Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

Sarah Whiting will become the first woman dean of Harvard’s GSD, joining a growing contingent of female leadership in academia. But will such appointments bring equity to the profession?

On July 1, when Sarah Whiting steps into the job of leading the most prestigious architecture school in the country, she will be the eighth dean and the first woman to helm Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. And while her appointment is a personal and professional achievement for Whiting, it also marks a sea change for an institution still grappling with the aftermath of architecture’s #metoo moment. Last year, faculty and student populations alike petitioned for reform.

Tree. Person. Bike. Person. Person. Tree. Anya Domlesky, ASLA, an associate at SWA in Sausalito, California, rattles off how she and the firm’s innovation lab team train a computer to recognize the flora and fauna in an urban plaza.

The effort is part of the firm’s mission to apply emergent technologies to landscape architecture. In pursuing the applied use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the research and innovation lab XL: Experiments in Landscape and Urbanism follows a small but growing number of researchers and practitioners interested in the ways the enigmatic yet ubiquitous culture of algorithms might be deployed in the field. Read More …

It’s an uncharacteristically wet day when I meet with Los Angeles–based architect Clive Wilkinson at his office in Culver City, a mixed-use building he designed in 2012. Wilkinson is a bit of a coffee snob, so it makes sense that his ground floor tenant is Cognoscenti Coffee, which serves some of the best brews in the city. Despite the downpour, brave souls on laptops shelter under the overhang formed by the stairs leading to the reception desk at Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA).

It’s a tableau indicative of our time—of how we work now. Work is itinerant and flexible. Work is everywhere and anywhere there’s Wi-Fi and espresso.

Given the transient nature of our contemporary work lives, supported by a host of mobile devices, the actual need for an office might seem unwarranted. But Wilkinson believes in the workplace as a kind of urbanism, as community, and as a theater for everyday life—his book, “The Theater of Work,” is scheduled to come out in February. For close to three decades, he’s been at the forefront of workplace design. How, why, and where we work is central to his award-winning practice. Read More …

Last March, #MeToo finally came to architecture. While the specifics of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Richard Meier, white-haired lion of the New York scene, were indeed shocking, many in the discipline were wondering what took so long.

In the months between the accusations that brought down Harvey Weinstein and others in Hollywood, comedy, and media, women in architecture asked one another, “Who will be ours?” Via back-channel messages we speculated about prominent and charismatic figures with reputations for bad behavior. Which architectural heavyweight would be first to fall?

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Dimensions of Citizenship, the theme of the US Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, co-commissioned by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and the University of Chicago, challenges architects and designers to envision what it means to be a citizen today. As transnational flows of capital, digital technologies, and geopolitical transformations expand, conventional notions of citizenship are undermined. How might architecture, then, express, and engage with today’s rhizomatic and paradoxical conditions of citizenship?

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The Chicago Athletic Association excitedly welcomes Petra Bachmaier to discuss her dynamic collaborative art practice which has captivated the eyes and minds of Chicago and beyond. And Mimi Zeiger, a Los Angeles-based Critic, Editor, and Curator to moderate this conversation.

“For more than 10 years, Luftwerk have created art installations that merge elements of light and video with facets of architecture and design. Their 2010 commission to create a new media exhibit for the centennial celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House helped them discover a deeper resonance with architecture and pursue and a growing interest in how experiences of space and site are augmented through light and sound. With immersive works at sites such as Fallingwater, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, Tampa’s Kiley Garden, Chicago’s Millennium Park, the Garfield Park Conservatory to name a few, their artwork blends history, architecture, and contemporary media to open new aesthetic conversations within public spaces. Projects to date have been featured in periodicals such as Architectural Record, Dwell, The Creators Project, design boom, and more. Recent awards include an Endorsement Award for Innovation from Surface Magazine, a Media Art Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and featured projects honored by the American for the Arts Public Art Network (PAN). Petra Bachmaier, originally from Munich, works collaboratively with her partner Sean Gallero. The duo met during studies at SAIC and formed Luftwerk in 2007.” – David Zivan

MDP Design Dialogues Symposium + Exhibition with Tim Durfee, Ben Hooker, and Mimi Zeiger
November 17–26, 2016
November 17, 2016, 6:30–9 pm
SYMPOSIUM + OPENING RECEPTION

The Algorithm in the Room: An Evening of the Post-Geographic brings together an interdisciplinary group of designers and thinkers to discuss relationships between algorithmic and spatial practices. The algorithm in the room is the unspoken technological subject that reorients our understanding of design outcomes, ethics/politics, and authorship. Yet to concretize the algorithm, to try to peg down its functional uses within design is to misunderstand its potentially slippery (and productive) role as a bad collaborator. Feral and unpredictable, it provokes human, systemic, and urbanistic response. Via conversations and through digital, video, and screen-based works, this symposium and exhibition looks to raise difficult questions regarding the politics of predictive/automatized software, its architectural and urban impacts, and the aftereffects of recalibrated design agency. Speakers include: Jeff Maki, urban strategist and Joanne McNeil, writer. Videos exhibited by John Szot Studio, Tim Durfee + Ben Hooker, Jenny Rodenhouse.
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When media artist Refik Anadol arrived at Los Angeles International Airport in 2012, the first thing he did was rent a car and drive to Walt Disney Concert Hall. Jet-lagged after his long flight from Istanbul, where he was born and was immersed from an early age in computing, cinema, and photography, he stood outside in awe. “I was dreaming of what would happen if this building was embedded with memories, intelligence, and culture,” says Anadol. Read More …

“If all possible old building stock in Los Angeles was converted to creative office space, that still wouldn’t meet the demand for creative offices,” a commercial real estate broker once explained to me.

At the time, his company was trying to crack the workplace code: how to cater to the technology sector’s voracious taste for converted industrial warehouses and lofts? Established tech companies and startups alike had aligned the rough-and-ready aesthetics of the artist studio with the well-worn terms of Silicon Valley – disruption, innovation, and flexibility. Read More …

A collaboration between Mimi Zeiger and Neil Donnelly

#platform is both a means of production and a place to take a stand.

#platform project is a collaborative publication and act of collective criticism.

#platform’s physical documents navigate back into the city, lingering as messages.

For the past four years, participants in the School of Visual Arts Summer Design Writing and Research Intensive in New York have used Twitter to document, research, and critique the city. The social media platform acts as a productive constraint, distilling individual observations and narratives into a public, digital text. Read More …