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Arch+LArch series 13

Arch+LArch series 13

Already well underway, the 2013 Landscape + Architecture Spring Lecture Series taps into the creative minds of eight practicing professionals invited here to inspire both undergraduate and graduate students in these majors and beyond. “We’re trying to encourage students to leave the studios and classrooms – to see what people are doing out there,” says Architecture Professor Silvia Acosta, who organized the spring series.

The thread that connects the visiting speakers is their ability to work in a range of scales. “Design is design,” says Acosta, “whether you’re considering a product on your desk or a large landscape installation.” The six lectures scheduled cover a range of topics and recent cutting-edge work, but each touches upon the question of scale and blurs the boundaries between design disciplines. “We promote a very pluralistic education at RISD,” says Acosta. “We try to give students the capacity to take on a number of design disciplines in the future.”

The series kicked off on March 14 with Max Maxim: The Making of a Monster, a talk by Lauren Crahan BArch 96, architecture principal of Freecell, and John Hartmann, the studio’s creative director. “Their work is multidisciplinary,” says Acosta. “It moves from architecture into design.” Both Crahan and Hartmann have taught at RISD recently and share a passion for materials research, spatial logics and a hands-on approach to furniture design and metal fabrication.

Next up was Feeling Contexts, a March 18 talk by Carlo Cappai and Maria Alessandra Segantini of C+S Architects, who were recommended by Assistant Professor Pari Riahi. Their Italian firm sees architecture as a translation of context, both preserving what was and simultaneously creating a bridge to the future. “I was impressed by the fluid way they move between disciplines – between architecture, industrial design and landscape architecture,” says Acosta.

On April 4 green designer Elena Barthel, known for helping to run the renowned design-build program Rural Studio with her partner Andrew Freer, will speak about Sustainability with a Small ‘S’ – her recent focus on contemporary farming and experimenting with the production of food, energy and building material.

On April 11 Susannah Drake, who founded the award-winning interdisciplinary design firm dlandstudio, will speak about Irrepressible Systems. Drake is known for designing ecological solutions to aging infrastructure and buildings and has completed a number of renowned public projects in New York City.

Belén Moneo, who is teaching in the Architecture department this year and is a founding partner at Moneo Brock Studio, will present Recent Work on April 15. Her studio’s work ranges from large-scale public buildings to furniture and industrial design. “Belén has a practice in New York City and in Madrid,” says Acosta. “International influences are a great thing for our teachers and students.”

Made possible by the Carolyn B. Haffenreffer Lecture Fund in Landscape Architecture, the final lecture in the series will be presented on April 23 by Mikyoung Kim, who will address Perception and the Human Experience. A longtime professor in Landscape Architecture, she left RISD just last year to devote her full attention to her Boston-based practice, which specializes in public spaces that merge sculptural experience with sustainable landscape strategies. Kim recently spoke to The New York Times about her work for the new Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, an exciting new high-rise that Architecture Record applauds for its sense of “whimsy” – including “colorful gardens” and the natural sanctuary Kim designed for the rooftop in consultation with the hospital’s Kids Advisory Board.

Simone Solondz

Each Landscape + Architecture Spring Lecture Series presentation takes place at 6:30 pm in Room 106 of the Bayard Ewing Building, 231 South Main Street, Providence, RI. The talks are free and open to the public.

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