get it, but i don't think most architects give a rat's...

      tk, if you called kipnis a fat slob to his face, you're officially a badass.

      need someone to carry all your greenbuild schwag?

      Oct 22, 07 9:27 pm  · 
      jiminy cricket

      Seems like the Kipnis video isn't working. Taken down? I'd love to see it.

      Oct 25, 07 10:16 pm  · 

      The Kipnis is working on my computer.... Do you have your Quiktime updated?

      Oct 25, 07 11:29 pm  · 
      jiminy cricket

      hmmm. still not working. Maybe it's a vista problem? Is it emailable, by chance? I'd really love to see it. He was at our thesis reviews (sci-arc) and ripped everybody up in worthwhile ways. I'd like to know where he's coming from.

      Oct 26, 07 11:35 am  · 
      jiminy cricket

      ok, got it! had to trick the security gremlin.

      Oct 26, 07 11:39 am  · 

      thanks for the link to the kipnis video. he was my professor back in the good old days of the AAGDG, with shirdell, was great to see the nara project again.

      anyway in regards to slums, in my home town of tijuana they exists, yet architecture is not a recourse - it's a political and economical issue. because the temporal quality of the constructions have nothing to do with architectural interventions they are about shortages of subsidized financing and land supply. yet diagramming the specific process of transformation (which is very different everywhere in latin america) is very interesting.


      Dec 16, 07 7:56 pm  · 

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