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Funny, Crazy, Silly: Lyrics for the Suspension of Architectural Disbelief John McMorrough Figments of the Architectural Imagination Todd Gannon The Architectural Imagination Cynthia Davidson Detroit Rock City:
An Urban Geology
SAA/Stan Allen Architect Revolving Detroit Preston Scott Cohen Inc. New Corktown Present Future The New Zocalo Pita & Bloom A Situation Made From Loose and Overlapping Social And Architectural Aggregates MOS Dequindre Civic Academy Marshall Brown Projects Mexicantown: A Liminal Blur Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects Center for Fulfillment, Knowledge, and Innovation Greg Lynn FORM The Next Port of Call BairBalliet Promised Land Air A(n) Office Detroit Reassembly Plant T+E+A+M A New Federal Project Zago Architecture Free the Robots! Antoine Picon Do Humans Dream of Robotic Seals? Paola Antonelli Along the Frontier of Resolution Erin Besler & Ian Besler Death and Robots Nicholas de Monchaux & Ken Goldberg Difference and Repetition Tom Daniell Toward the Body of Work Michael Meredith How Soon Is Now? Ten Problems and Paradoxes in the Work of Dogma
Christophe Van Gerrewey
Logistics Takes Command Francesco Marullo Broad Strokes Joe Day
I don't want to cut a cookie out of my life. Christina Tosi with Savinien Caracostea Labor in the Logistical Drawing Meredith TenHoor Log 34: The Food Issue Launch and Discussion, Cooper Union, July 21, 7pm Rirkrit Tiravanija: Meaning Is Use Daniel Birnbaum Mulino Bianco; or, The Italian Invention of Postmodernity Mario Carpo Off-Camera with Jacques Pépin Cynthia Davidson Charm Everywhere Shantel Blakely Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon to Curate the U.S. Pavilion Exhibition in the 15th International Architecture Biennale in Venice OOO & Architecture: Log 33 Authors in Conversation, Parsons The New School For Design, April 15, 7PM Weird Architecture Luis Fernández-Galiano Observations on Urban Forestry Chelsea Spencer The Architectural Gesture Noam Andrews Containment Tom Daniell The Nightingale's Song Sanford Kwinter The Object Turn: A Conversation Todd Gannon, Graham Harman, David Ruy & Tom Wiscombe Support the Anyone project Our Chances. How Bernard Tschumi’s retrospective quietly reaffirmed the case for architectural conjecture during the summer of fundamentalism Jeffrey Kipnis The Silent Witness Gustavo Alonso Serafin A Conversation with Odile Decq Cynthia Davidson The Polis of Gestures Paola Nicolin The Big Convention Dora Epstein Jones Whiplash Sanford Kwinter Sebald’s Burning Train Stations and Monstrous Courthouses Kurt W. Forster Log 31 Launch & Discussion at SCI-Arc July 17, 7 PM The Pas de Chat: A Modern Tale of Discipline and Reward Dora Epstein Jones The Shanghai Expo and the Rise of Pop-Arch Mark Jarzombek What Kinds of Copies? Urtzi Grau & Cristina Goberna Log 31 Launch & Discussion at Columbia GSAPP July 10, 6 PM Beyond the Querelle Bryony Roberts The Architectural Project and the Historical Project: Tensions, Analogies, Discontinuities Daniel Sherer New Ancients Dora Epstein Jones & Bryony Roberts Call for Observations: Log 32 A Conversation with Elia Zenghelis Cynthia Davidson #hashtag Benjamin Burdick The Critical Problem, Or, Talking Shop Peggy Deamer Can tectonics grasp smoothness? Wes Jones Chandigarh, Noted David Huber Dom-ino: Archetype and Fiction Antoine Picon Letter from Charles Edouard Jeanneret to Auguste Perret, March 21, 1916 Charles Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) Architectural Coexistence: Twins, Logs, and the Ecology of Things Pia Ednie-Brown Log's Dom-ino Promotion Observations on Architecture and the Contemporary City Cynthia Davidson Mercedes-Benz Museum UNStudio Involution, Ambience, and Architecture Emmanuel Petit Campus Restaurant and Event Space Barkow Leibinger LCV C+S architects Possibilitarianism Sarah Whiting TID Tower 51N4E Herta and Paul Amir Building, Tel Aviv Museum of Art Preston Scott Cohen, Inc. Faster, But Slower Sam Jacob O-14 Reiser + Umemoto Villa Buggenhout OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen EDF Archives Center LAN HL23 Neil M. Denari Architects Lying Fallow Sylvia Lavin Element House MOS In Pursuit of Architecture
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I am for tendencies Jeffrey Kipnis I want to argue that contemporary scholarship be cast as a sort of ongoing counter-memory to familiar historical narratives Felicity D. Scott I am trying to imagine a radical free-market urbanism Patrik Schumacher I am interested in a project of engaged autonomy Sarah Whiting I do not mind people being innocent, but I hate when they're naive Bernard Tschumi Architecture is a technology that has not yet discovered its agency Elizabeth Diller If I can take a ride in a driverless car on a public street, then I see no reason why my building can't wiggle a little Greg Lynn Taking Stock: Architecture 2013 Anthony Vidler Log Tote Bags Now Available Phyllis Lambert in Conversation with Cynthia Davidson at Van Alen Books
May 2, 7 PM
Georges Teyssot at Van Alen Books
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Craig Buckley Contextual Counterpoint in Architecture Charles Jencks The Historicity of the Modern Daniel Sherer Of Raspberries, Rawhide, and Rhetoric Todd Gannon The Return of the Repressed Tom Daniell Location Location Location – or, for whom they built holes Jeffrey Kipnis Tenderness Sylvia Lavin Up Against the Wall: Colin Rowe at La Tourette Anthony Vidler Digital Syle Mario Carpo 53 Questions for Preston Scott Cohen Labor and Architecture: Revisiting Cedric Price's Potteries Thinkbelt Pier Vittorio Aureli Design Hacking: The Machinery of Visual Combinatorics Andrew Witt Wagnerism Embodied Joseph Clarke English Pastoral Andrea Phillips Requiem in White Nicholas de Monchaux What Plastic Wants Brennan Buck Esprit futur Simone Brott 53 Questions for Robert A.M. Stern Luca Farinelli Log part of ARCHIZINES exhibition at Architectural Association 53 Questions for Stan Allen Luca Farinelli Log 23 Launch with Nicholas de Monchaux at Van Alen Books, October 27 Results: Log's Second Ever Postcard Competition Event: Log in Conversation with Mario Carpo at Van Alen Books
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Caroline O'Donnell Gets Ugly . . . The Second Ever Log Postcard Competition Superstudio Resurfaces with its Book of Exorcisms Log and San Rocco: Text vs. Image
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Patrik Schumacher Campaigns for Parametricism Mark Jarzombek Curates Critical Impossibilities Rem Koolhaas Forges Into Preservation Walter Benjamin's Unconscious Detlef Mertins Anycorp Featured in Exhibition at CCA Observations On Resistance Ariane Lourie Harrison Taking Note of Transformation Sylvia Lavin The Real and the Virtual Cynthia Davidson Meet the Nelsons Wes Jones A Conversation with Charles Gwathmey Cynthia Davidson and Charles Gwathmey ...

53 Questions for Preston Scott Cohen

December 2011

Between February and August of this year, Luca Farinelli met with some 20 architects, critics, and historians and presented them with an identical sequence of questions, recording each meeting on video. Conversations with Emilio Ambasz, Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, Bjarke Ingels, and Thom Mayne can be found in Log 23 (Fall 2011). We continue publishing those interviews here with Preston Scott Cohen, chair of the department of architecture and the Gerald M. McCue Professor of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and founder and principal in the firm of Preston Scott Cohen Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Place of birth?
Ashville, North Carolina


What is your profession?
Professor of architecture.

Mountains or sea?
I guess sea. Yes, sea.

Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Unfortunately, the Beatles. It's more trivial, but I'll have to admit it.

Lady Gaga or Beyonce?
Lady Gaga.

Mac or PC?

Do you ride the wave or do you resist it?
I think I resist it.

Do you spell architecture with a capital A?

What is your favorite color?
I have no idea, honestly.

Plan or section?

Axonometric or perspective?

Plastic or tectonic?
Tectonic. I've evolved undoubtedly from plastic to tectonic. The implications of tectonics -- compression and tension, for example -- are extremely important for the plastic. You can't have the plastic without the tectonic -- it's subsumed under the tectonic.

Is the architect a victim of circumstances?
Largely, yes. But only in the practical sense. Architecture has another genealogy that far exceeds circumstance.

Can architecture be used as a language?

Is architecture a means or an end?
An end with its own means.

Is architecture democratic?

Should architecture be democratic?
I'm afraid it can't be, if by democratic you mean everyone has a role in making every decision that produces it. I don't think any of the arts are democratic. You can't have a committee deciding the plot of art. Representation is problematic because it is politicized. If someone represents the voice of a larger group, they are always politicized by virtue of their obligation to that group and their own self-preservation. This muddles the decisions by the public and diffuses the interests of the architectural.

Spider, bee, or ant. Which is the best architect?
A spider.

Is architecture masculine or feminine?
I think it's feminine, because it's about the interior. And by the interior, I mean all dimensions of interiority. It's very complex, too subtle and too nuanced to have its projection be what you would call masculine, if I'm going to accept what is likely the definition of masculinity.

One of your favorite buildings?
I'll choose something everyone should know: Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum.

Farnsworth House or Glass House?
Glass House.

Corb or Mies?
I've thought about that many times. I'm back to Corb.

Less or more?
That's tough. I'll go with less.

Form follows function?
Yes, it should.

What are Corb's five points for a new architecture?
The great five points? The free facade, the free plan, the pilotis, the fenetre en longueur . . . and what was the final one? It's not the promenade. The roof garden! I love the roof garden! How could I forget it? My little Torus House is all about that.

Greco-Roman or Gothic?
Lately I'm very interested in the Gothic, but I suppose a lot of people have become more interested in the Gothic. I'm going to stick to my guns and say Greco-Roman.

Collage City or Spatial City?
It's not a very good choice. Neither of the above.

Whites or Grays?
Probably Grays, oddly enough. Ultimately, given how many things one has to include, the Grays are the likely victors in this debate.

Is there architecture without architects?
Yes, definitely.

Is there architecture without buildings?

Is architecture autonomous?
Utimately, no.

Is Main Street OK?
No. The politics of exploiting the assumption that it exists, when clearly it doesn't, is not OK. If it existed, I'd say it's OK, though very marginal to the problem of architecture. I'd be indifferent to it.

Global or local?

Portrait or landscape?

Everything is architecture. Is it?

What is the greatest architectural invention of the past 20 years?
I don't think there's been a great invention in architecture in the last 20 years.

Double envelope. Is the inside to be reflected on the outside?

Dubai. Yea or nay?

Is the blob formal excess or lack of form?
Formal excess.

Is utopianism still alive?
No, it's not.

Is architecture hiding behind technology?
Oh yes, lately, definitely.

Is the architect a specialist or a generalist?
Right now, a generalist.

Is the city a place or a condition?
Condition is one of my overused words, so I guess it's a condition.

Did print kill or create architecture?
It didn't do either of those things.

Did animation kill or reinvent architecture?
It certainly didn't reinvent it, and it didn't kill it either. Animation wouldn't be the reason architecture could be dead.

Will simulation kill or enhance architecture?
It is indifferent to architecture and architecture is indifferent to it.

Is the architect working for the client or for society?
Which architect? You mean what the architect should do idealistically, or what I have observed to be the case? They are very different things. My observation would be that they work for the client. What I believe they should do is much more what you would call working for society. They can do things that are obviously in the interest of society, despite their obligation to the client. They can subvert the client.

Between art and science, where is architecture situated?
More in the art category. But it is actually in another category. More like law.

Is digital technology redefining architecture, or is it confusing the architect?
I don't think it is doing either one of those things. It is advancing our ability to be very sophisticated and precise, which improves the discipline, but I don't think it's reinventing architecture. I don't think it is confusing things; it's clarifying. Digital technology requires a far clearer commitment.

Is architecture a conservative discipline?
Yes, it's always in the past. Even when it's in the present, it's in the past.

Is the West going through a midlife crisis?
Midlife? We might be at the end-of-life crisis!

Is architecture itself in crisis, or the solution to it?
I don't believe it's in crisis. There are larger crises than architecture.

Find more conversations in Log 23 (Fall 2011)