Cornell University: Architecture breaks ground at 150 years

The Department of Architecture at Cornell was first established in 1871 by university co-founder, A.D. White within the purview of the institution’s founding mission to provide a place where “any person can find instruction in any study.” Marking the occasion of the department’s 150-year anniversary, architecture chair and associate professor Caroline O’Donnell invites leading scholars and practitioners to AAP for a series of discussions that fall under the theme: Breaking Ground(s), Toward the 22nd Century. Three sessions: “Groundwork,” “Formwork,” and “Schoolwork,” foregrounded by a keynote lecture by Timothy Ingold, are meant to prompt timely questions and an array of perspectives on “the fundamental interconnectedness of the discipline with global ecologies and culture, alongside the consideration of future trajectories for the practice and pedagogy of architecture.”

On the imperative to reflect and expound on the history and future of the department and discipline at this significant milestone, O’Donnell shares, “While the anniversary and traditions of the department call for celebration, we are also provided — as a department and a community of people with interrelated interests and backgrounds — with an opportunity to ask and answer important questions. The discipline of architecture is at a pivotal moment with regard to our critical engagement with our histories and foundations, the evolution of design practice and its concerns, and approaches to pedagogy that guide emerging generations of architects. Our community is ready to disrupt and advance our thinking about possible worlds that are more sustainable, equitable, smart, and meaningful in the future.”

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