Freshly anointed â€œDesign Mindâ€ of the year by the National Design Awards,Â Michael Sorkin dazzled the full house at the annual graduation conference hosted by SVAâ€™s Design Criticism MFA program. Sorkin startled the audience to attention with his opener, â€œOur world is going to hell!â€ and then never let up. Presenting concepts for self-sustaining cities, the architect/professor/gadfly took a break from urban planning to critique some other types of design. â€œGet ready for the worst graphic design of the day,â€ he said, clicking to a the logo of hisÂ employer, The City College of New York, and its weirdly gargantuan â€œthe.â€Â Following his presentation, Sorkin and moderator John Hockenberry debated the appropriateness of a request Sorkin had received to write a good review of a recent tour on TripAdvisorâ€¦from a guide who had just taken him through the Dharavi slum in Mumbai. In vintage Sorkin style, the Design Mind lamented, â€œEverything is being assimilated to a system of consumption!â€
One of the most important components of any architecture school is its semester-long lecture series. It’s a chance for schools to bring in voices from outside their building and communicate to students a broad range of approaches and ideas percolating in the culture and profession. Many schools send out posters of these lectures to other schools across the country to announce their programing and these are posted on hallway walls forÂ all to see even if they are thousands of miles away on another coast.
But now City College of New York’s Spitzer School of Architecture has taken the next step and is simulcasting its lectures live onlineÂ for the public to view. Old lectures will be archived and viewable any time. This semester City College is focusing its lectures on Rethinking Kahn and have scheduled a distinguished line up of Louis Kahn scholars including Stanislaus von Moos this Thursday, February 28 speaking on Kahnâ€™s urban projects. On March 7, Ken Frampton will be speaking on monumentality in Kahnâ€™s work. March 21 will feature Gina Pollara who will lecture on New York’s FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island and its construction. After that Robert Twombley and William J.R. Curtis will lecture. On the Friday after William Curtisâ€™ lecture, there will be a discussion between William Curtis and George Ranalli and Rethinking Kahn.