Practice Platform Panel: “Talking Practice,” with David Benjamin, Elena Manferdini, Ashley Schafer, Aaron Sprecher, and Practice Platform faculty; moderated by Grace La and Paul Nakazawa

This event addresses expanded modes of contemporary design practice and the disciplinary potential of these innovative models. Representing some of the many new forms of design practice, from hybrid and curatorial practice to open platform and corporate acquisition, the speakers will reflect on the how and why of their practices, sharing concepts, processes, methods, and techniques.

Moderated by: Grace La, Professor of Architecture, and Paul Nakazawa, Associate Professor of Practice

This panel features 15-minute presentations by:

David Benjamin is Founding Principal of The Living and Assistant Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The Living brings new technologies to life in the built environment, integrating design innovation, sustainability, and the public realm. Clients include the City of New York, Seoul Municipal Government, Nike, Prada, 3M, Airbus, Miami Science Museum, and Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology. Before receiving a master of architecture degree from Columbia, Benjamin graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in Social Studies. Recent projects include the Princeton Architecture Laboratory (a new building for research on next-generation design and construction technologies), Pier 35 EcoPark (a 200-foot floating pier in the East River that changes color according to water quality), and Hy-Fi (a branching tower for the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 made of a new type of biodegradable brick).

Elena Manferdini, principal and owner of Atelier Manferdini, has over fifteen years of professional experience in architecture, art, design, and education. She received a Professional Engineering Degree from the University of Civil Engineering (Bologna, Italy) and a Master of Architecture and Urban Design from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). In 2004 she founded Atelier Manferdini. The office has completed art and architectural projects in the US, Europe and Asia. Elena currently teaches at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and is the coordinator of their Graduate Thesis program. She has also held Visiting Professor Positions at Cornell University, University of California Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania and Seika University.

Ashley Schafer is a writer, designer, educator, and registered architect whose work investigates the intersection of contemporary architecture, urbanism, landscape, history, technology, and practice. She is co-founder and co-editor of PRAXIS, a journal of American architecture, co-curator of the US Pavilion at the 14th International Venice Architecture Biennale, and associate professor of architecture at The Ohio State University, where she was head of architecture from 2005 to 2009. Previously, Schafer was associate professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and visiting associate professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tulane University. She received her undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and her masters in architecture from Columbia University.

Aaron Sprecher is Associate Professor at the McGill University School of Architecture in Montreal. He is co-founder and partner of Open Source Architecture, a collaborative research group that brings together international researchers in the fields of design, engineering, media research, history, and theory. Graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, his research and design work focuses on the synergy between information technologies, computational languages, and digital fabrication systems. Aaron Sprecher is co-curator and co-editor of the exhibition and catalogue The Gen(H)ome Project (MAK Center, Los Angeles, 2006), exhibition designer of Performalism (Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, 2008), and Evolutive Means (Pratt Institute, New York, 2010). He is co-editor of the recent book Architecture in Formation—On the Nature of Information in Digital Architecture (2013, London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis).

Followed by a discussion with faculty and students. Organized by the Practice Platform Committee: Grace La (chair), Florian Idenburg, Alex Krieger, Paul Nakazawa, Chris Reed, Jay Wickersham. 

Additional Speakers: 2185, 2398

Elena Manferdini, Ashley Schafer, Aaron Sprecher, and David Benjamin

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].