Mayors’ talks top architecture lecture series

Houston’s Parker, Ithaca’s Myrick to appear at Rice in November

“Citizen” is the theme of this semester’s speaker series sponsored by the Rice School of Architecture (RSA). It will feature two high-profile mayors, who will wrap up the series at Rice on the same day by discussing the role of citizens in government as well as in our cities.

Annise Parker

Annise Parker

On Nov. 14, Houston Mayor Annise Parker ’78 will discuss the challenges of the political process at 11:30 a.m. in a talk titled “The Challenges of Political Process — Why It Is So Hard To Make Things Happen?” Later that day at 5:30, Svante Myrick, the mayor of Ithaca, N.Y., will deliver a talk titled “The Time Is Now! The Case for Youth in Government.”

Both talks are part of the RSA’s Cullinan Lecture and Seminar Series. They will be held at Anderson Hall’s Farish Gallery. All talks in the series are free and open to the public.

“The term ‘citizen’ is breezily bandied about among architects and others,” wrote RSA Dean Sarah Whiting, the William Ward Watkin Professor of Architecture, about the series. “It usually stands in for ‘responsibility,’ either for the planet (global citizen) or for the local (citizen of the common good). Arguably, the architect’s role has been pushed toward that of responsible service provider.

Svante Myrick

Svante Myrick

“As architects, we are regulated by policies. As citizens, we form politics. While that may be an oversimplification, these two roles embody the greater complications that underlie architecture’s social contract,” she wrote.

Parker is a longtime Houston official, first as a member of the City Council and then as controller before being elected to the first of her two terms as mayor in 2009. She is running for a third and final term.

Myrick, 26, is one of the youngest mayors in United States history and was one of the youngest African-Americans ever elected to political office when he became an alderperson on Ithaca’s Common Council at 20.

The semester’s first five talks, co-sponsored by RSA and the Rice Design Alliance (RDA), will be held at the Brown Auditorium at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in September and October.

The series opens with the presentation of the RDA Spotlight Award to and a talk by Georgeen Theodore ’92, a principal at Interboro Partners with a specialty in urban design. The award recognizes gifted architects in the early phase of their careers.

Four talks in the RSA/RDA Lecture Series follow. Curated as a series by Assistant Professor of Architecture Troy Schaum, their common title is “Re: Architecture (NSFW).”

Sept. 25: Meejin Yoon, co-founder of Höweler and Yoon Architecture and an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Oct. 2: Minsuk Cho, founder of Mass Studies, Seoul, Korea.

Oct. 9: Florian Idenburg, principal of SO-IL, in New York, and an associate professor in practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Oct. 16: Jun Igarashi, founder of Jun Igarashi Architects, located in Saroma and Sapporo, Japan, and an instructor at Nagoya Institute of Technology.

The Spotlight event is free for RDA members. Tickets for nonmembers are $25 and will be available the evening of the lecture, space permitting. (Attendees who join RDA that evening will receive a free ticket.) Other lectures are $20 for RDA and MFAH members and $35 for nonmembers. Single tickets, if available, will be sold for $15 30 minutes prior to the lectures. Each event begins with a reception at 6 p.m.

The action shifts to Anderson Hall at Rice in late October for the Cullinan series. With the exception of Parker’s appearance, the talks begin at 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 24: Reinhold Martin, an associate professor at Columbia University, will discuss “The Housing Question, Foreclosed.”

Oct. 31: Stefano Boeri, principal of Stefano Boeri Architetti and a professor at Politecnico di Milano, will give a talk titled “Common Goods and Multitude.”

Nov. 7: Pier Vittorio Aureli, co-founder of Dogma, based in Brussels, and a visiting professor at Yale University, will address “Living/Working: How to Live Together.”

Martin, Boeri, Aureli, and Myrick will each hold a “Conversation With Students” in the Architecture School’s Farish Gallery at noon the day after their lectures.

The Betty R. and George F. Pierce Jr., FAIA, Fund supports the free RSA lectures.



About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.