September 5, 2007
by: Daniel Fox

Event: arch schools: r(each)ing out
Location: Center for Architecture, through 10.19.07
Exhibition Designer: Leah Gazit
Participating Schools: The City College of New York; Columbia University; The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; Cornell University; New Jersey Institute of Technology; New York Institute of Technology; New York School of Interior Design; Parsons The New School for Design; Pratt Institute; Princeton University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; School of Visual Arts; Syracuse University; University at Buffalo (SUNY); University of Pennsylvania; Yale University
Organizers: AIANY; Center for Architecture Foundation
Sponsors: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; RMJM Hillier; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Support by: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Friends: Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners; Butler Rogers Baskett Architects; Francois de Menil Architect; Gabellini Sheppard Associates; Mancini Duffy; Robert A.M. Stern Architects; Terrence O’Neal Architect

arch schools: r(each)ing out

Courtesy Center for Architecture

The arch schools: r(each)ing out exhibition at the Center for Architecture and its title express the unique identity of the nine participating schools while linking them back to their common focus: architecture. To whom do architecture schools r(each) out? Do they network with each other or the field at large? What do the parentheses emphasize? How shall I connect these schools conceptually and graphically? After considering these questions, I was able to focus the design of the exhibition on the connection among the schools and the communicative dialogue it inspires.

How to challenge uniformity was an obvious and inevitable issue. Each school is committed to thinking outside the box and stretching the boundaries of the given space. After the schools proposed concepts for exhibiting their new architectural ideas, I saw a need to tie them together with one consistent and bold gesture — a single, yellow line.

This line serves to visually unify the schools and emphasize the details of the exhibited designs. By giving the schools 24″x36″ model zones and 48″x96″ presentation boards, I could maximize the three-dimensional potential of every two-dimensional surface. The vivid vinyl strip of modulating width traverses the monochromatic space with one clean cut. It starts at the top of the white wall, weaves behind the school boards, folds at the edge of the unfinished concrete floor, and concludes by wrapping around the base of each model. This simple graphic intervention highlights the expression of all contributing schools, while maintaining a coherent continuity among them.

From the interactive projection screens included in the displays of both Columbia University and New Jersey Institute of Technology, to the clever model base designed by the University of Pennsylvania, and the intricately carved floating model from Princeton University, each school creatively overcomes the barriers set by the standardized requirements, and, in turn, sparks a discourse between students and professionals.

Leah Gazit is a recent graduate from the New York Institute of Technology and works as an architectural designer at Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects. She is the arch schools r(each)ing out exhibition designer.


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