At best, technology can deliver conclusive solutions to trivial problems of culture, while culture in its most robust forms resists final capture by technology. Technique is thus a way of combating technological inertia: it forms the essence of style. The mark of a mature project in architecture is characterized by the systematic flouting of its founding principles. Youthful reliance on the rigor of the exact disciplines (i.e. mathematics, engineering, computation) matures into the ability to craft precise forms of fiction; it is what separates an architect’s use of geometry from that of a mathematician, or the architect’s use of forces from that of the engineer. Maturity thus is a process of becoming undisciplined.
This lecture explored the groundbreaking exo-skeleton O-14 tower in Dubai by New York-based practice, Reiser + Umemoto. Jesse Reiser gave an account of the design’s realization and present a manifesto of sorts, as he delved into the complex interrelationships this architectural model weaves between technology, expression and politics in the context of the ‘nowhere place’ of the global city. The lecture also examined the firms two ongoing projects in Taiwan: the Taipei Pop Music Center and the Kaohsiung Port Terminal as well as the recent University of Applied Arts Vienna competition proposal.
Jesse Reiser is a Professor of Architecture at Princeton University and has previously taught at various schools in the US and Asia, including Columbia University, Yale University, Ohio State University, Hong Kong University, and the Cooper Union, and has lectured widely at various educational and cultural institutions throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He was a fellow of the American Academy in Rome in 1985 and he worked for the offices of John Hejduk and Aldo Rossi prior to forming Reiser + Umemoto with partner, Nanako Umemoto.
Reiser + Umemoto, RUR Architecture, PC, is an internationally recognized multidisciplinary design firm based in New York, which has built projects at a wide range of scales: from furniture design, to residential and commercial structures, up to the scale of landscape, urban design, and infrastructure. Reiser + Umemoto published the Atlas of Novel Tectonics, in 2006, and released the Japanese edition in 2008. They have recently won two international competitions: the Taipei Pop Music Center and the Kaohsiung Port Terminal, both scheduled to begin construction in 2013.