Julius Shulman 1910-2009

Images courtesy the LA Observer

This week marked the passing of a truly fascinating man. His early photographs (and those throughout his career) sparked a movement of modern proportions. Images which continue to be burned in our minds eye, representing what modernism means in Southern California and beyond.

I had to write of Mr. Shulman today because as a student I had the great chance to meet him in his Laurel Canyon home and studio. He opened his doors to our class and shared his passion for teaching and architectural photography. At the time of our visit Mr. Shulman was about 90 years old however, his youthful approach to 'work' and life rendered his age irrelevant. His memory will live on through his archive of thousands of inspiring images and the lives he touched through education and beyond.

sa2009 Summer Workshop

Seoul Architects (sa) is once again sponsoring a summer workshop here in the city for students of Architecture. This summer's theme is 'collaboration with nature'. Currently we anticipate over one hundred students from Korea, Japan and China to attend. There will be about 30 tutors conducting the workshop. The summer program is in it's twelfth year (this being my first as a tutor).

Collaboration with nature intends to promote further dialogue of how we as designer's (from an eastern perspective) can continue to explore methods for sustainability in the built environment. My class section will be examining the traditional Hanok (Korean traditional house) as a precedent for designing in today's culture. Students will investigate and document ways in which the Hanok is sustainable and apply these early models to a new form of residential design.

Condencity_29 temporary permanence

Street side vendors in their mobile carts and structures have taken up permanent residence in many parts of the city. In some locations these vendors are situated face to face with ‘permanent’ commercial storefronts in designated commercial buildings. It is an interesting dialogue of two opposing conditions; one of supposed temporality and the other of stable fixture along the street front. Competing for customers as they face off, somehow each side manages to thrive.

As night falls the activities and bustle of such commercial zones come to life. In one such area I frequent here near Konkuk University the sidewalk experience fills with students, shoppers and those grabbing a quick bite to eat at any one of the street side vendors. The rush of bodies squeezes the sidewalk to a narrow passing lane. Negotiations along a cyclical path passing change from day to night. I look down to witness deflated vendor cart wheels and a grime crusted sidewalk at the underside of the food vendor cart; conditions suggesting a long term temporality. The street vendors have been and will be here for some time to come, competing in unison with the permanent city.

Architecture Education: Konkuk University

site_body_synthesis was the theme for our graduate level architecture studio this spring semester. The students were challenged to think beyond form making in formulating a basis for a project. We are often forced to reconcile challenging information in establishing the framework for a project. The premise of the studio established a sequential structure for doing just that.

The studio began as an intensive investigation of a complex urban site in Seoul, combined with a selected apparatus representing each individual students perspective of site and the relationship of (apparatus) body to it. The students then synthesized these studies and ideas into a proposal for a fitness club suitable to the contextual establishment of similar commercial interests. The outcome, by nature of the semester long investigation, challenged the status-quo of typical fitness clubs currently existing in this complex part of the city.