Neil Denari speaks to graduate students preparing to embark on their thesis project. He reminds them that the ideas and strategies they pursue independently can be clarified and amplified by mapping affinities with related work by others. He distinguishes groups with a shared agenda from teams, and also from ideologies, through the evolution of The Beatles, from their beginnings, the Pierre Cardin stage, Sgt. Pepper, and their break-up.
Denari illustrates by proposing five groupings of artists and artists of the last fifty years:
•“TVs & Cars 1969-1978 Fluxus & Aktion Art”, e.g. Wolf Vostell (Concrete Traffic, 1970 and Why did the process between Pilate and Jesus last only two minutes?, 1996), Nam June Paik (TV Cello, 1971), Ant Farm (Media Burn, 1975) and novels of J. J. Ballard such as “Crash” (1973).
•“Machines / British-American axis” e.g. Albert Frey (Aluminaire House, 1931), Ray and Charles Eames’s house in the Pacific Palisades (1949), Norman Foster, Patty & Michael Hopkins (Ron Hall house in Hampstead, London, 1970), James Stirling (Olivetti Training Center, Haslemere, 1972 and Sackler Museum, Harvard, 1984), Shin Takamatsu (elevation for Syntax, 1988). Plus a sub-group who Denari names the Spectacularists, e.g. Peter Cook (Expo Tower, 1963), Kiyonari Kikutake (Landmark Tower, Osaka Expo, 1970), Kisho Kurokawa (Nakagin Capsule Tower, 1972), Richard Rogers & Renzo Piano (Pompidou museum, 1977), Future Systems (Lord’s Media Centre, London, 1999)
•“Cooper-Cranbrook-SCI-Arc machines: the cult of the private school”, e.g. Daniel Libeskind (Three Lessons in Architecture: The Machines, 1985), Elizabeth Diller & Ricardo Scofidio (The Rotary notary and His Hot Plate, 1985), Ben Nicholson (Bread tags, from Appliance House, 1990), Thom Mayne & Michael Rotondi (Kate Mantellini, 1986 and Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1988), Neil M. Denari (O.L. House, Makuhari, 1991 and Floating illuminator, 1992), Thom Mayne (41 Cooper Square, Cooper Union, 2009)
•“LA-Vienna: post beauty: the mirror to the world”, e.g. Coop Himmel(b)lau (Rooftop remodel, Vienna, 1988), Thom Mayne (Hypo Alpe-Adria Center, Klagenfurt, 2006) and Eric Owen Moss (Umbrella, Culver City, 1999)
•“Engineering form / structure as architecture 1960-1975” e.g. Félix Candela (Botanical garden pavilion, Oslo, 1962), Frei Otto (Multihalle, Mannheim, 1975)
Denari concludes by advising the students that, “You are always somewhere with someone,” and challenging them to “Recognize where you are, recognize who’s next to you, recognize even who’s far away from you and go find them, recognize your marginal differences.”