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Lorena del Río appointed Tenure Track Assistant Professor at Cooper Union

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“The Faculty Committee was looking for individuals who could both speak to Cooper culture, while also imagining different ways of extending and transforming it into a new era,” Nader Tehrani, dean of the school of architecture, says. “Given the lack of full time designers on the faculty, the idea was also to tap into practicing architects who had other interests that could be supportive of seminars and allied intellectual work.”

Lorena del Rio exemplifies that multi-disciplinary approach. Born, raised and educated in Madrid, she co-founded RICA* studio, along with Iñaqui Carnicero, which has offices in Spain and New York City. She also taught for four years at Cornell University prior to coming to The Cooper Union. “What originally drew me to architecture was the idea that an architect can never work in isolation,” del Rio says. “I’m especially interested in an interdisciplinary approach to design where architecture, art and material research meet to investigate architecture’s psychological affect and its capacity to promote emotional wellbeing.”

In a recent example, the English for Fun Centre in Madrid needed to represent the center’s goal of using teaching methods that use the five senses. To foster this, RICA* designed “inhabitable,” modular dividing walls in a sunny yellow hue that stores all furniture and objects as well as being a play space on a scale for children. “Design can be a powerful tool to shape cognition and experience,” del Rio says. “Beyond design, Professor del Rio’s work on building technologies made her an ideal candidate to contribute to courses that could integrate material thinking, environmental systems and systems of production within the design studio,” Nader Tehrani says.

Professor del Rio has plans for her approach at the school. “My goal is to blend what I learned in Europe with my experience in American academia in a pedagogical approach that integrates the best of both worlds. I am thrilled to be part of such a legendary institution as Cooper Union, and participate of the unique spirit of their faculty and students.”

Ricastudio presents his prototype for Experimenta Urbana, Documenta Kassel 2017.

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Ways of Life

Exhibition opening and lectures: July 5, 6pm, with Christoph Hesse, Neeraj Bhatia & friends

Kulturbahnhof Kassel
Rainer Dierichs Platz 1

The time “after work” was traditionally where “life” began. Today, the line between work and life has never been so blurred. Work environments are in- creasingly organized through furniture arrangements and programs inspired from the domestic realm—from kitchens to dining areas to living rooms. These “brick-wall tech” environments have brought home to work, increasing its comfort as well as productivity. At the same time, the domestic realm is increasingly a location for new forms of labor that can be spatially distributed yet virtually connected. More people now work from home than ever before, which has also enabled a new nomadicism. The economic and spatial pressures of the city has fostered a new cosomopolitan-rural dweller, who wants to merge labor with nature. Ways of Life is an investigation into the new condition of work­ing in close proximity in nature. How we negotiate our domestic and immaterial labor, and how we relate to nature is indicative of who we are.

As the public and private realm as well as spaces for work and life overlap in previously unforeseen ways, a new condition of work has emerged: working in close proximity to nature. Away from the city, dwelling in nature is not only a key symbolic gesture of escape, it has collapsed urban labor in close proximity with the wilderness. This new domestic space type is significant because of this spatial collapse, as our relationship with work, family, and nature needs to be negotiated through architecture. The way that this negotiation occurs is the study of this project. How we work, how we interact with our environment, and how we navigate ourselves in the world after work or more fittingly, between work, speaks of our politics and values as a society. We hope that the prototype designs immerse work in nature while clarifying the relationship between work / life and the individual / collective. In this manner, we hope that the projects become architectural theses for new Ways of Life.

The following emerging offices from around the globe have been asked to develop a prototype dwelling that immerses work in nature while clarifying the relationship between work / life and the individual / collective. The projects will be present at EXPERIMENTA URBANA, a co-event with documenta14 in Kassel/Germany on July 5, 2017. Selected designs will begin construction starting March 2018.

Co-Curated by:
Christoph Hesse
Neeraj Bhatia

Featuring Work by:
Studio Anna Heringer (Germany)
Atelier Alter (China / USA)
BIT Boris Bernaskoni (Russia)
Christoph Hesse Architects (Germany)
Dogma (Belgium)
Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (Australia / USA)
KWK Promes (Poland)
noa* (Italy)
Organization for Permanent Modernity (Belgium / USA)
Penda (Austria / China)
Pezo Von Ellrichshausen (Chile)
RICA Studio (Spain / USA)
SsD (USA / Korea)
Somatic Collaborative (USA)
Stinessen Arkitektur (Norway)
Tatiana Bilbao Estudio (Mexico)
The Open Workshop (USA / Canada)
Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop (Japan)

Exhibition dates and locations:
​July 5–30, 2017
Südflügel (South wing) at KulturBahnhof (Hauptbahnhof)
Rainer-Dierichsplatz 1, Kassel

August 1–September 17, 2017
Foyer ASL Building at Kassel University
Universitätsplatz 9, Kassel vom