DIALOGUE: Catie Newell and Tsz Yan Ng



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  1. On March 24th, 2016, Catie Newell and Tsz Yan Ng jointly presented their work at the Doctoral Colloquium. Their work was divided into shared categories, such as: Experiential, Labor, Material, and Processes. Tsz started the presentation discussing project Recto|Verso, which highlighted the notion of cultural association through hands on making of artifacts. Recto|Verso, looks at China’s global textile manufacturing, labor and the notion of fashion and clothing and its effect on manufacturing, design and china’s industrialization process. One of the aims of the project was to investigate the ways in which modernity and traditional culture and making can be integrated. The final project, paper clothing art installation, was entirely made out of stitched and folded newsprint with Chinese text on one side and English on another. Though the entire installation appears as a continuous piece of clothing and enclosure, it also represents the dichotomy between the world of east and west manufacturing, culture and traditions. A similar language and process is also present in her project, The Spratly Fatigue which highlights the contested territory of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The installation is a textile military uniform created from historical maps of the island representing fishing gear and a gun. In addition to her art installation projects, Tsz also discussed her built project, Lafayette 148 which was done in collaboration with Mehrdad Hadighi of Studio for Architecture. The project is an 11 story mixed used building in Shantou, China. The building’s south façade occupies a woven post tensioned brise soleil system for both shading, and air movement. Tsz discussed the ways in which they had to communicate with the construction crew and their involvement in realizing the building.
    Catie Newell, also presented her work called, Salvaged Landscape, which told a story of a dilapidated and destroyed home due to arson and a new beginning of a realized room made out of the demolished burnt wooden pieces of the original house. She exploited the uniqueness of the metallic and shiny charred wood pieces not only in the ways in which it represents beauty but also how the criminal act of fire changed the structural integrity, the aesthetic and the functionality of the wood materials. Her work also represents the contrast of loss and the possibility of new beginnings. Catie also presented her other projects including, Glass Cast, Specimen, and Displace. In collaboration with others, she explored the relation between the geometry and materiality of glass and its relation with reflecting, mirroring and artful playing with light; in a sense that at the end, lighting became an analysis of the geometry itself. The catenary suspended system, showcase the pushed boundary of what a glass material is and known for and what it can become.
    Both presentations highlighted the diverse nature of architectural research and pedagogy and it brings forward the need for a critical dialogue/conversation among doctoral students and faculty member in architecture. Unfortunately, due to the time constraints and the numbers of projects covered during the colloquium, there was no conversation among the students and the presenters. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to meet once again and discuss the similarities and the differences between the research presented and the type of research that is currently conducted among doctoral candidates and the nature of research and scholarship in architectural education.


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