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I was back in NYC this week for some business, which I won’t get into except to say that I still don’t have a job.

nyc 022 copy What I did that was cool was I went and visited my old school the Cooper Union.  They are building a  new building by Thom Mayne of Morphosis which will house the art and engineering schools. I chose to suspend judgment on this building until  I see the interior and the atrium that is the main attraction of the building, which otherwise is a nicely wrapped box.

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At Cooper they had the End of the Year Show, which is the student show of the last year, and I was curious to see what was going on.  There was some interesting stuff and some bullshit.  Most of the images here are from the thesis, which were pretty interesting.  Cooper continues its tradition of hand drawing and excellent wood and plaster models.  The one thing that I would have to say is that the work seemed based on the old idea of architecture as object.   To me this seems outdated as new models place architecture as a series of connected and embedded structures that exist only within a context.  It is interesting while that while the new building is within this new paradigm the work going on in the old school is …. well old school.

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There were however some encouraging signs.  Above-left is a completely digital project, which is a good sign.  While it is hard to see how to combine the hand drawing of Cooper tradition and the computational design of the new century I do believe that both are important, and that it is vital that young architects are exposed to both.

The other interesting model is shown above-right.  At first ti seemed completely stupid and a waste of wood.  After examining it and pressing down on the boards, you realize that it is not a static model, but a dynamic instrument, meant to be played as you walk on it.  Kinda neat.

Below are some examples from the art school which I thought were nice.

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It was good being in the old school after so many years and nice to be up in NY for a couple of days.  Hoepfully I’ll make it back up before I leave for Europe again at the end of the month.  Wow time flies when you’re not doing anything.

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