Eavesdrop Issue 04_3.9.2005

Eavesdrop Issue 04_3.9.2005

Last month, Cooper Union architecture dean Anthony Vidler had his hands full with a strange wave of student unrest. First, disgruntled seniors drafted an open letter outlining the 19 qualities they wanted to see in a dean, which ranged from practical ((a dean who is presentt) to ideological ((a dean who addresses different worldviews in architecturee). Meanwhile, students stormed out of an undergraduate studio after a classmate was placed under disciplinary review. And motley malcontents were plotting a range of other actions. But as we prepared for torch-bearing mobs, Molotov cocktails, and the din of theses being nailed to doors, the rebellion fizzled faster than small talk at an architecture party. The uprising appears to have unraveled at an official school gathering after the student council presented Vidler with a bizarre document that, among other things, listed gripes about the high price of Mylar while also quoting theorist Leon Krier, whose Nazi sympathies Vidler quickly pointed out to the embarrassment of the unknowing students. It seems the dean then won protesters over with his address, and a rumored walkout failed to materialize. We’re still not sure what got the students so riled up to begin with and, apparently, neither are they. Their reasons seem muddled and some have told me they’ve regretted getting involved,, reports our Anna Holtzman. As for Vidler? I’m excited that the students feel empowered to speak,, he said. We just wish we knew about what.

When Fred Schwartz and Daniel Libeskind were invited to speak at a recent Ground Zero conference in Basel, Switzerland, it was clear they’d have to be kept apart. The former Ground Zero design competitors last butted heads over Libeskind’s claim, in his recent autobiography, that Schwartz shook him by the collar at the 2002 Venice Biennale and barked I’m a New Yorker, damn it! Don’t tell me how to build my city!! (Schwartz has called the account inaccurate and defamatory..) Either way, when conference organizers extended their last minute invitation to Schwartz, they asked him not to show up until the day of his talk for fear that Libeskind, who was speaking the next morning, would cancel if he got wind of Schwartz’s presence. Luckily, they didn’t cross paths,, reports a Schwartz confidante.

We thought we’d heard it all. Then we learned about Bulldozer Camp, a proposed resort designed by the Seattle firm Olsen Sundberg Kundig Allen. Set along the Snake River in Washington, the development, which is in early schematics, will cater to upscale clients who will fly in on a helicopter for a few days of playing on bulldozers. Yes, you heard right. I suppose rich guys will be into it,, says someone close to the project. They’ll be able to lift dirt. Put it down. Move it around.. The complex will include a lodge, cabins and a spa where manly men can get French manicures after a hard day dirtying their nails.

Open Office, best known for its design of Dia:Beacon, is no more. Partners Lyn Rice and Galia Solomonoff parted ways after five years, though both say the split was amicable. Rice, now working as Lyn Rice Architects, will take over the firm’s work on a ground floor renovation to link Parsons School of Design’s four downtown buildings, while Galia Solomonoff Architecture is designing several artists’ residences.

LET SLIP:achen@archpaper.com