Posted on March 30th, 2020 by Nader Tehrani

Posted under: The Cooper Union, Urban Design

A tribute to Michael Sorkin requires words, the very instruments he crafted with meticulous discipline and mischievous delight—alas, something none of us can do justice to with any measure of parity.

I followed Sorkin’s thinking from his early days at The Village Voice, where he served as its architectural critic, the very same years he taught at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union. I was still a student at the time, but his articles were an event to which we all looked forward, each taking on the canons and conventions of the discipline. For a decade, from 1983 to 1993, he taught alongside all the classic thinkers who we know to be The Cooper Union—among them Diana Agrest, Raimund Abraham, Diane Lewis, Anthony Candido, Richard Henderson, Michael Webb, Ricardo Scofidio and of course the dean, John Hejduk. While he taught in the second and fourth year studios, as well as Thesis, he was already beginning to build his intellectual arsenal around the theme of urbanism, the very topic that launched his first semester at our school—a seminar on Town Planning. His focus on the environment, sustainability, the politics of public space and urban culture, as well as his critique of modernist urban planning became the cornerstone of his efforts to come—both in teaching and his practice, Terreform and Michael Sorkin Studio.

A graduate of MIT in 1974, Sorkin’s thesis, titled “Some Impressions of the Department,” was a reflection not only on MIT pedagogy, but on architectural education in general. His interest in teaching methodologies led him eventually to The Cooper Union, where the “education of an architect” was the very preoccupation of the school. His continued emphasis on pedagogy led to his many academic appointments, among them at Harvard’s GSD, Yale, the Architectural Association and, of course, The City College of New York. The work of his own students was a testament to his legacy. With the new Cooper Union Student Work Collection database, some of it can fortunately be accessed here

An architect, critic, teacher and polemicist, Sorkin understood the delicate and complicated relationship between images and words. His practice displayed this dual commitment through a preoccupation with representation at large, both visual and literary. His architectural projects were composed as polemics, imagining projected worlds, visions and futures that defied the very conventions with which he was confronted in the profession. Still, it was his command of language and mastery of rhetoric that made him the eloquent architect he became. Words flowed seemingly effortlessly with incisive precision, belying the actual intellectual efforts that preceded his theoretical labor. He reminded us that ideas come in many forms, but moreover that they do not exist outside of the medium in which they are communicated. His words were the instruments of his ideas and he demonstrated that his ideas relied on the very lexicon he was able to manipulate. He made us love language and the allusive nature of meanings, references, and the worlds of associations they impart.

A champion of the city and the social vocation of architecture, Sorkin’s life was cut short, the result of complications from the Coronavirus; ironically, the very phenomenon that has taken our access away from the city, and our ability to congregate, is the very same thing that has led us back to language to unite us in communication. Both of these worlds belong to Michael Sorkin, and lamentably, we will not be able to enjoy his last words on the city, evacuated as we know it today.

Nader Tehrani

Also shared by The Cooper Union HERE. Also shared by Architectural Record HERE.

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Posted on March 17th, 2020 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Events

Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends:

We wanted to update you regarding where NADAAA’s operation stands as we all confront the COVID-19 virus.

Your companies’ health and welfare, as well as that of our community and staff, is a top priority for us. Our firm has a robust technology platform that allows us to provide seamless service to all clients anywhere, anytime. Our team is meeting online every morning to go through project goals, deadlines, and priorities. We continue to meet with all teams each day to ensure the proper flow of information in order to meet deadlines. We will work to ensure as little disruption to your projects as we can accommodate.

Employee safety and wellness is a top priority, and we have implemented a firm-wide response plan prohibiting non-essential travel. We have a quarantine-with-pay protocol in place, should an employee be exposed to the virus or is sick in general. Every employee has a business laptop or home desktop with a robust BIM/communication support platform and may work from home if needed.

We intend to attend meetings via Webex, SKYPE, video, or phone calls; should an in-person meeting be required please let us know and we will set it up. That said, we respect that each employee has their own comfort level and we will allow them to act accordingly. In the event that employees are out sick, or unable to come to a meeting, we can make allocations for the principals to attend all necessary meetings, following appropriate physical-distancing protocols. In addition, we are sensitive to the uncertainty employees may be feeling and are communicating with them on an ongoing basis, reinforcing they can work from home and instilling confidence that we support them. The same goes for you and all of our clients. We are committed to you and getting through this period together.

Let’s keep the communication channels open. With respect, health, and safety!

Arthur Chang

Nader Tehrani


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Arthur on Intergenerational Learning Spaces at the Center for Architecture

Posted on March 4th, 2020 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Lectures

Arthur joined Matthew Kaplan, PhD, Professor, Intergenerational Programs and Aging, Penn State University; Margaret Sullivan, Principal, Margaret Sullivan Studio; Joyce Weil, PhD, Curriculum Manager, Older Adults Technology Center (OATS); and Miriam Sitz, Senior News & Web Editor, Architectural Record yesterday for a discussion on designing spaces for older adults and adolescents to come together.

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RISD’s North Hall in Architectural Record

Posted on March 3rd, 2020 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: _RISD NORTH HALL, Press

Josephine Minutillo writes on NADAAA’s North Hall dormitory for the Rhode Island School of Design with a focus on how the project nestles into its unique site. “A structure that is at once overscaled and slight—its laminar sides and sharp edges accentuating thinness—NADAAA did a commendable job carving out of its massing as much volume as possible, with cornice lines, terraces, and material shifts that relate to the surrounding context. From some perspectives it is king of the hill, from others just part of the eclectic mix.”

Read on HERE.

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NADAAA participating in La Biennale di Venezia

Posted on March 2nd, 2020 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: _Venice Biennale, Installations + Exhibitions, Things We Like

NADAAA is participating in the Biennale’s 17th International Architecture Exhibition with a pavilion in the Giardino delle Vergini. This year’s Biennale Architettura titled How will we live together?, will be curated by Hashim Sarkis and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. Read Baratta and Sarkis’s statements on this year’s exhibition HERE.

We will share more soon!

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Arthur on Panel for Intergenerational Learning Spaces

Posted on March 2nd, 2020 by Nicole Sakr

Posted under: Events

Tomorrow evening, Arthur with join moderator Miriam Sitz, and panelists Matthew Kaplan, PhD, Professor, Intergenerational Programs and Aging, Penn State University; Margaret Sullivan, Principal, Margaret Sullivan Studio; and Joyce Weil, PhD, Curriculum Manager, Older Adults Technology Center (OATS) at the Center for Architecture to discuss what makes a space truly intergenerational and why we don’t have more of these spaces.

AIA NY Center for Architecture | 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY

Tuesday, 3/3, 6pm – 8pm

Members: Free | Students with Valid ID: Free | General Public: $10

Registration required, click HERE.

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