Author Archives: Annie Coggan

The Arab City: Architecture and Representation
Chapter News by • 04/21/17

Oculus Book Review: The Arab City: Architecture and Representation

The Arab City: Architecture and Representation, edited by Amale Andraos and Nora Akawi, is comprised of 26 essays discussing not just the state of Arab architecture but the state of architecture in an endlessly fluid political landscape. The essays and commentaries were gathered for the 2014 symposium at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) entitled “Architecture and Representation: The Arab City.” The result is an endlessly handsome volume of poetic dialogue about the region. Read More

When Ivory Towers Were Black: A Story about Race in America’s Cities and Universities by Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA.
Chapter News by • 03/09/17

Oculus Book Review: When Ivory Towers Were Black by Sharon E. Sutton

Dr. Sharon Egrette Sutton’s recent book, When Ivory Towers Were Black, is a three-pronged exploration of the cultural, educational, and personal events surrounding the 1968 student insurgency on the Columbia University campus. Sutton describes her experience as a minority student after the insurrection and tells the tale of Columbia before and after. During her Oculus Book Talk lecture on 02.13.17 at the Center of Architecture, Sutton explained that, unlike today, when diversity aspiration ally seen as a way to balance and improve communities, in 1968, the fight against racism and efforts towards creating diverse academic communities were issues of national security. The summer of 1968 numbered 163 racial confrontations in the inner cities of the US. The Ivy League was about to become ground zero for change. Read More

Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, AIA; Marc Tsurumaki, AIA; and David J. Lewis, AIA.
Chapter News by • 02/07/17

Oculus Book Review: Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis

On 01.09.17, the Center for Architecture hosted its first Oculus Book Talk of the year, featuring Paul Lewis, AIA; Marc Tsurumaki, AIA; and David J. Lewis, AIA, principals at LTL Architects, in a tag-team lecture on their new book, Manual of Section. Working in the realm of visual scholarship, this book demystifies the most abstract of architectural drawings—the section—by discussing it both technically and historically. The LTL trio walked the audience through most of the text’s finer points and emphasized the poetic history of section drawings. Read More

Graphic Arts Center, Paul Rudolph
Chapter News by • 01/13/17

Oculus Book Review: Never Built New York by Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell

Never Built New York is a straight-forward embrace of the architectural imagination that has flourished around New York City since the Industrial Revolution. Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell have put together an exhilarating romp through the New York City-that-could-have-been with 400 pages of speculative buildings, monuments, and infrastructure. Read More

The Well-Tempered City by  Jonathan F.P. Rose
Chapter News by • 12/15/16

Book Review: The Well-Tempered City

On 11.09.16, Jonathan F.P. Rose presented his new book, The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life, at the Center for Architecture. This is an epic tale; a kind of broad-reaching text akin to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States for cities. Read More

Suzanne Stephens, Hon. AIANY, Deputy Editor, Architectural Record in conversation with Pierluigi Serraino, AIA, architect, author, and educator
Chapter News by • 10/27/16

Oculus Book Review: The Creative Architect: Inside the Great Midcentury Personality Study by Pierluigi Serraino

Pierluigi Serraino’s presentation of his fascinating new book, The Creative Architect: Inside the Great Mid-Century Personality Study, held at the Center for Architecture on 10.10.16, was a model of clarity and elegance. Serraino is a poised speaker, who deftly explained the intense premise and vetting necessary to orchestrate the 1958 Institute of Personality Assessment and Research (IPAR) assessment at the University of California Berkley that analyzed 40 contemporary architects in the search for the definition of creativity. His talk and text are based on research compiled by Donald Mackinnon and Wallace Hall, but with his charming delivery it was an evening of data with a dash of gossip about American architecture. Read More

Recoded City: Co-creating Urban Futures by Thomas Ermacora and Lucy Bullivant
Chapter News by • 09/29/16

Oculus Book Review: Recoded City: Co-creating Urban Futures

Thomas Ermacora made a Wizard of Oz-like video appearance during the October Oculus Book Talk on 09.12.16. He explained that Recoded City: Co-creating Urban Futures, the book he has co-authored with Lucy Bullivant, Ph.D., Hon. FRIBA, was intended to be a resource and compendium for activists who work in “bottom-up” participatory placemaking. The reality is that the book is much more – it is an ambitious mechanism to enable the public to change the way our cities and towns operate. Read More

FIGMENT: What Is This? Why Is Nothing for Sale? Why Is Everyone Smiling? by David Koren.
Chapter News by • 08/25/16

Oculus Book Review: FIGMENT: What Is This? Why Is Nothing for Sale? Why Is Everyone Smiling?

It seems to be a rite of passage for shoestring arts institutions to publish a book for a crucial anniversary. This book, compiled by FIGMENT founder David Koren and edited by Carlijn Urlings, is representative of the FIGMENT ethos, sometimes maddeningly so. The breezy narrative takes the reader through Koren’s sometimes insights, sometimes musings on the origins of FIGMENT, and the complexities of producing arts-based programing in and outside of the United States.  FIGMENT: What Is This? Why Is Nothing for Sale? Why Is Everyone Smiling? presents a challenge for a reviewer because much of the text is a disclaimer for the document before you; Koren tells us that “this is not the FIGMENT book, it is a FIGMENT book.” So, in that spirit, this review is about both books. Read More

Mario Gooden, Principal, Huff + Gooden Architects; Professor of Practice, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
Chapter News by • 07/27/16

Oculus Book Review: Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity by Mario Gooden

Mario Gooden, principal, Huff + Gooden Architects, introduced his recent collection of essays, Dark Space; Architecture, Representation, Black Identity, at the Center for Architecture on 07.11.16. He was joined in conversation with Joel Sanders, AIA, RA, a professor of architecture at Yale University. Read More

Partners in Design: Alfred Barr and Philipp Johnson
Chapter News by • 06/23/16

Oculus Book Review: Partners in Design: Alfred Barr and Philip Johnson

Although the new book chronicling the deep and important friendship between Alfred Barr and Philip Johnson is entitled Partners in Design: Alfred Barr and Philipp Johnson, a more apt title would be The Biography of an Aesthetic. This text expertly walks the reader through the genesis of the Modernist movement in America, from Johnson and Barr’s self-education in the movement, to how they educated the American public on the new style. Edited by David Hanks, this volume of eight essays is insightful in scholarship – a potent combination of clear visual research, endlessly beautiful photographs of Modernist interiors and artifacts, and just enough “Johnsonesque” gossip to keep many a reader intrigued. Read More