Craig Dykers, AIA, principal of Snøhetta Design
First General Session: Civility: Architectural and Political Transformation in Our Lives
Craig Dykers, AIA, LEED AP, Snøhetta
Friday, November 8, 2013
9:30 am - 10:45 am
Class Code: 55
Room / Location
Ballroom ABC / Convention Center Second Floor
“Civility costs nothing and buys everything,” wrote Mary Wortley Montagu. Can architecture promote balance in social discourse? Has emphasis upon abstraction enabled rampant disassociation from the world we must contend with? What role does empathy play in how we create places and works of architecture? Does the framework of architectural practice today mirror political structures that are invalid to contemporary life? These questions will be reviewed in the context of the recent work of Snøhetta. Particular emphasis will be given to new works in the Americas, including the new reconstruction of Times Square, the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Ambient Sciences in Guadalajara, Mexico, and libraries at the campuses of NSCU in North Carolina and Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. A short introduction will put these questions in focus and also connect them to the operations of the studio’s method of working.
About Craig Dykers, AIA
As one of the founding partners of Snøhetta, Craig Dykers has led many of the office’s prominent international projects, including the Alexandria Library in Egypt and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, Norway. He has been a member of the Norwegian Architecture Association, a diploma adjudicator at the Architectural College in Oslo, a distinguished professor at City College in New York City, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England. Dykers is currently overseeing Snøhetta’s two New York City projects, both under construction: the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center, and the new Times Square Reconstruction.
In a profile in the New Yorker last January (subscription required), Dykers described Snøhetta’s unique approach as using the built environment to affect the subconscious: “There’s so much emphasis on consciousness in philosophical discussions. But I think consciousness is a small part of who we are.”
Concerning an architect’s role in the unconscious or subconscious, he references a friend’s sheepdog that would routinely herd guests at a party, tapping their ankles and knees until, by the end of the evening, all the guests had been subconsciously ushered to stand in one corner. “As architects,” he said, “I think, we have to try to be like the sheepdog at the party.”
In discussing his firm's Time Square Reconstruction, Dykers highlights the many ways space can subconsciously affect behavior: the size, position, placement of something as simple as a fire hydrant or a kiosk can significantly shape the flow of human conduct, touching hundreds if not thousands of lives over one day, if only for an instant.
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Booths #202 & 204 in the Design Expo.
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