As an introduction to Robert Somol, John McMurrough admired him for his “clarity” and “originality” and what I would call John’s third point as doggedness, his picking of sides and being loyal to his supporters and fierce to his enemies.

Most of the lecture focused on pedagogy and the direction of the discipline.  To support his position, he spoke about the pedagogical leaps that have occurred every twenty years since the beginning of the 21st century, starting with the Bauhaus, Gropius moving to Harvard’s GSD, Aldo van Eyck’s twenty years at the AA, then Tschumi and Rem at GSD, and now, as he places it, University of Illinois Chicago in 2011.  The history of architecture follows this course of “History + Mathematics” “Discipline + Events” and “Animate Form,” each respectively at different twenty year periods of the twenty first century.

The old school is characterized by “cool, artificial and intensive” while the new school is “hot, naturalist, and kit of parts.” The most poignant example of this is made explicit through his observation of legos, which used to be building blocks that could be reconfigured to endless possibilities, while new legos, which are a kit of parts,  have pre-determiend outcomes.

His interest in promoting a pedagogy is to invest within the disciplines limits, which has been a struggle in the 21st century as architects look towards new ways to operate.  His critique of the discipline is that it has been reduced to metrics.  The “fashion of politics” is LEED AP versus the idea of “constructing an audience” as Alex McQueen would promote.

At first his example seems quite undisciplined, the idea of “plastic politics” or a “cartoon urbanism,” but in reality, it is a very good critique of ways to operate. The idea of a “cartoon urbanism” is the thought that an object needs to have definition but that it has a blurring quality to its edge.

He was against the thematization of a school, and in combating this, I believe he uses his five pedagocial foci to deter any type casting of his institution. He sited examples of “sustainabilIITy. Sustainability + IIT.  His critique is spot on.  Community is boring and sustainability is too.

One of his better points was the idea of less “ity” and more “ism,”  as stating you are part of an “ism” what world do you occupy?

Pervasive Precision, metric certitude to the imaginable.
Novel Repetition (transformation of Eisenman’s house with curve)
Organized Surprise (program/lifestyle – individual/collective)
Denatured Environments
Plastic Politics – why do we always assume tax codes, etc, are given?

His last words, in response to a student question was, “Which way is the commute?”  This means which participant in the relationship are you favoring?

Speech act = give linguistic assertion status of alternative worlds.  Words becomes sticks and stones.

Other notes:
“I don’t want to become more of me”  object as index.
Green dot – sign with a performative function for Toronto.
Laughter?

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