Across nine months and 40 events in Wood Auditorium, designers, builders, photographers, philosophers, watchdogs, entrepreneurs, film and policymakers from five continents defined a common language of action: people boxed, exposed, trashed and surveyed, things blew, boomed, fused, and moved, and together, we searched.
Highlights included Kengo Kuma on scale after Fukushima (“Minimize”); Majora Carter on gentrification as a force of good (“Harness”); Anne Lacaton on building upon existing conditions—even if that means not building (“Reinvent”); philosopher Judith Butler and war photographer Kent Klich on vacated life in Gaza after 2008 (“Dispossess”); Peter Eisenman and Mark Wigley on the shifting stability of ground (“Wobble”); and Gregg Pasquarelli and Steven Holl on the newest New York icons—the Barclays Center Arena and the Campbell Sports Center at Baker Athletic Complex—and all that went into their creation (“Score” and “Blow”).
Alongside, pressing social issues were debated, including the merits of a proposed Walmart for East New York, Brooklyn (“Shop”); how to revamp regional waste systems (“Trash”); the future of the museum in China (“Boom”); stress, mental health, and housing after Superstorm Sandy (“House”); the fetishistic desire to look at contemporary Detroit (“Gaze”); post-disaster reconstruction in Chile (“Assess”); and the library in the digital age, around the exhibition Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light at the Museum of Modern Art (“Read”).
The annual fall Kenneth Frampton Endowed Lecture was delivered by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura (“Suit”), while Enrique Sobejano and Fuensanta Nieto dissected their extension to the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastián and Madinat al Zahra Museum in Cordoba for the spring preservation-focused Paul S. Byard Memorial Lecture (“Look”).
Happy Birthday was sung for both Avery Hall’s 100th (“Celebrate”) and Denise Scott Brown’s 81st (“Fuse”), at which Prosecco and a cake with the iconic image of the architect was offered by PIN–UP Magazine’s Felix Burrichter.
Mabel Wilson and Laura Kurgan launched their books Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (“Mark”) and Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics (“Search”), while the first English-language edition of Ludwig Hilberseimer’s Metropolisarchitecture was released by GSAPP Books Director Craig Buckley (“Translate”). Saskia Sassen and Richard Sennett spearheaded Theatrum Mundi/Global Street for the Committee on Global Thought (“Speak”), and at Kate Ascher’s assembly Mind the Gap: Transit Lessons from New York and London, British and Americans weighed transit investment and real estate value (“Transport”). A screening of Allan Sekula’s The Forgotten Space was followed by a conversation on containerization, neoliberalism, and port cities, (“Box”), which in turn was followed by Jim Hubbard’s United in Anger: A History of ACT-UP for Day Without Art, with Visual AIDS (“Act”).
The topics and associated actions explored within the 2012-2013 series of events at GSAPP gave shape to what cultural critic Raymond Williams in the book Keywords called “a vocabulary to use, to find our own ways in, to change as we find it necessary to change it, as we go on making our own language and history.”