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The Architectural Imagination: Post Office

October 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

The Architectural Imagination: Post Office

The US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale will host The Architectural Imagination, an exhibition of new speculative architectural projects commissioned for specific sites in Detroit but with far-reaching application for cities around the world. The exhibition will emphasize the importance and value of the architectural imagination in shaping forms and spaces into exciting future possibilities. The birthplace of the automobile industry, the free-span factory floor, the concrete paved road, and Motown and techno music, Detroit was once a center of American imagination, not only for the products it made but also for its modern architecture and modern lifestyle, which captivated audiences worldwide. Like many postindustrial cities, Detroit is coping with a changed urban core that for decades has generated much thinking in urban planning. As advocates of the power of architecture to construct culture and catalyze cities, curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon will commission twelve visionary American architectural practices to produce new work that demonstrates the creativity and resourcefulness of architecture to address the social and environmental issues of the 21st century.

This presentation is the third of four The Architectural Imagination roundtable discussions at Taubman College


Detroit Post Office

Venice Biennale Presentation IV – The Architectural Imagination: Post Office from Taubman College on Vimeo.


KELLY BAIR AND KRISTY BALLIET, BairBalliet, Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH
BairBalliet is a joint design venture invested in architectural research in the form of both speculative and built projects. Based in Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois BairBalliet sees opportunity in the synthesis between events and the physical world in which those events take place. Their work examines the potential to place architectural figures in direct dialog with its viewers through volumetric expansion, spatial layering and projective imagery.

 In addition to their professional work, BairBalliet are engaged in innovative thinking and making through the academy with respective positions at two institutions: Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture and The University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture. Bair and Balliet are co-founders (with Adam Fure and Kyle Miller) of Possible Mediums, a collective of fellow architects interested in shaking up the context and format in which architecture is produced and engaged.

Present Future is a research and design team based at Rice University School of Architecture, in Houston, Texas. Its current mid and long term project is the development of an urban model that unites architecture with an explicit urban project. The team’s current approach is to operate at all scales of the built environment with the aim of developing a new model of density that is commensurate with the drastic and imminent reductions of carbon emissions. The team’s previous expertise includes sustained research on contemporary urban forms such as spine-based urbanism, extensive experience in the redevelopment of inner city areas, studies on carbon sequestration through urban forestry and innovative applications of mass timber construction to the housing market. Through writing and exhibitions, the team puts great emphasis on working within an explicit architectural and urban theory. With regards to the hot  topic of Detroit, the city is uniquely positioned to become a laboratory for many urban transformations that are yet to come. Its wrenching experiences during the retreat of the auto industry has prepared the city to confront the challenges that other cities will soon face during the adjustment to the new carbon economy.

PRESTON SCOTT COHEN, Preston Scott Cohen, Inc., Cambridge, MA
Preston Scott Cohen, Inc., based in Cambridge, MA, is an internationally recognized architectural practice distinguished by its designs for cultural and educational institutions. The firm is renowned for its innovative development of combinatory geometries, its new approach to integrating buildings with their urban environments and for its interior spaces of architectural exceptiion. Preston Scott Cohen has developed a lexicon of architectural forms and organizational principles suited to the particular circumstances, desires and aspirations of private owners, institutions, government agencies and corporations. Many of his designs have involved historically and socially contested sites. The firm includes two registered architects and a team of six experienced designers working under the design leadership of Harvard Professor Preston Scott Cohen. The organization of the practice is structured to ensure his personal involvement on a daily basis in all matters of client and consultant collaboration, program development, conceptual design, technical development, material specification and detailing. The range of services the firm provides includes architectural design, construction documentation, and construction administration. Its facilities are occasionally extended during periods of research by access to Harvard Design School’s manifold computer technologies, including 3-D printing, prototyping, visualization technologies, milling and multi-frame structural analysis programs.


October 9, 2015
12:00 pm
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