The Narrative + Spatial Practices of the New Professional

Advanced Architecture Studio 5

Fall 2012

Laura Kurgan, critic, with Mark Hansen, School of Journalism

This studio marked the first project of the Advance Data Visualization Project. The studio itself was a collaboration between Thomson/Reuters and with the Columbia School of Journalism, in a research and action initiative around the topic of “The New Professional.” We focused on the transformations taking place in our own professions, Architecture and Journalism, and put them in the context of a space they share, the city. We asked how these professions use the city to innovate and change what they do. Journalists tell stories, with words, images, sounds and data. Their practice can be an investigative one and their products are generally narratives. Architects build things, with space, materials, data, images and words, and their products work across multiple scales and media, often exploring the overlaps and interferences between the physical and digital worlds.

In Architecture and Journalism, environments, collaborative structures and global networks are subject to new pressures and undergo profound changes. The city is a space that both Architecture and Journalism share, a source of much of the energy propelling their transformations, and a surface on which they are registered. Using New York City as our lab, we we asked how much of the rise of new professional is in fact due to the loss of traditional spatial and temporal practices. Networks and data flow effortlessly now, in and out of space, making new kinds of dimensionless, virtual spaces. As space flattens, barriers to entry drop and professional identity erodes. What some experience as a crisis over professional identity became a discussion for us about the limits of viewing the world through the eyes of a single monolithic profession. Is there simply an “architectural” view, a “journalistic” view? Perhaps this is at odds with the new professional emerging today—an omnivore who happily collaborates.

Anton Yupangco A/B/C
Xiaoshi Wang D/E/F