School of Architecture College of Design

Catalyst 2014 Lecture Series


Monday, March 10, 2014 - 12 pm

Books that House History: the archival explorations of Maureen Cummins

Maureen Cummins will present a body of work dating back to the early nineties, when she began producing "re-created" books out of found materials, utilizing original photographs, documents and everyday ephemera to create new and disturbing meanings. She will discuss strategies she uses to draw the reader/viewer into dark subject matter and will also describe the evolution of her work as she evolved from digging into dumpsters to being an artist-in-residence in major research archives.


Monday, March 10, 2014 - 6 pm

Sense and Semblance

Smart materials are often described as materials that respond to changes that they sense in their environment, as if they were akin to living organisms. In an attempt to move beyond ready analogies, Martina Decker and Peter Yeadon, will present a selection of recent advancements that begin with biomimetic materials and venture into material composites that fully feature integrated biological components.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 6 pm

Mapping Perceptions and Changing Viewpoints

Ponsi will present various methods of observation and representation (drawing, painting, and writing) that he has developed in his adopted home city of Florence, Italy as a means to observe and  interpret urban space, and to create "analogical" visions for designs both real and fictional. In addition to his practice as an architect and designer, Ponsi is the author of the following publications about architecture, representation, and urban experiences: Cambi Di Vista - Changing Viewpoints (2001), Thinking Lines (2002), Florence: A Map of Perceptions (2010), L'Architettura dell'Analogia (2013), Drawing Analogies (forthcoming), and San Francisco- A Map of Perceptions (forthcoming).


Wednesday, March 11, 2014 - 12 pm

Creative Methods in Modernist Cuisine

Chefs can be viewed as designers. Their professional kitchens act as design studios and manufacturing plants, innovating and transforming ingredients for small-scale production. The design outcome is an edible multi-sensory consumer product. In an experience economy, chefs are called upon to create innovative dining experiences. This talk presents a classification of the methods that chefs use to create new dishes.  The content is based on a series of interviews with locally recognized chefs in Minnesota and observations of them in their kitchens.


Wednesday, March 11, 2014 - 6 pm

Design with Squishy Materials

A squishy material can be difficult to describe: Is it a fluid? A solid? Something in between? Examples include pastes, creams, mousses, molten plastics, and gels that defy classical definitions of fluid and solid. This complex personality can lead to fascinating behavior when deliberately used for design. Examples from the speaker's work include robotic wall-climbing snails, tunable magnetic liquids for adhesion, gels for sprayable fire suppression, arts and crafts product design, and food products such as bread dough and chewing gum. This talk will describe the science and language of rheology, the field devoted to the study of how complex materials deform and flow, and outline achievements and future opportunities for design with rheologically-complex “squishy” materials.


Thursday, March 12, 2014 - 6 pm

Room Pieces

Michael Schumacher will discuss his approach to multi-channel composition, algorithmic structures, and the relationship of architectural space to musical structure. The lecture will include the evolution of his approach and the development of his galleries Studio Five Beekman and Diapason.  He will also speak about "modes of listening" and how they are suited to various architectural spaces. Included in the presentation will be examples of work by other composers, such as La Monte Young, Brian Eno, David Byrne, and others.


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