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SU, Central New York Humanities Corridor collaborate for major architecture, visual arts conference Feb. 16-20
SU, Central New York Humanities Corridor collaborate for major architecture, visual arts conference Feb. 16-20January 27, 2009Rob Enslinrmenslin@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s School of Architecture and the Visual Arts and Culture Cluster of the Central New York Humanities Corridor will present a major conference Feb. 16-20, “Positioning Practice in Architecture,” exploring ways in which architects shape their community and the built environment.
Specifically, the conference will look at the role architecture plays in civic engagement. “Architects, artists and community activists are forming new collaborative models for creative production, in response to changing social and environmental conditions,” says SU assistant professor of architecture Jon Yoder, citing economic, geopolitical and technological transformations as key factors. “As a result, global culture seems eager to embrace expanded concepts of design practice and responsibility.”
The program features some of today’s leading architectural visionaries: Sergio Fajardo, former mayor of Medellin, Colombia, and 2010 Colombian presidential candidate; Alejandro Echeverri, urbanism professor at Colombia’s Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana and former director of urban projects in Medellin; Teddy Cruz, principal of Estudio Teddy Cruz and architecture professor at the University of California, San Diego; Aaron Levy, executive director of the Slought Foundation, an independent affiliate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he also serves on the English faculty; and William Menking, founder and editor of The Architect’s Newspaper and historic preservation professor at the Pratt Institute.
The conference is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Yoder at (315) 378-4077.
Four signature events will be held-three lectures and a gallery exhibition.
On Wednesday, Feb. 18, Fajardo and Echeverri will co-present a lecture at 5 p.m. in Slocum Auditorium in Slocum Hall titled “The Urban Transformation of Medellin, Architecture and Politics,” followed by a reception in Slocum Gallery. “The Fajardo administration carefully constructed a social and political program with architecture at the center, as both an agent for change and an end goal in what can only be described as a substantial social and cultural transformation of Medellin,” says Francisco Sanin, SU associate professor of architecture.
On Thursday, Feb. 19, Levy and Menking will jointly deliver a lecture at 3:30 p.m. in Slocum Auditorium titled “We, the Unsigned: Dispatches from the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.”
Immediately following the Levy/Menking lecture, Cruz will deliver a lecture titled “Recent Work,” also in the auditorium.
All three lectures are sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor, SU’s Humanities Center, The College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Architecture. The presentations are an extension of an exhibition taking place in Slocum Gallery of the same name. The exhibition runs Feb. 16-20 and features award-winning works by Cruz, Levy and Menking. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition in Italy that includes installations by world-renowned architects and designers.
Fajardo is a former mathematics teacher who served as mayor of Medellin from 2003-07. The dashing, denim-wearing politician is known for reducing crime in Colombia’s second-largest city and for improving the conditions of its schools and public spaces.
Echeverri is a noted scholar/professor, an award-winning architect and former urban planner under Fajardo. He frequently lectures at international conferences and serves as a private consultant in architecture, urban design and territorial planning throughout Colombia.
Cruz is a widely known architect whose work dwells at the border-literally and figuratively-of San Diego, Calif., and Tijuana, Mexico. He is a proponent of inclusive public housing, as evidenced by his involvement with Casa Familiar and other community-based nonprofits.
Levy is a specialist in critical theory and curatorial studies engaging the contemporary avant garde. As a curator, his projects topically revolve around art, architecture, geopolitics and critical theory. His foundation promotes inventive and interdisciplinary collaborations in modern cultural life.
Menking was commissioner and curator of the U.S. Pavilion at the 2008 Venice Biennale. He has also organized, curated and created catalogs for other major exhibitions on architecture and urbanism. His publication, The Architect’s Newspaper, highlights developments in architecture, urban design and planning.
Administered by the Humanities Center for The College of Arts and Sciences, the Central New York Humanities Corridor is a large-scale partnership involving SU, Cornell University and the University of Rochester. It promotes interdisciplinary scholarship in six cluster areas: cultures and religions, the interface between humanities and science/technology, linguistics, philosophy, musicology/music history, and the visual arts and culture. The corridor is generously sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is directed at SU by Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of Humanities and founding director of the Humanities Center.
“‘Positioning Practice in Architecture’ speaks to the range and depth of the interdisciplinary humanities and to the importance of civic engagement, and is consonant with the University’s vision,” says Lambert, referring to Scholarship in Action. More information about the Central New York Humanities Corridor is available at http://thecollege.syr.edu/mellon.