Imagining-A Better Future

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Debates and discussions with Thom Mayne, Liz Diller, Michael Meredith, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Paul Finch, Jeffrey Kipnis, Alan Balfour, Jennifer Bonner and Mack Scogin.

There is no cost, but you must pre-register to reserve your space and to receive a boxed lunch. Register now>>

Mack Scogin is a principal in the firm of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, in Atlanta, Georgia. He also is the Kajima Professor in Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he was the chairman of the Department of Architecture from 1990 to 1995. With Merrill Elam, he received the 1995 Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 1996 Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design, the 2006 Boston Society of Architects Harleston Parker Medal and a 2008 Honorary Fellowship in the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Projects by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects have received over fifty design awards including six national American Institute of Architects Awards of Excellence. Their work has been widely featured in popular and academic publications on architecture including the 1992 Rizzoli publication, Scogin Elam and Bray: Critical Architecture / Architectural Criticism, the 1999 University of Michigan publication Mack & Merrill and the 2005 Princeton Architectural Press publication Mack Scogin Merrill Elam: Knowlton Hall. Their work has been exhibited at many museums and galleries including: Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center; Wexner Center for the Arts; Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Spain; Deutches Architektur Museum in Frankfurt, Germany; and the Global Architecture Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.

With his firm, Morphosis, Thom Mayne has been the recipient of the 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize, 25 Progressive Architecture Awards, 75 American Institute of Architecture Awards and numerous other design recognitions. Under Mayne’s direction, Morphosis has been the subject of various group and solo exhibitions throughout the world, including a large solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2006. Other notable exhibitions include those at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Walker Arts Institute in Minneapolis, the Ministerio de Fomento in Madrid in 1998, and a major retrospective at the Netherlands Architectural Institute (NAI) in 1999. Morphosis buildings and projects have been published extensively and included in the permanent collections of such institutions as the MOMA in New York, San Francisco MOMA, the MAK in Vienna, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and the FRAC Center in France. In 1972, Mayne helped to found the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Since then, he has held teaching positions at Columbia, Yale (the Eliel Saarinen Chair in 1991), the Harvard Graduate School of Design (Eliot Noyes Chair in 1998), the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands, the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, and many other institutions around the world. His commitment to the education of young designers has not wavered. Currently, he holds a tenured faculty position at the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture.

Alejandro Zaera-Polo is founding partner of Foreign Office Architects together with Farshid Moussavi, and occupies currently the Berlage Chair in the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands. Prior to this current role at the TU in Delft, he has been for four years the Dean of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, until 2005. Previously he has been also Unit Master at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, and a Visiting Professor at the University of California in L.A., Columbia University in New York, Princeton University, the School of Architecture in Madrid and the Yokohama School of Architecture where he currently has an advisory role. He has also been an advisor to several committees, such as the Quality Commission for Architecture in Barcelona City and the advisory Committee for Urban Development of the City of Madrid and is a member of t he Urban Age Think Tank of the London School of Economics. He has published extensively as a critic in professional magazines worldwide, El Croquis, Quaderns, A+U, Arch+ and Harvard Design Magazine amongst them, and contribute to numerous publications, such as the Endeless City curated by Ricky Burdett and Dejan Sudjic.

Michael Meredith is a principal of MOS, an interdisciplinary architecture and design practice engaging an inclusive methodology of speculative research, expansive collaboration and extensive experimentation. MOS is based in Cambridge, MA and New Haven, CT, and lead by Meredith with Hilary Sample. Their work has been recognized with multiple awards and published in numerous books, magazines and websites. MOS' work develops from speculative research ranging in typology, digital production, structure, material, program and use, to larger networks of social, cultural, and environmental conditions. The scope of MOS' research constantly shifts and expands to suit the unique sets of parameters specific to each individual project. As a result, MOS is a flexible organization grounded in expansive collaboration. Meredith also is Associate Professor of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He previously taught architecture at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded the Muschenheim Fellowship, and the University of Toronto, where he was the co-recipient of a Canadian Foundation for Innovation grant. In 2003, he was a resident at the Atlantic Center for the Arts with Dave Hickey, and in 2000, he completed a residency at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

Liz Diller and her maverick firm DS+R bring a groundbreaking approach to big and small projects in architecture, urban design and art -- playing with new materials, tampering with space and spectacle in ways that make you look twice. Diller might just be the first post-wall architect. From a mid-lake rotunda made of fog to a gallery that destroys itself with a robotic drill, her brainy takes on the essence of buildings are mind-bending and rebellious. Her firm, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, partakes of criticism that goes past academic papers and into real structures -- buildings and art installations that seem to tease the squareness of their neighbors. DS+R was the first architecture firm to receive a MacArthur "genius" grant -- and it also won an Obie for Jet Lag, a wildly creative piece of multimedia off-Broadway theater. A reputation for rampant repurposing of materials and tricksy tinkering with space -- on stage, on paper, on the waterfront -- have made DS+R a sought-after firm, winning accounts from the Juilliard School, Alice Tully Hall and the School of American Ballet, as part of the Lincoln Center overhaul; at Brown University; and on New York's revamp of Governer's Island. Their Institute for Comtemporary Art has opened up a new piece of Boston's waterfront, creating an elegant space that embraces the water.

Alan Balfour is Dean of the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech. A distinguished scholar, his World Cities series of books seeks to explore architecture and urbanism of cities around the world, including Shanghai (2002), New York (2001) and Berlin (1995), and in his Creating a Scottish Parliament (2005), Balfour links the building’s creation with the political structure for which it was constructed. For both Berlin and Berlin: The Politics of Order: 1737–1989 (1990) he received AIA International Book Awards. His return to Georgia Tech in 2008 continued a noteworthy career in design education. Most recently dean of the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Balfour was previously chairman of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, dean of the School of Architecture at Rice University in Houston and director of the Architecture Program in the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech. In all his major roles in education, he has sought to advance design in the broadest sense, creating strong professional programs and developing innovative graduate degrees on topics ranging from design theory to application of new technologies. Balfour received his education at the Edinburgh College of Art and Princeton University, and is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 2000 he received the American Institute of Architects/Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (AIA/ACSA) Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education, the highest recognition given to a North American architecture educator.

Born and raised in Alabama, Jennifer Bonner received a Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn University and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her undergraduate thesis project, a cedar pavilion, was designed and constructed at the Rural Studio for the citizens of Perry County. Graduate work and research focused on resilient infrastructures along the Mississippi River. Miss Bonner’s professional experience includes training in the British offices of Foster+Partners and David Chipperfield Architects. While at Foster+Partners she resided in Istanbul, Turkey to coordinate the construction of the Palace of Peace, a cultural building in Kazakhstan. Previously, Miss Bonner has taught design studios and seminars at Georgia Tech, Auburn University, and the Architectural Association. Currently, she runs an office called Studio BONNER and teaches at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. Her work has received numerous awards including an AR Award for Emerging Architecture 2005 and the James Templeton Kelley Prize awarded to the best final project at Harvard GSD. Her design and research projects have been widely published and exhibited in several publications and institutions.

Paul Finch is Program Director of the World Architecture Festival, the world’s largest architectural summit, held annually in Barcelona. He is also editor emeritus of Architectural Review and Architects’ Journal. He is former commissioner and deputy chair of CABE, England’s national architectural advisory board. He spent five years as chair of CABE’s design review panel, and also chaired its regional committee. He has chaired CABE’s 2012 Games design review panel since 2006. He is an honorary fellow of the RIBA and of University College London, and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Westminster.

Jeffrey Kipnis is an American critic, urban designer, film-maker, theorist, curator and professor of architecture at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA. Kipnis first came to prominence through his collaborations with avant-garde theorist and architect Peter Eisenman, and their joint collaboration with French philosopher Jacques Derrida. He is visiting professor at Columbia University, New York and The Southern California Institute of Architecture. He curates Architecture and Design at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio. Kipnis taught at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London from 1992-1995, where he ran the Graduate Design Program. In 2006 and 2007 he was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University. As a critic he has written for many different periodicals, such as Assemblage, El Croquis, Log, and Quaderns. As a designer Kipnis collaborated with architects Reiser and Umemoto (RUR Architects) in designing the Water Garden in Columbus, Ohio and the Kansai-kan National Diet Library.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Teri Nagel
  • Created:08/03/2010
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016