Architecture Professional Speaks about the Familiar and Foreign in CAED speaking series.


Ashley Schafer, co-founder of PRAXIS, an architectural journal of writing and building, speaks as part of the Col lege of Architecture and Environmental Design lecture series, Oct. 8, 2014.

Chelsea Graff

During the College of Archtecture and Environmental Design lecture series, Ashley Schafer addressed architecture students in her “Familiar and Foreign” presenation in Bowman Hall on Oct. 9.

Encouraging college students to prepare for their careers in the indurstry, As co-founder of PRAXIS, an architectural journal of writing and building, Schafer said she conducted research in Venice after the U.S. Department of State selected her to be a curator for the Venice Art Biennale.

Schafer first co-founded PRAXIS in 1999 with her colleague Amanda Lawrence. The journals had different topics, such as assemblage, which described a broader picture in which

architecture existed.

“When it started, it was looking at both that (assemblage) and architecture,” Schafer said. “But as it moved on in its history, it increasingly pulled away from ideas of building projects and became more about the culture itself rather than about the architecture.”

During this time, Schafer worked with her team and opened OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition

in Venice.

OfficeUS demonstrates how U.S. architectural practice has influenced design worldwide over the past 100 years, according to its website.

“Today everything looks the same; about 100 years ago it was easy to point out the different designers, which is what they were addressing as curators,” Schafer said.

Schafer talked about a room in OfficeUS filled with binders that includes different projects they selected. The binders, she said, included the designs of the buildings, the layouts, and the archives.

OfficeUS designed a multifunctioning desk in the office that could be used to work, or play.

“I liked the collaboration of it,” said Niela Flowers, a freshman architecture major. “And I think my favorite part of the entire presentation was the table. In my mind, I’m just like ‘why put a hole in the middle?’ Or ‘why make it look so different?’ I think it was the idea of collaboration which goes along with the entire theme of what OfficeUS is.”

Schafer said they used a lot of mirrors and holes in the desks for the design to make people look at the architectural in a unique way.

“I didn’t know what we were doing about the Biennale, so it was kinda cool to learn about that,” said Jon Nagy, a graduate architecture student at Kent State. “I’m working on a thesis project about collaboration in the professional world, so I found it inspiring and a new way to think about what I’ve been thinking about.”

The CAED lecture series plans to have two architecture and landscape architecture professors of the University of Pennsylvania, Karen M’Closkey and Keith VanDerSys. The two will present a speech titled “Simulated Natures: Patterns and Process in Landscape” at 6:30 p.m. in 133 Bowman Hall on Oct. 29.

Contact Chelsea Graff at [email protected].