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    Reflecting on Benedetta Tagliabue and the Recent Work of EMBT

    David de Céspedes
    Mar 27, '12 1:07 AM EST

    As an addendum to the previous post's attempt to transcribe Tagliabue's lecture earlier this evening at Taubman College, a more personal, subjective reflection is warranted. 

    It is quite difficult to speak of EMBT without immediately thinking of Enric Miralles as an architectural figure difficult to classify. Tagliabue however, at least in the circles of graduate architecture programs, seems more of a mysterious figure. Speculation meanders across social circles as to what role Miralles' counterpoint played in the design of the later seminole projects such as Santa Caterina and Scottish Parliament. 

    About a minute or two into the lecture, and Tagliabue expresses her position quite clearly as one both reflective to the special work completed by the couple and their practice, as well as the ease in which she prevails in the profession, embedding her vivacious personality into every project, regardless of scale, whether it be an art installation or high rise office building.

    Perhaps, the aspect of the lecture that left students at Taubman College in a slightly euphoric state was the way in which EMBT's work exuded a type of beauty only existing in works of instinct, passion, and chaos. In conversation about this topic shortly after the talk, a few of us grew to question the role of the academic institution in training future architects, particularly institutions within the United States. Project after project that lept onto the auditorium screen was not easily classifiable, nor were they embedded within a particular theoretical discourse, nor were they dependent on environmental, social, or spatial "performance."

    The performance of the projects shown were not in the architectonic components capabilities, but in the way they danced from ground plane to structure, to canopy, and so on. As the post-lecture conversation progressed, we had somewhat of a catharsis; the work was not about ideology. It was not about a critique of the contemporary condition. It was not a polemical reading on the typologies that preceded it. There was a common thread with the breath of work precedented: the importance of experience. Not in the quantifiable, profit-enabling type of experience, but through utter celebration of physical artifacts that are always composed into places of beauty.

    Whether the professional, professor, or student, we all have something to gain from removing ourselves form contemporary discourse every once in a while, instead contemplating imaginary worlds in which our design fancies may not only be discussed, but used to enrich the lives of its users.

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Now that I'm post-graduate-school, and [for the time being] post-architectural-practice, I'm using this blog as an outlet to generate meaningful conversation on the limitations as well as latent opportunities in architectural practice. Co-Founder @anewyorkagency

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