Archinect Sessions (architecture)
Session 24: "American Disruption, at Home and Abroad"

Whatever becomes of Facebook’s corporate future – and therefore the consequential Internet – will play out in the world of Frank Gehry. The architect’s new HQ for Facebook in Menlo Park, MPK20, opened earlier this week with plentiful Instagrammed fanfare, and Facebook recently submitted plans to build two more Gehry buildings in the area. As we discuss on this week’s podcast, MPK20 is refreshingly old-school FOG, designed to embrace Facebook's “work in progress” feel that Gehry’s rougher materiality embraces. It’s Facebook’s and FOG’s world; we’re just living in it.

This episode, we also discuss the arrival of Airbnb in Cuba – whether this style of tourism could encourage architectural preservation, and what the company’s disruptive cachet means when there’s no status quo to disrupt. We’re also featuring part 1 of an interview I did with Kevin Roche, the Pritzker Prize winning architect who got his start over sixty years ago, working with Mies van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen. The 92-year old Roche, now at Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates outside of New Haven, Connecticut, shares his thoughts on the media’s role in architecture, the ideal client, and 21st century workplaces.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-24.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 2:25pm PST

Session 23: "The Erection, the Inkblot, and the RFRA Riff-Raff"

It’s been a strange week, especially in Indiana. On this episode, before getting to the RFRA-ff, we hit on a neat architectural inversion: LA-heavyweight Morphosis designs a "middle-finger" luxury tower in the quaint mountain town of Vals, Switzerland, while the subtly grand Swiss museum-master Peter Zumthor pushes a calligraphic inkblot for LACMA on LA's Miracle Mile. Vals is already home to Zumthor's Therme Spa. It’s like Trading Spaces, but with starchitects!

On the latter-half of our show, Amelia, Donna and Ken talk with Brian Newman, Archinect Sessions’ legal correspondent, about Indiana’s controversial revisions to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – with our own Donna Sink on the ground in Indianapolis, we dig into how this national and local issue would affect architects and the profession.

Paul is away this week, on vacation in the outer reaches of Peru, blissfully out of Skype's reach. He'll be back as soon as he re-enters the connected world.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-23.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 12:55pm PST

Session 22: "Starts with me, ends with us"

We are delighted to devote the entirety of this episode to an interview with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Our discussion spanned their nearly 30 years (and counting) working together, focusing not on individual projects but their architectural philosophy, their material explorations, and their work with landscape. The rising cream throughout was the way Williams and Tsien talk with one another, each pulling on their side of the rowboat to craft a truly collaborative response.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-22.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 3:01pm PST

Session 21: "Fast Forward, Look Back"

Last week, Michael Graves passed away at the age of 80. In the aftermath, much attention has been paid to his most eye-catching work, but as often occurs when someone of great influence passes away, focusing on the person's products comes at the expense of honoring their humanity – simply, who they were as a person. In this light, this episode we hear from Patrick Burke, principal and studio head at Michael Graves Architecture & Design (where Burke got his start in 1982), reflect on Graves’ life of hard work, perseverance, and empathy.

Paul and Amelia also paid a visit to the UCLA IDEAS campus in Playa Vista, to speak with Craig Hodgetts about his rapidly accelerating Hyperloop Studio, where students are bringing Elon Musk’s transit technology into the near-future. Donna also reflects on Thom Mayne’s marathon visit through Indiana, and Ken shares some finer points of career politics.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-21.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 2:18pm PST

Session 20: "Three Funerals and a Curator"

Ten minutes before we sat down to record this week's episode, the Pritzker Prize Laureate was announced – posthumously. The winner, Frei Otto (1925 - 2015), was a German architect whose impressive work and research with lightweight and sustainable structures influenced countless architects through the 20th century to today. Otto was informed of the prize before his death in Germany this past Monday, March 9, prompting the Pritzker committee to make the formal announcement the day after. 

This episode, we reflect on Otto's remarkable life and the Prize's announcement in the midst of his passing. We also examine the uncertain fate (and value) of Frank Gehry's Winton Guest House, which will be up for sale on May 19, and consider whether architects should shoulder the cultural and emotional weight of deciding how we bury our dead.

And on the heels of Google's announcement that BIG will collaborate with Heatherwick Studios on their campus expansion, Amelia spoke with curator Brooke Hodge in her office at the Cooper Hewitt, about bringing Heatherwick to an American audience with her "Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio" exhibition, currently on view at the Hammer Museum through May 24.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-20.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 1:55pm PST

Session 19: "Don't be Evil, Don't Throw Stones"

This week Amelia, Paul, Donna and Ken discuss the somewhat controversial Google Headquarters design by BIG and Heatherwick. On a completely different note, we also discuss the new, and the nation's first, slavery museum, Whitney Plantation, in Louisiana. 

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-19.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 11:10am PST

Session 18: "Moonwalking Or (The Expected Virtue of Social Architecture) with Andrés Jaque, winner of MoMA PS1's YAP"

Winner of this year's MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program, Andrés Jaque of the Office for Political Innovation, joins us on the podcast this week to discuss his winning design, COSMO. In a continued thread from last year's YAP, The Living's "Hy-Fi", Jaque's COSMO focuses on issues of sustainability and ecology – its main element is a series of pipes that will purify water with biological treatments.

Before winning the YAP, Jaque's office already had a piece in MoMA's permanent collection, IKEA Disobedients (2011), the museum's first "architectural performance" acquisition. COSMO will be installed from June 23 through September 7.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-18.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 10:03am PST

Session 17: "From the 101 to the 60 to the 10 to the 111"

Far away from the snowscapes peppering the rest of the country, the salt flats and dry martinis of Palm Springs exists in a time and place apart. An original enclave of midcentury modernism, Palm Springs has been able to preserve that heritage thanks in large part to Palm Springs Modernism Week, a series of events, lectures and tours whose proceeds go straight back into architectural preservation and advocacy. On this episode, we discuss Palm Springs' modernism in the midst of the city's generational transition, and feature a conversation Paul and Amelia had with PSMOD board member, Mark Davis. We also check in on another (contested) southern Californian icon – the Broad Museum, which opened for a one-day public sneak peek last Sunday.

As always, you can send us your architectural legal issues, comments or questions via twitter #archinectsessions, email or call us at (213) 784-7421.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-17.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 10:58am PST

Session 16: "All Work and All Play", with Jimenez Lai and Robert Ivy, CEO of the AIA

What do Robert Ivy FAIA, EVP/CEO of the AIA, and Jimenez Lai, of Bureau Spectacular, have in common? Other than they're both architects, not so much! What better way to celebrate a profession at the crossroads than featuring interviews with both in our latest podcast episode. Paul, Amelia, Donna and Ken spoke with Ivy about the AIA's newly launched "I Look Up" (#ilookup) public awareness campaign for architects, and Jimenez Lai joined us in studio to discuss his latest Graham Foundation-funded collaboration, Treatise.

As always, you can send us your architectural legal issues, comments or questions via twitter #archinectsessions, email or call us at (213) 784-7421.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-16.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 4:27pm PST

Session 15: Let's be Frank: A conversation with Aaron Betsky, incoming Dean at Taliesin

It seems as if the tumult and intrigue that ran through Frank Lloyd Wright's life has lived on at Taliesin. After being embroiled in accreditation issues, suspending Fall 2013 enrollment, and working through rocky fundraising plans, Taliesin recently appointed Aaron Betsky to lead the school and help it regain solid footing. Betsky was previously the Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum and has quite the art/architecture pedigree: he's served as the Director of the 2008 International Architecture Biennale in Venice, SFMOMA's Curator of Architecture and Design, and the Director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam.

Betsky joined Paul, Amelia, Donna and Ken on the podcast to talk about his plans to make the school the "best experimental and its role in the changing world of architecture education. It also turns out that Betsky is quite the DJ.

News this week was also rather Wright-ous, with the nomination of 10 FLW structures to the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the Hollyhock House's reopening in Los Angeles.

We also take some time this episode to gaze inward on the podcast, and frankly consider our "intro" segments, where each hosts shares what's going on in their lives. What do you think of our introductions? We hunger for feedback.

Send us your architectural legal issues, comments or questions via twitter #archinectsessions, email or call us at (213) 784-7421.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-15.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 11:27am PST