Join us for a lecture from the 2014 John K. Branner Traveling Fellows for a presentation of their research and experiences from their world travels.
2014 Branner Fellows
Rudy Letsche, The City and the city
“The City and the city” is a proposal to study the cross-fertilization of an idealized city and an authentic city, observing how spaces that were ideally planned with wind, sun, and transportation in mind have eventually evolved to accommodate the behaviors and conditions of the city. The hybridization of the idealized city and the actual “authentic city” can be manifested in what Rudy calls “transverse itineraries,” which are “off-street, off-grid pedestrian passages” that are capable of creating alternative paths throughout the city when they are connected together. In a time period with informal urbanization, diminishing resources, and environmental instability, Rudy emphasizes the importance of open spaces which he calls the transition of “fabrics.” This social production of social space is not about the separation and identification of entities, but the discovery of unexplored hybrids while building on the intricate patterns of history and memory.
Sarah Ramsey, Postwar Concrete Postscript
Now approaching nearly fifty, sixty years of use, many structures of the post-war building boom are currently struggling to meet contemporary standards of performance and aesthetics, and have found themselves subject to the conflicting imperatives of demolition and preservation. Buildings associated with the Brutalist style find themselves today squarely in the middle of these debates, with many disappearing every year as cities across the globe update and rework their urban landscapes.
Frequently cited as obdurate and ill-adaptable, many of these structures have fallen into disrepair, many more have fallen out of favor, and so the Brutalist label has come to be a rather pejorative one. Currently, many of those buildings identified as Brutalist, whether by their own designers or more frequently by the public, are at risk of demolition or have even already been lost.
As a global thread, Brutalism provides a rich field in which to study regional distinctions and consider how these buildings have aged and accommodated (or resisted) change within different cultures and climates. Within this extensive global building stock, Sarah examined the state of the buildings today in an effort to understand both the challenges these buildings carry and the opportunities they present.
Jennifer Siqueira, The Neoliberal Goldrush
Architecture is among the most vulnerable professions to economic cycles. The booms and busts of our world economy seem to affect construction and therefore the architecture profession first and foremost out of all other professions. As paying clients become sporadic, the practice of “humanitarian” design re-gains its popularity within our profession, as well as within the walls of museums and the pages of popular architectural publications. The “Neoliberal Goldrush” proposes for an evaluation of the role of the architect in this new frontier; more specifically looking at the architects’ impact in the lives of vulnerable communities and the domestic spaces in which they live.
This event is part of the Spring 2015 Architecture Lecture Series at the College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley. For other lectures in the series, see: http://ced.berkeley.edu/events-media/lecture-series/arch-lectures-spring-2015