Los Angeles architect presents on urban design

Justin Sheil

Dana Cuff, Los Angeles-based architect, professor and founder of CityLab, a think tank concerned with contemporary urban issues, asked architecture students to contemplate the ways in which they formulate their ideas involving metropolitan areas at a presentation Monday night.

“Perhaps if we look more closely at the distinctions between architecture and the city, we might be able to figure out better how to act as architects in the context of the city,” Cuff said.

Cuff’s lecture served as the third lecture in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s spring 2014 “Global Geometries” lecture series. She spoke to a crowd of architecture students and faculty that filled the Schwartz Center auditorium.

“In 2009, ‘Architecture Magazine’ called CityLab one of the four most important think tanks in the Unite States,” said architecture professor Jon Yoder.

Cuff’s lecture focused on the ways in which designers can more effectively design for cities and the work her think tank CityLab has challenged the traditional ideas about urban design.

“I think because of the state of our political economy, quantifiable results dominate and big data makes that all the more accessible,” Cuff said. “I see the humanities as bringing back a fundamental level of appreciation culture, arts and history.”

One of CityLab’s current projects involves creating a new type of curriculum for architecture students; one in which the humanities are taught alongside urban design and architecture, Cuff said. 

Cuff also urged students to consider five problems impeding metropolitan design: monstrosity, omniscience, clairvoyance, invincibility and transliteration. These problems demonstrate the difficulties architects face when confronting a project with a scale as large as an urban center, Cuff said.

Leonardo Diaz-Borioli of Estudio 314 will present the fourth lecture in the “Global Geometries” series on Tuesday, April 15 about his work in Guadalajara, Mexico.  The lecture will take place at 5 p.m. in Bowman Hall room 133.

For more on CityLab, visit http://citylab.aud.ucla.edu/.

Contact Justin Sheil at [email protected].